Is Michigan governor wannabe Rick Snyder really a nerd?

| Tuesday, August 17, 2010
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Ann Arbor entrepreneur/venture capitalist Rick Snyder connected with voters using a clever advertising campaign in which he called himself a "nerd" with the brainpower to reinvent Michigan.

Voters in the Republican primary election, including lots of independents and Democrats, liked what they heard and picked the moderate nerd over four other candidates, who mostly positioned themselves to the right of Attila the Hun.

But is he really a nerd? Retired Lansing newsman Wes Thorp, who writes the Daily Grit blog, questions Snyder's nerdiness in a couple of blog posts this week.

Assuming "nerd" and "geek" can be used interchangeably, Thorp says he's skeptical that Snyder is anything more than businessman who ran a computer company.

A true geek would use social media on the Internet to connect people and to have a conversation in the marketplace. By conversation, I mean more than a proclamation from a CEO, but a careful effort to listen to and nurture comments from the people you serve.

In another post, Thorp says Snyder should be blogging to connect with a new generation of voters. He should be fully engaged in social media, including sending tweets from his smart phone, Thorp says. And he shouldn't pass this off to a staffer.

His campaign communications staff needs to spend some quality time with him to bring him to full nerd status. He hasn't shown that he's there yet. If he can't communicate more effectively, he'll meet the same fate as Dick Devos.

DeVos, you'll recall, got his clock cleaned by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

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