Politics Can Be Crowdsourced, Too

from the changing-politics dept

Last week, Mike noted the latest example of the trend towards people wanting to share the news, rather than just consuming it. Now that two-way communications have become cheap and easy, people (especially young people) are growing accustomed to news reporting being a two-way enterprise, with them commenting on the news and sharing it with others rather than just passively consuming it. A recent Washington Post profile of the Obama campaign's online efforts suggests that something similar is happening in politics. The Obama campaign's fundraising efforts have put to shame those of the McCain and Clinton campaigns. The Post suggests that a major reasons is that Obama's campaign has been careful to cultivate a real relationship with its supporters, rather than just treating them like walking ATM machines. It notes that Obama's emails to his supporters are less likely to ask for money and more likely to invite them to attend a campaign event, watch a video, read an article, or volunteer time for the candidate. This is politics as crowdsourcing. Just as companies can build brand loyalty by cultivating an ongoing relationship with customers, so political campaigns can spark greater levels of support by making them feel like they have a greater stake in the campaign.

A particularly interesting part of this strategy was discussed is a recent edition of Don Marti's LinuxWorld podcast with Tony Steidler-Dennison, who talked about the Obama campaign's success with phone banking. The campaign has an online phone-banking system that allowed users to log into a website, get a list of phone numbers to call, and make the calls from the comfort of their own home. This saves the campaign the hassle of having to rent out space for phone banking, but more importantly it gets more volunteers the opportunity to participate, which gives them a stronger sense that they have a stake in the campaign. The net result will be that money will become less important, while volunteer engagement and enthusiasm will become a lot more important. Thanks to the Internet, campaigns that can energize large numbers of people will find it easier and easier to harness that enthusiasm and translate it into concrete results.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Sal, 1 Apr 2008 @ 6:56pm

    Running for president

    I bet this will not continue once he is in office. Then again, he might be different, but I doubt it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alex, 1 Apr 2008 @ 7:20pm

    Obama won't be much different from previous presidents, but the next president might be. Things move slowly, you know? At least it's a step in the right direction

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CrazyDave, 1 Apr 2008 @ 8:55pm

    oh god,,, will some one get rid of Obama girl!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wirehead, 1 Apr 2008 @ 9:27pm

    I think it actually does signify some level of change.

    It's just that the new strategy will be how to run the best steal-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor campaign, since you'll get more manpower and cash from the masses than the rich people and big corporations.

    Still, I kinda like Obama for reasons other than his social-network campaign. He also seems to understand that things are not always simple with easy answers you can campaign on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 2 Apr 2008 @ 5:28am

    Candidate songs

    Speaking of being in touch with the supporters, all of the 3 main candidates now have their own songs.
    Hilary has some latin song meant to get all those of spanish decent to vote for her. Catchy tune, but I have no clue what that song is saying since it is in spanish. McCain has the "It's Raining McCain" song. ... .. That sond should never have been made. The singers cannot sing in tune with the song, or each other for that matter. They also look like they should never have been let out of the house. The production value of the video is put to shame by just about 80% of the user made content on YouTube. Ugh.
    Today they played Obama's new song. To the tune of I Wanna Rock, there is now I Want Barock. Hilarious!!
    Of course, a simple song cannot sway my vote at all Buttttt just in terms of the songs, McCain is losing so bad its not even funny. Okay, its kind of funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Don Marti, 10 Apr 2008 @ 9:04pm

    Kind of funny?

    Come on, it's really funny. Especially the one lady's almost green screen colored flickery dress and the Bouncing Head of McCain.

    (Thanks for the link to the podcast.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.