Monday, November 10, 2008

No Matter How Paranoid You Are, You Can Never be Paranoid Enough

A couple weeks ago, a local politician called me about ten minutes after I mentioned the person’s name in a blog post. The conversation went something like this.

Politician X: Hello Adam, this is Politician X.

Adam: What can I do for you, Politician X?

Politician X: I think you misinterpreted one of my positions in your blog post.

[Discussion about blog post ensues.]

Adam: Look, I don’t want you to get the impression that I am always bashing you on this blog. I actually agree with you on a lot of things.

Politician X: Like what?

Adam: Well, last winter, I argued on behalf of your position on Issue Y.

Politician X: Really?

Adam: And a few months ago, I agreed with you on Issue Z. Didn’t you read that?

Politician X: No, I’m not a regular reader of the blog.

Adam: Then how did you know I wrote about you ten minutes ago?

Politician X: Errr… um…

Adam: You have Google Alert, don’t you?
Readers, Google Alert is a politician’s best friend. It is a service that emails you whenever a search term you choose is mentioned on a media site or blog. Growing numbers of politicians are entering their own names and getting alerts whenever they are mentioned on these sites. The emails can come pretty quickly, sometimes in ten minutes or less.

So imagine being tethered to your Crackberry and having it go off any time some rogue blogger mentions your name. That is the lifestyle some of our politicians are now choosing to lead. Is it narcissism? Is it paranoia? Is it healthy for family life or mental stability? Why aren’t their significant others putting a stop to this?

This is yet another reason not to run for office.

Update: As usual, Delegate Saqib Ali is ahead of the curve. Delegate Ali actually encourages his supporters to sign up for Google Alert and enter his name so that they can stay abreast of the latest news reports on him. Perhaps this is one reason why we always get big traffic boosts whenever we mention his Facebook page.