Scott Brown Used Google for Field Organizing, Not Just Advertising

February 4th, 2010

Here’s one angle of the Brown campaign that hasn’t gotten much attention: Brown’s folks used free Google online tools to help organize grassroots voter outreach and to collect field data.

But Brown aides also used Google spreadsheets and forms to collect information from volunteers and supporters, essentially using the search engine’s products to create their own version of what Obama’s campaign team built for themselves during the 2008 election cycle. They had software on iPhones and BlackBerries that drew on their voter target list and used a volunteer’s GPS location to provide a list of which doors to knock on, a script for interactions with voters and a form to fill out responses, eliminating the need for paper get-out-the-vote walk sheets. On Election Day, they used Google Voice to run “voter fraud” hotlines, where supporters could call in to report any alleged chicanery by Democrats.

Brown’s reliance on Google advertising has been widely covered, but the grassroots organizing angle took place behind the scenes and was harder to spot. This aspect of his campaign can be just as much a model for future candidates, though, since it shows yet again how cheap or free online collaboration tools can help a shoestring operation punch far above its weight.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. links for 2010-02-04 | Co&hellip  |  February 4th, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    [...] e.politics: online advocacy tools & tactics ยป Scott Brown Used Google for Field Organizing, Not… (tags: google campaigns advertising recruiting volunteer politics election) [...]

  • 2. e.politics: online advoca&hellip  |  February 23rd, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    [...] developing an application with similar functions). Once they’d gathered the responses, organizers could enter them into a Google Docs spreadsheet, a free online tool that helped the Brown campaign assemble the same kind of granular data that [...]

  • 3. e.politics: online advoca&hellip  |  February 24th, 2010 at 12:23 am

    [...] kind of sophistication has been out of the reach of most state- or local-level campaigns (though Google Docs may be changing this situation), but they can still use online communications to mobilize supporters [...]

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