Yes We Can... avoid trying too hard
Authenticity is a word that is probably over-used these days, especially in many church circles. But there is still something powerful and true about the concept. Yesterday, at JAM, the keynote speaker talked about the Internet revolution in politics and about how authenticity played a great role in the last presidential election. Andrew Rasiej is the co-founder of techPresident, an award winning group blog that covered how the 2008 Presidential candidates used the web, and how voter generated content (a term he coined) affected the campaign.
Rasiej says that what Obama did better than any other candidate was to ride the wave of technology. Much of what was generated on the web was not put out there by the Obama campaign, yet the Obama campaign made the best use out of it. As voters generated videos and other voters passed them around, the Obama campaign harnessed the positive energy. If you view the Will.I.Am video below, you'll not only see celebrity endorsement of Obama, you will see a video that is (1) authentic (2) transparent in what it is trying to do, and (3) uses technology in a creative way. Contrast this to the second video "Hillary and the Band", put out by Clinton's campaign. It may be fairly creative, and is transparent in its irony, but it fails the crucial test: authenticity. Phrases like "the blogs were going crazy" and "maybe Hillary doesn't shred" scream MIDDLE-AGED WRITER TRYING TO SEEM HIP.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the mini-lecture videos that professors do for their online classes. Each professor brings their own thoughts and personality to the video, but we must be sure that those attributes are authentic to the person of the lecturer. There's a reason that the former has nearly 18 million views, while the latter has a mere 6,500.