Communicating the DPVA Way


    Somebody is getting paid by the Democratic Party of Virginia to communicate. Communication was the theme of the new state party chairman when he was selected. The Executive Director announced a weekly update six weeks ago and hasn’t delivered. The website, using a standard template, is Poe dark and dreary.

    From the Loch Ness donkey in the state party logo at the top left to the bright red “$ Contribute” button on the right, a visitor’s attention is suspended, drawn into the deep blue background. There is content, but it requires effort to mine it. Below the fold are captures of the DPVA home page and the Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM) homepage that link to each. Explore; compare and contrast. While the DPVA features the weekly update that isn’t, the DPNM has used the same template space to deliver a running blog, a list of events, a poll, and Tweets. Though there is a “CONTRIBUTE” button, it shares standing with “VOLUNTEER,” “MAKE PHONE CALLS,” and “GET LOCAL.”

    At this moment, possibly the most immediately important Virginia issue, the budget, is mentioned only at the lowest right panel of the page, and then only in a tweet link.  Connections to social networking, near the top of DPNM’s homepage, are dead last at DPVA. Videos and photos are conveniently consolidated where if they are late to the date, that isn’t so obvious. And DPNM acknowledges other sources of information…even blogs.  


    So while Democrats in New Mexico have a staff and a chairman who are on top of the issues and the technology to communicate, the Democrats in Virginia are left flat-footed. Somebody ought to be fired.

    • I’m on the Northern Neck — we’re the flyover part of VA-01 between Fredericksburg and the Norfolk area.

      I moved here in 2007 and immediately joined my county’s Democratic committee. During the 2008 and 2010 elections, we tried to communicate with the DPVA using email.  Forget it.  Of the dozen or so of us who tried and tried and tried, NOT ONE EVER RECEIVED A REPLY TO AN EMAIL OR A PHONE MESSAGE SENT TO OR LEFT WITH DPVA.

    • Peter 2010

      The lack of interactive features on the DPVA website is merely the technological manifestation of the more fundamental underlying problem: DPVA favors one-way communication, from the top down, and discourages communication from the bottom up. That is true whether the communication medium is electronic, telephonic, or personal. If asked, DPVA would vehemently deny this is true, but its actions speak louder than its words. It is probably not fair to ascribe the lion’s share of the blame to DPVA’s paid staff. Most are smart enough to know on which side their bread is buttered, and it is buttered on the side of hierarchy not democracy.  

    • Tom

      Given the fact that the DPVA doesn’t actually “communicate” in either direction, I’d call it “no-way” communication.

      I’m a PWC Dem. Committee member and I, also, tried many times to get someone at DPVA to answer a phone message or an e-mail message. Only once did I ever receive a reply, and that was a week after the Wash. Post had provided the answer to my question, which was simply which hotel in Newport News was hosting the Dec. quarterly meeting when that great communicator (not, not, not) Brian was elected chair. It is sad that our party committee dues have to pay people NOT to communicate even to party members. It is even sadder to know that the WaPo actually provides important party info. about upcoming events a week BEFORE the DPVA so-called leaders provide the same info. to their own dues-paying members.

      In case you’re wondering why I keep paying dues, the answer is that 2010 was my last time to pay dues. I will continue as a committee member, but since “dues” are per the by-laws voluntary “contributions” I will not be contributing any more money, only my time time and energy for one or two candidates of my choosing.


    • Isaac Sarver

      You’re dead wrong on the weekly update Dan. I have six emails, once each week since mid-December when Brian Coy came on board, billed as DPVA updates in my inbox. Dave Mills and the DPVA Team have delivered on a weekly update, as promised. The fact that not all of these updates have a video component seems to be what you’re pointing out…