Mobilizing His Followers

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

This AP story points out that Mr. Obama is harnessing the real-time power of Twitter to mobilize his followers to vote. I can just picture the tweet come November: “Hoping you’ll go make me president—right now!”

Obama’s campaign has used the Internet to boost fundraising, building upon Howard Dean’s Web strategy in 2004, but the campaign’s use of text messaging has the potential to mobilize voters in a new way.

Obama’s campaign has encouraged supporters to sign up for e-mails and text messages and sent text messages to voters on the days of key primary contests. The messages also helped encourage supporters to attend local events and tune into Obama television appearances.

On the Web, Obama’s Twitter site now has more than 60,000 followers, who receive updates from Obama’s town hall meetings and links to his Web site.

Nick Shapiro, an Obama spokesman, declined to release the number of cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses the campaign has amassed. He said the text messaging has been “valuable because not everyone sits in front of a computer or a television.”

The article also mentions that “Republican John McCain’s campaign, meanwhile, has not highlighted text messages,” Instead McCain is going old-school with viral YouTube videos, “McCain’s recent ‘Celeb’ ad, which compared Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, has received about 2 million hits on YouTube.”