Mobile Future

GOTV, VP & more: campaigning by text

In 2008, it is expected that over 2.3 trillion text messages will be sent worldwide.  And of these expected text messages, one message in particular is hotly anticipated in the next few days.  On Sunday, August 10, Barack Obama notified supporters that he would announce his VP pick via text message. 

 It is truly a sign of the times when a political campaign embraces a new technology with such a significant announcement.  Campaigns traditionally rely on tried and true methods for reaching voters – television ads, volunteers going door to door, direct mail campaigns, and local rallies.  However, with Obama’s decision to make this historic announcement by way of new media – it signifies that wireless is truly one of the most powerful tools for communication and mobilization, and people in politics are starting to recognize the power of that direct communication.

Not only do text messages enable candidates to connect with users on a more personal level, they are also successfully mobilizing new audiences.  The New Voters Project found that SMS reminders near Election Day increased turnout by 4.2 percentage points among young voters.

 So while it remains to be seen, who Obama will choose as his running mate, it’s clear that wireless is the platform for participation, notification and mobilization for the 2008 election.