Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed VP of Marketing and Global Engagement for GETTR, Kaelan Dorr to the newsmakers line to talk about his time with former President Trump, his background and what it’s like behind the scenes at a new social media site.
Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by Kaelan Dorr. Kaelen is the VP of Marketing and Global Engagement for GETTR. Good morning, Kaelen.
Dorr: Good morning. How’s it going?
Leahy: Well, it’s going great. The first question, Kalen K-A-E-L-E-N-I guess. Is that Irish? What is the origin of that name?
Dorr: (Chuckles) Yeah, actually, we can be friends because you’re maybe one of the only people in the world who’s ever gotten it right on the first try. But I think it’s Gaelic.
I’ve got a ton of family from that part of the country, so it just kind of stuck. It’s either that or Killian. And my mum didn’t want me named after a beer. So now we are where we are.
Leahy: One of my best friends growing up was Kieran Patrick Gilroy. (Chuckles) Keiran, Kaelen. I figured it was something like that. Anybody with an Irish name like that is a friend of mine already. You have quite an impressive career Kaelen. You are a graduate of Elon College in North Carolina. Where you are from originally?
Dorr: So I’m actually an army brat myself. My father just retired. He’s an active duty Colonel until about a year and a half ago. And he wrapped up his career teaching the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
So I am actually a military brat incarnate. I have no home, but I spent a ton of time growing up outside of Savannah, Georgia, and I’ve got grandparents in North Carolina. So that’s where I decided to choose to go to college. I had a ton of fun.
Leahy: You also have worked at some of the most respected, toughest, conservative political consulting firms in the country. Jamestown Associates. How did you get that gig? And how long were you there?
Dorr: Oh, man, I’m trying to think back. I worked on a bunch of campaigns. If you’re scrolling through my resume, you see, I did a bunch of just smaller campaigns here and there. I ran the political operation for a race in Georgia.
Georgia’s first congressional district, which is the entire coast. I don’t know how involved you or your listeners are in campaigns, but when you organize film shoots, it’s really hard to get folks to turn out.
And so Jamestown Associates, they were the consultants on one of my first races, and they came down for a film shoot. And normally, you get about five or six people to show up to an event or to a film shoot I had about 25-30 people show up. So they all kind of grabbed each other like, yeah, we’ve got to get this guy on board.
Leahy: Who is this guy, right? We got to get him on board. (Laughter) But they play hardball. They play to win and often usually do win. You went from there and you became the chief marketing officer for the Trump campaign. Tell us what that was about.
Dorr: Oh, man, that was maybe the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I was literally was coordinating the ad buying and the ad creative and things like that for one of the biggest campaigns in U.S. history.
I joined a really great operation in late July. And I think if it weren’t for COVID and a couple of other factors, we would have pulled out that victory. But that was a ton of fun. I spent some time in the Treasury Department doing public affairs there and in the White House as well. So it’s kind of been around doing a Jack of all trades, master of none.
Leahy: Do you have any Donald Trump stories for us?
Dorr: Do I have any Donald Trump stories.
Leahy: Yeah, that you can tell us on air?
Dorr: I’ll tell you one of my favorite stories of all time was I used to help film the weekly address for the present. So as you know, like every week, the President kind of addresses the nation. And we were doing that via pre-taped interview. And one of my favorite things of all time is we wrote a script and we didn’t share them beforehand about the first female astronaut coming back from space that week.
And he wraps reading it on camera for the first time and he looks at me and he looks at the other guys in the room, and he just goes, how cool is NASA? And apparently the rest of the day, that’s all he talked about.
Leahy: So there you go.
Dorr: I might have gotten in trouble for that one, but it’s one of my favorite stories.
Leahy: How did you come to become the Vice President of marketing engagement for GETTR? I guess you probably knew Jason Miller from the campaign and other locations. But how did you get the gig? And what are you doing with it now?
Dorr: So I know Jason for the better part of a decade. He’s a brother to me. And I think I’m really passionate about this fight against Big Tech. I also work at the American First Policy Institute, where they’re actually helping sue Big Tech on behalf of President Trump. And so this is something I’m passionate about. And Jason is a good friend of mine.
He came to me and asked for help doing some marketing. So my job, basically every day is to wake up and make GETTR a fun place to live and be. We found that the only way to take down these conglomerates, these oligarchs is to really retrain people’s behaviors.
And so that’s why increasing engagement and doing a bunch of paid marketing and things like that are absolutely critical to success. As I said, it’s been a ton of fun.
It’s one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had in my life simply because we can physically see us take the battle to Big Tech and really loosen their grip on power.
Leahy: So for our listeners, who may be wondering what exactly is GETTR it’s spelled G-E-T-T-R. Tell our listeners what GETTR is and why it’s important.
Dorr: Yeah, absolutely. It’s actually the fastest-growing social media network in history. So we reached about three million users in under three months, which is totally unprecedented. We did it with very little marketing spend. Almost nearly all organic.
And essentially, it’s the first-ever truly cancel free social media website. So you go there and people describe it as a Twitter clone. When you sign up, you can actually choose to import all of your old IPs from Twitter.
And we have a pretty robust moderation policy. But what we think we are different from others is it boils down to respect. The reason people are mad at Big Tech and mad at Facebook and Twitter, and all these things is because they simply fail to respect your First Amendment rights of free speech.
It’s that simple. And I think it’s not hard. It’s something we do. You can go on there and say whatever the heck you want within reason. You can’t go on there and threaten violence or use hate speech.
But you can get on there and talk about how you feel about the 2020 election. You can go on there and talk about how you feel about COVID without fear of being canceled. And I think the marketplace of ideas and truly unleashing the power of that is truly critical to taking a spike to Big Tech.
Leahy: It’s on the web at GETTR.com Big question. I’m just guessing here. Getter done? Where does GETTR come from?
Dorr: It’s actually a short form of get-together.
Leahy: Get together?
Dorr: Yeah. I had quite a few reservations at first. I was one of the guys kind of laughing at it at the beginning as a big, weird Cable Guy fan growing up, but now it’s supposed to be short for get together.
Leahy: Get together. Okay, well, look, when you launch a new social media site, getting a domain name that’s easy to remember, that’s a bit of a challenge, isn’t it?
Dorr: Yeah. Actually, there’s so much that goes into the back end of running a social media site that I never even would have thought. There’s more work than I could have ever fathomed that goes into this. So whether it’s moderation, for example, we get asked all the time where our direct messages, why are live streaming?
Why is not available to everybody? It’s because you got to go through and truly, truly make sure that these things are working perfectly. There’s no room for anyone to do anything untowardly towards one another. And so it’s just, oh, my goodness. The lift that goes behind all of it is truly incredible.
But we’re seeing real results. With three million users, over a third of those users are active. And more importantly, this is a point I like to bring up all the time and something I never even would have thought about before working here.
And that’s this is truly a global platform. So I think around 50 percent, maybe even a little less of our total user base is in the United States. The rest are from other countries where they feel like they’re being canceled.
If you can imagine how frustrating it is to have some guy in a hoodie in Silicon Valley, tell you or me that we can’t talk about what we want to just imagine how you must feel if you live in Brazil or Australia or Japan where some tech nerd in Silicon Valley, in a country they don’t even live is telling them this is something they can’t talk about.
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