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Business - Written by on Thursday, August 21, 2008 17:14 - 2 Comments

Want to know Obama’s VP Pick? Send him a Text

One of the most hotly anticipated political news these days is Obama’s coming announcement of who he has picked as his Vice Presidential Nominee. But while most politicians would deliver such news-cycle-dominating stuff during a carefully choreographed photo-op, Obama has decided to do so by sending a mass text message to supporters.

Great (or annoying, depending on your opinion) marketing gimmick for getting people onto the campaign’s text message list, but even more exciting are the other ways in which that list is being used.

First off, Obama uses it to tell supporters the time and location of rallies close to where the live. For a political campaign, mobilizing supporters is a core competency. But it can be difficult to do, especially when events are spur-of-the-momment. Phones often ring unanswered, emails get snagged by spam and sit unread in mailboxes for days. Text messages are received and read pretty much instantaneously, and irrespective of where the recipient is. They are also more personal than a mass email or recorded telemessage, meaning its more likely people will pay attention to them, and much less resource-intensive than a person-to-person phone call.

Second, Obama texts his supporters policy updates. I know: BORING. That’s what I thought at first. But think about it. If McCain attacks Obama, Obama’s supporters know the rebuttal before they have even heard McCain’s attack. And, they’re going to be spreading that message to people they know. Conservative TV commentators have long been accused of reciting talking points sent to them straight from the Republican Party. Whatever your view of the ethics behind that, you must admit it is an effective way to get out the message. Replace those TV commentators (which generally attract audiences with median ages of over 60) with hundreds of thousands, even millions of ordinary people of every race and every class in every corner of the country, and you have a pretty big bull horn.

Meanwhile, John McCain has yet to use text messaging at all. And I don’t just mean his campaign, I mean him personally as well. LOL I can’t wait till November.


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Tito Santos
Aug 22, 2008 10:03

Hi Will,
What number should I send to get mobile messages from Obama?
Also, see the website: http://www.theworldvotesobama.com.

Aug 23, 2008 23:36

It would have been more hip for Obama to make his VP pick through Twitter but text messaging is something. There are more old people that vote though and McCain probably appeals more to that “Can’t program my VCR” crowd.

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