Tag Archives: web sites

Political Communication that Works

On election day, amid the frenzy of last minute plugs and flurry of civic-minded joy, I came across a simple little website that I just love. Before linking I want to qualify this for two reasons: 1) It’s full of the f-word, which might put some people off. So fair warning. 2) It’s all pro Obama, which might put some more people off. More fair warning.

But in spite of both of those things, I think the site is really cool. I share it regardless of politics and profanity because I think it’s an interesting idea. I actually waited until after the election to let the partisan nature wear off a bit. It’s still there, but it feels easier to look past today than it would have been on election day.

The site is called What The F*ck Has Obama Done So Far? and it’s just a slide show of one-sentence accomplishments. Each accomplishment has a source link and then a button to see the next accomplishment. It’s an ingenious little way to tell a story of simple achievements. Instead of drowning people in paragraphs of text on every issue, it’s just one little snippet of factual text.

Now I realize some folks will likely take issue with each bit of “factual” text, because that’s what we do, nit-picking every statement as spin and adding our own counter-spin. But I think the basic idea does what it needs to. Some sort of way to engage those nit-pickers and add a little more explanation or context might be helpful (but that might also ruin the simplicity of the whole thing). It’s not a perfect idea, but it’s a lot more effective than any political website I’ve ever seen.

Bottom line: I love the idea of taking something as complex and off-putting as politics and phrasing it in simple one-liners of actual accomplishment that anyone can understand. That’s powerful communication.

Authors Without Web Sites

Earlier this week I singled out author Anne Lamott for not having a web site. But the sad fact is she’s not alone. A number of noteworthy authors lack official web sites:

  • Jonathan Franzen
  • David Sedaris
  • Sarah Vowell
  • Alice Sebold
  • Kathleen Norris
  • Robert Pinsky
  • Seamus Heaney
  • David Rakoff
  • Russell Banks
  • Frederick Buechner (supposedly coming soon)

Granted I’m doing a quick Google search. If an official site doesn’t show up in the first page of results, it doesn’t exist (quite frankly, if you have a site and it’s not showing up on the first page of results for your name, you’re doing something wrong). Even Wendell Berry, the Kentucky novelist who still uses a typewriter has a web site (granted it appears to be maintained by his publisher). So why do none of these well-known authors have a web site?

Continue reading Authors Without Web Sites

Why Doesn’t Anne Lamott Have a Web Site?

A couple weeks ago I discovered that one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, doesn’t have a web site. She’s got a Wikipedia page, the speaking agency representing her has a page, Salon.com has a list of her columns—heck, there’s even my Anne Lamott Squidoo page. But Anne Lamott herself has no official web site.

How can a well-known author not have a web site in 2008?

Sadly, I asked that same question in 2005.

So here’s the deal, Anne: Drop me a line and I’ll build you a web site.

Continue reading Why Doesn’t Anne Lamott Have a Web Site?