Hey Radicals, I hope you guys had a relaxing and pensive Memorial Day Weekend! Obviously, we couldn’t be Radicals anywhere near as comfortably without the heroic sacrifices our incredible servicemen and women and their families, so thank you to all of the brave souls who fight or have fought to keep our liberties protected! Memorial Day also reminds me of how lucky I am to still have both of my grandfathers, both veterans, in my life. That’s not something a lot of people can say, and I am truly thankful to be one of the few people who can.
Actually, while I’m talking about my grandpas, let me tell you a story about my mom’s dad, my “pop-pop”. (Yes, I know that since he’s my mom’s dad “pop-pop” makes no sense, deal with it.)
My pop-pop, Dan, is a first generation American. His parents were immigrants from Italy, neither of whom knew much, if any, English, nor did they have many relatives (English-speaking or otherwise) here. Those deficits in knowledge of the language and of friends and family here meant that my great-grandparents had to work extremely hard to make ends meet. Not knowing English meant limiting their areas of possible employ to mostly poor Italian neighborhoods, and not having friends or family here meant that finding work in those places would be particularly difficult due the cliquish nature of the immigrant-heavy populations. Learning English was an option, but when you’re working 12 hour days to stay alive, well, it just doesn’t seem viable. But things changed after they had my pop-pop. He went to school, learned English, assimilated, and became an all important translator for his family at a very young age. My pop-pop’s grasp of the language improved my great-grandparent’s English, and therefore the whole family’s quality of life, by leaps and bounds.
After a long slog of harsh labor, things got better for my family- all because one small part of it was able to gain and distribute information.
Now at this point, you’re probably saying to yourself “Well, uh, that’s a nice story and stuff, but if I wanted to hear about Italian immigrants improving their lives, I’d just pop ‘The Godfather II’ into my blu-ray player. Why is this radical?”.
First off, that’s incredibly racist and offensive, shame on you. Secondly, I’m getting to the relevance soon.
One of Conservatism’s great problems at the moment is our inability to compete with liberals across a broad range of social media. Yes, sure, we’ve gotten pretty good at Twitter, but we’re nowhere near as competitive on Tumblr or Reddit. Heck, we’re not even that good on Facebook, and their user-base’s average age is trending in our favor! Of course, that’s not even getting into the more niche interest social media sites like Deviant Art, Instagram, and YouTube, where we lag the liberals by a ton. Compounding those problems is the fact that while we’re trying to catch up, the liberals are busy creating new social media sites from the ground up! Sites that are FAR MORE effective than anything we’ve cooked up. (Just ask@SomethingFishie!) Now, I don’t know about solving that second problem per se, but I do have a feeling that a solution might present itself after we fix the first problem. And I DO have a plan for that!
And it’s a pretty simple plan too.
Our party sucks at social media. Why is this? Well, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that a lot of our allies feel that they are too old or too busy or lack the savvy to learn how to use these sites. Those same allies might even balk at the suggestion that their assumptions are wrong, and will quite likely come up with some sort of excuse, usually involving a tirade about the “pointlessness” of social media. That’s when we need to use one of the most potent tools of persuasion on the situation. The good old exertion of family-based leverage.
Kids and teens know social media, that’s a fact. Parents and Grandparents love to interact with their kids and grandkids, that’s a fact. The pieces of the puzzle are there, we just need to facilitate them being put together. I’d say that “communicating with your family” is a pretty good incentive for getting a parent or grandparent involved, but what about the kids? Well, I can’t speak for a ton of people, but I do know that I’ve pretty much been (and have enjoyed being) my family’s tech support hotline since I turned 12, and I can tell you with authority that it’s nice to be praised for your hobbies.
In fact, I think that “tech support” role comes with the territory of being a part of “the next generation”. I think that we’re intuitively wired to try to teach people skills we think are cool or useful, be it a new language or the proper utilization of a website. The thing is, that exchange of information is going to happen regardless of whether or not a relative is there to receive it. And there are many, many alternatives for a kid to pick from.
On that note, I’ll leave you with a question: What creates more value, the exchange of information between peers, or the exchange of information between a grandfather and a grandson?