August 15th, 2013
Slate has a good article this morning about Bill de Blasio, who might just be New York City’s next mayor. The critical part, for our purposes:
“Will you stay in touch with us?” Bill de Blasio asks this of each potential voter as he stands outside of Trader Joe’s on 21st Street in Manhattan.
In the age of internet politics, that’s the critical question every candidate — every cause — needs to ask. Email and social media excel at maintaining connections with many people over a long period of time, but to stay connected, you have to get connected. Smart campaigns work ruthlessly to turn every casual voter contact into a long-term relationship, whether the potential voter “meets” the candidate via the campaign website, social media or in person — witness the email signup features included in almost every voter-canvassing mobile app.
Sounds simple, eh? But getting the candidate and staff to actually do it in practice is a challenge, considering all the distractions on the campaign trail. The individual steps are simple — making it easy for people to find the website signup form and social media buttons, or optimizing landing pages for Google Ads, or having staff carry tablets to sign people up on-the-spot as they meet the candidate. But two centuries ago, Von Clausewitz wrote, “Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.” Sounds like politics to me.