Break from the traditional to succeed as a new party

In order to gain ground a new party needs to be to local politics what Bernews has been to local news, and then take it further.  Bernews has accomplished what was seen as impossible, they’ve broken into a declining, saturated market to not only gain a foothold but a rapidly growing following.  Contrast this to our opposition parties who more closely resemble the plight of the Mid Ocean News and Bermuda Network News.  In order to succeed a new party needs to bring a fresh and game changing perspective that leverages their strengths and capitalizes on the incumbent’s weakness.

Asked less than a year ago if there was a business to be made in local news and you likely would have been laughed at.  The incumbent players held considerable market share, interest in local news was on the decline and one paper had recently folded.  Despite all of this a small outlet with limited financing and even fewer resources managed to not only break into the scene, but is rapidly becoming a major player in local news and a first go to resource for many.

Rather than follow the traditional model, Bernews broke traditional rules and made its own.  There’s no paid subscription and no print.  Articles are to the minute and breaking news is a priority over tedious articles.  Through successfully leveraging a blog style website, comments and mediums like twitter and facebook, Bernews in a span of a short few months has gone from an unknown to a heavily relied upon resource. Bernews has achieved success by breaking the mould and turning traditional media on its head.

Any party wishing to succeed in local politics would benefit from a Bernews style approach.  Copying legacy methods and going head to head with the incumbents at their own game is a losing battle ensuring little if any success.  A new party shouldn’t be encumbered by a traditional constitution, traditional party framework, the need for heavily scripted press releases, encumbering opinion pieces and traditional platforms.  These are the ways of the incumbent, not the agile innovator.  A Bernews approach to a new party would be fully leveraging new media, new technology and new democracy.

The incumbent, despite their success at leveraging new media simply can’t be as agile and as quick as a new party could be.  They’re encumbered by legacy.  Take their delegate selection as an example.  Their constitution requires a significant turnout but given supporter apathy, they’re struggling to fulfill the requirement.  In today’s fast and well connected age people want to be involved without having to turn out for encumbering meetings.  An in person meeting isn’t agile, it ties people with busy lives to a scheduled time and runs counter to the increasing trend that life is on demand rather than on schedule.  A new party could be leveraging this weakness and turning it into an advantage.

A new party could be agile and reactive.  Supporter mobilization, feedback and voting need not take massive scheduled meetings but instead could leverage new media like a website, facebook, twitter and mobile phones.  An agile organization can easily leverage these mediums to garner on-demand participation from its members.  As such, the organization would be free to pursue even greater levels of participation, involving members in far more decisions than the norm.  A new party need not be encumbered by traditional constitutions and platforms, requiring many levels of slow bureaucracy to affect change.  Instead they can let these party instruments be living and free, open to rapid change and evolution through greater member involvement.  It offers the power to break into unfulfilled niches where you could give people a taste for true bottom up participatory democracy rather than continue to subject them to our top down representational excuse for one.

A new party should be able to push out remarks and statements via all media forms rapidly and with ease, responding to and publishing statements and feedback not only from the incumbent and media but also the people.  Being agile doesn’t mean just being the voice of the people but instead giving the people a voice.  It means leveraging technology to their advantage and bring people into the fold rather than alienate them.   Make people heard, make their issues known, show that we aren’t alone and that there are far more out there who share our problems and our sentiment.  Leverage our voices to gain feedback, mobilize, evolve, change and flow with ease.  Be quick and agile, tackle issues untraditionally and focus on small and manageable pieces, not elephant sized chunks.  People shouldn’t have to work on the party’s schedule but instead the party should work on the people’s schedule.  Be agile, on demand and flexible, all the things the incumbent is less able to be.

Bernews has achieved success where others have failed because they’ve broken the mould.  They haven’t bound themselves by the traditional and instead have embraced new media, new ideas, new approaches and greater feedback to leverage it for strength rather than weakness.  It is no surprise that they’ve achieved success and it would be no surprise if a new party also did if they followed a similar pattern.  A new party needs to break the mould, embrace new media, embrace new ideas, garner feedback, be agile and bring democracy to the people, not expect the people to come to democracy.  There is an opportunity to be leveraged, a niche to be exploited, a new party could succeed, if they had the right approach.  They just need to recognize that they don’t need to play by the rules of the old because in today’s new world, the rules of success in new politics have yet to be written.

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