Archive for February 1st, 2007

Cell Phones and Politics: Republican Mobile Activism in the 2006 Elections

For a more recent take on the topic of cell phones and politics, see the relevant Online Politics 101 chapter.

January’s Mobile Monday meeting in D.C. featured a fascinating presentation on Republican employment of cell phones and SMS text messaging in the 2006 elections, with a lot more detail than we’re usually able to get about on-the-ground use of this new (to the U.S.) political tool. Patrick Ruffini of the RNC discussed the committee’s use of text and mobile video to inform and motivate supporters, and Mike Connell of Connell Donatelli went into great depth about the DeVos campaign for Michigan governor’s foray into the world of mobile advocacy.
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Supporting Offline Organizing through Online Means: Let’s Make Some Shirts

DeadElephant.ORG Campaign Manager Jeff Goldsmith wrote up a great application earlier today on an email discussion list and kindly gave permission for me to reprint his message. He talks about an interesting way to integrate online and offline organizing by allowing website visitors to design and print their own shirts with the DeadElephant.ORG logo. Roll-your-own protest gear! (Dude, don’t bogart that shirt…).

Apropos of our conversation here about “message discipline” at protest marches, DeadElephant.ORG has just come across a new way to split the difference between uniformity and individuality, and it’s worth considering for your own organizing efforts. As of this morning, supporters can create their own message — any message — on a high-quality printed shirt bearing the DeadElephant logo. You can write your slogan, choose your fonts, and even include your own images. www.DeadElephant.ORG/roll.htm. The service is made possible by the folks at GoodStorm. If a new meme is to emerge as uniquely suitable to our times, our goals, and our values, perhaps this is a means by which that can happen.

Details: The GoodStorm personalized printing service costs us nothing to use, and took about 20 minutes to customize and install on our site. They host the function on their server, but it’s presented as integral to the DeadElephant site through a JavaScript call. This distributed model is similar to Care2′s distributed discussion board service, with which you might be familiar.

Very cool idea — send along any similar organizing tools and I’ll write ‘em up.

cpd

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Fineman: Judging a Candidate by His Website

My old Austin buddy Chris Cosart passes along this Newsweek column by Howard Fineman, who compares Hillary and Obama’s websites and more traditional offline organizing efforts and finds Barak’s lacking. Um, yeah. The guy just decided to run a couple of months ago, and you’re comparing him to a candidate who’s been planning for this moment since, oh, about two decades ago? Fineman focuses on one particular New Hampshire activist who’s beseiged by requests from Hillary’s supporters, really wants to work with Obama, but hasn’t heard back from his campaign. Hmmmmm, maybe this is more of a sign of how nervous Clinton’s campaign is?

I don’t have a dog in this hunt (yet), but I think it’s also a little early to be judging Obama in part by a campaign site whose final version won’t be unveiled for another week. Experts in the field have not been so complimentary of the Clinton campaign’s online efforts thus far. Fineman ends with the line, “I know it sounds crazy — it’s a year from the first vote — but Obama better get that Web site up and running, fast.” Somehow I suspect that he just might.

cpd

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