Bloggers flash mobbing at Fianna Fail web launch…

Tonight Blue State Digital gathered a few Irish bloggers to show them their new FF 2.0 website in Dublin tonight… No doubt the report will be on Irish Election, Suzy and several other watering holes tonight/tomorrow. It sounds like ‘authenticity‘ was the bloggers problem (too much Fianna Fail not enough BSD, as per the publicity promise)…

Just the appearance of a FFer in a blog space is enough to raise heckles (Shudnta left it to Damien to hold the fort on his own for so long, or you might have had some blog backings)… Well, this might not be the best time to flag up our live blog of the FF conference on Saturday…

Be good to have some guest bloggers who don’t salivate at the mere thought of seeing a member of the ruling Junta party… If there is any on Twitter, my guess is they are keeping their heads firmly down….

Update: Damien M has details of the riot; but there’s not much on what was actually said…

Update 2: Fionn asks the question I’m thinking too: ‘how long will it take FF to join the conversation online & on Twitter?’

Update 3: Damien B offers his tuppence worth from an organisers/ Fianna Fail point of view

Update 4: Suzie’s account suggests confounded expectations (more up front next time lads, and no silent apologies for being Fianna Fail?). Cian: “Twitter was abuzz with those who didn’t come for politics wondering what was up”. Gav has invite and thoughts

Keith has tighter reading on the problem with the site; it’s social medium without a virtual society (or anything). Twenty, I suspect, gets to the heart of what’s driving this blog mobbing (contains offensive material)…

Last Update (honest): Gary warns about the pitfalls of using social media

My gathered thoughts below the fold:This is now being tagged on Twitter as a #PRFail. Yep, probably true. Though it will be a test of the metal of some mainstream journos and politicians now being petitioned through Twitter to take notice of something that is big news on the Irish blogosphere; but which may not actually matter to anyone in the real world. Though something sticky may arise

Welcome to the world of the Undernews…

Cian says it was not a Flash mob… Well, I wasn’t there, so all I have to go on is the Twitter feeds of all those who used the hastag #rospars; the name of the American social media expert whose company put together the new Fianna Fail site (built in 10 days BTW, which is the only concrete information I actually got from the torrent of indignant tweets that came flowing out this evening).

It was certainly impressive, and a sort of answer to people like Jimmy who instinctively don’t like Twitter because of its simplicity. And a kind of vindication too. This is a hugely social media, in which audiences are accumulated through linking between people attracted to one another. You follow others and they can unfollow you pretty quickly if they don’t like what you are saying or the way you say it.

The sense in which people worked themselves into a lather simply by the ability to ‘touch’ each immediately was palpable, particularly when viewed at a substantial remove. The question it raises for me is: how reliable a tool is Twitter for citizen-reporting, when the ‘mobs’ become over socialised and under critical?

In the wisdom of crowds James Surowiecki is very clear at the outset that smart mobs rely on being both diverse and independent to become smart. And he illustrates the dangers of homogenity in groups with a cracking quote from Charles Mackay:

Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they recover their senses one by one.” [Emphasis added]

I’m not saying people went mad tonight, but in effect we had lots of individuals saying the same thing over and over. And agreeing with each other. It certainly made for compelling reading, but all the time, I was watching for dissent and none came. And few details of what passed there.

As Conoro rather crudely put it: “Knicker-twisting echoes in a stormy cup always good for a laugh.”

As I have said above, Fianna Fail will have learned a tough lesson tonight. One of them is that they need to engage as individuals on the blogs, on Facebook, and on Twitter, if their voice is ever going to rise and be heard above the throng… And that maybe trying to emulate the Obama campaign at a time when they are about as popular as George Bush was always was going to fetch them a rough ride…

And maybe somewhere someone will see the verity of tweeting what you see and hear, rather than tweeting what you feel…?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty