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Mobile Matters When It Matters

Last week, during a panel discussion on the role of mobile in politics, we discussed recent text messaging campaigns and waged some predictions for the future of mobile. The Hotline covered the event, and I took some grief from some of my friends over at Save the GOP for touting the success we had with a mini-text messaging campaign during the Santorum race. So, I did what any hyper-sensitive, blooming, passionate technopolitico would do and took them to task, elaborating and clarifying my view on the application and value of mobile tactics in campaigns. Simply, I owned them.

In summary, my view on mobile in politics:

1) campaigns are interested in return on investment, so they will invest in a mobile strategy but mainly for applications that yield volunteers or money i.e. the PDA add-on card reader that scans driver’s licenses and credit cards for easy voter ID and online fundraising

2) text messaging campaigns can be particularly valuable i.e. when your constituency is the under 35 demo, on EDay when you need to use every method imaginable to remind voters to turn out, if you provide the means for a community of text messagers who communicate with each other that way, etc.

3) for text messaging and mobile in general, the same rules apply as for other new mediums i.e. most online ads aim to get volunteers or raise money, opt-in messaging is the way to go, shoot for viral adoption, etc.

4) Also, political campaigns are somewhat dependent on the entertainment industry and other cooler sectors of our society to “educate” the public about the value and uses of new technologies. American Idol, and now the Apprentice, I’m sure have given a major boost to the number of text messagers. So as entertainment pushes the envelope, it will be easier to implement new technologies and make them successful in the political space.

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