The RNC just launched the new version of its website, www.GOP.com, and today, I had a chance to interview Cyrus Krohn, the man behind the site.
The GOP scored a major coup back in July when they recruited Krohn. Prior to joining the RNC, he had spent ten years at Microsoft, started Slate.com, and served as Director of Yahoo’s! election strategy.
Unlike many conservative bloggers, Krohn adamantly contends the GOP is not behind as it pertains to the internet. He says it’s a false impression that has been perpetrated, generally, by internet consultants. He notes the greatest area where Republicans are perceived as being weak has to do with online contributions. He predicts that will change next year when we have a nominee. (He declines to comment on which nominee would do the best online.)
Krohn also knows that in the world of the internet, things change rapidly:
“Anyone who thinks Facebook is going to be the 'cat’s meow' ten years from now, they don’t fully understand the rate of change on the web. Within a couple of months, YouTube went from nothing to what they are today. People are going to build better mousetraps."
Krohn brings to GOP.com his strategies of "vertical issue-based social networks" and "content-to-community,” which are the most interesting aspects to the upgrade. It’s easy to make a site “prettier,” but Krohn’s changes are fundamental paradigm shifts from the way the GOP used to view websites.
As Krohn explains, people join social networks because of the cachet of the network – not because they want to be a part of a specific group. But once a user joins a networking site, joining affinity groups is the next logical step. The new GOP website allows users to build communities around vertical social issues.
The site also seeks to find ways to activate readers. Content-to-community essentially works this way: If you are reading an article on GOP.com about a topic, such as, say, terrorism, it would encourage you to join a group such as “safety and security.”
Also, signaling they are up-to-date with the blogosphere, the RNC's blog, which is frequently updated, can also be found at GOP.com/blog.
According to Krohn: “Through the use of RSS feeds, email sign-up, mobile alerts, social networking and bookmarking, we're providing our audience with the opportunity to consume gop.com content at any time, from any place, and on any device.”
This upgrade was the first of several upgrades slated for this year.
For more information, TechRepublican has more technical info on the new revamped GOP.com.