RNC Loses Online Director
By Jose Antonio Vargas
The GOP's top Internet official is leaving the Republican National Committee.
Arguably the most respected technocrat in the Republican Party, Cyrus Krohn is just the latest in a string of officials to resign from the RNC; last week, the RNC's finance director quit. But because GOP Chairman Michael Steele made leveraging the Internet to attract voters to the Republican Party a top priority ina tech summit two weeks ago, Krohn's departure comes as an especially heavy blow -- not just to the RNC, but to the conservative blogosphere.
A veteran of Microsoft and Yahoo, Krohn joined the RNC in July 2007 and started to reboot the party's online infrastructure. Immediately, he launched new sites within GOP.com (such as GOPPlatform2008.com, which allowed visitors to help shape the party's platform in advance of the Republican National Convention), created the RNC's Facebook group (which now has roughly 7,000 more members than the Democratic National Committee) and grew the RNC's e-mail list from 1.8 to 12 million.
Krohn announced his resignation in a blog post on E-Voter Institute, a 10-year-old, nonpartisan think-tank where he sits on the board of advisers. In a posting titled "RNC-YA," Krohn outlines the challenges facing the GOP on the Web. The party doesn't lack for bloggers and Twitterers who gets the message out, he said, but the GOP needs platforms and applications to allow more people to self-organize and become activists.
"Change comes quickly online and the tide will turn again in favor of the GOP, once we hone our message and harness emerging technologies. To do that, we must match Democrats, programmer-for-programmer," Krohn wrote. "Regrettably, we're in terribly short supply of professionals focused solely on building platforms and applications. This is where we got dot bombed in 2006 and 2008. Maybe we should start providing computer science scholarships in exchange for a commitment to serve our party?"
In an interview, Krohn said he's moving back to Seattle with his family. He has no job lined up at the moment, he told The Post, but he's thinking of running for office. And, true to form, he logged off from the RNC with his sense of humor intact: In the blog post, Krohn hints at helping build applications for whoever runs for president in 2012 -- only to leave readers RickRolled.
This is one in a series of online columns on our growing "clickocracy," in which we are one nation under Google, with e-mail and video for all. Please send suggestions, comments and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted at 3:44 PM ET on Mar 5, 2009
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