Thursday, February 03, 2011

Lords of the MA Manor

I was a supporter and endorser of Steve Grossman for MA treasurer. Following his installation and his initial announcements of programs, I figured it was a good time to check the commonwealth website for ego levels.

The previous treasurer, Tim Cahill, seemed to be the only employee there. Much like Secretary Bill Galvin still, Cahill's sub-site made it look like he did everything. Every page had Cahill's picture and referred to his this, that and the other. Clearly nothing happened unless he did it personally. All hail!

Of course, that's a nice perk for an elected official. Particularly for executive functions like treasurer, secretary or AG, elected posts, constant plugs are free campaigning. Those offices all offer services that thousands of voters use every year. How super that they will associate your face and name with every single click.

Today, Galvin hasn't changed his. It's all Bill all the time. The other three have a little softer sell. That includes smaller pictures, headings that feature the office bigger than the officer, and many linked pages in the sub-site that do not have the picture big and up top.

Spot checks of nearby states show they are like the newer, lower-key version we're using. Connecticut's treasurer site, for example, has her name and picture on the upper left but not on linked pages to services. Stealthier and less vain is New York's AG site. It has a link to the bio, but doesn't even name him on the main page, much less has his image on every heading.

I've met with Grossman a few times and we had him on our Left Ahead! podcast. He clearly is a straight-ahead guy, a permanent Eagle Scout, and not ego driven. I am actually a little surprised that he went with the mass.gov template and didn't ask them to tone it down a bit. Even now though, his pictures are small and the function of the office is more obvious than the person.

The current page does have a larger picture of him in the middle. However, he's freshly minted and this is a short on his swearing in ceremony.

Click the page to the left for a larger view or head to it solo. You'll notice that his pix are really thumbnails, or rather fingernails, rather than the honking big smiling heads we're used to seeing.

Moreover, on subsequent pages, he appears, but not as intrusively as Cahill used to and Galvin still does.

On the popular abandoned-property page, his mug is up there, but only after you begin your search. The opening page of the function just has the heading and is otherwise Grossman-free.

It's not without his presence, but this version is a much lower-key personality pitch. I'd say we're over half way to featuring the functionality instead of personality.

Of course, our governor is like most other states'. He is the face of the government to most of us and is not at all shy shy about featuring himself. His individual sub-site is heavy on the pictures and credits.

Perhaps it's good to be king. I am moderately pleased though that our princes and princess seem to have their egos a bit more under control.

Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, mass.gov, Grossman, Cahill, campaigning

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