Here at Tweetyhall we were lucky enough to be able to sit in contrasting seminars led by new media stars from both the Republican and Democratic Party at this years Personal Democracy Forum. We were keen to explore the comparisons not only between the two major US parties but how they sized up when it came to connecting people online.
Both presentations looked at new ways of talking to voters, with an emphasis on inspiring communities to act, a result of the direct impacy of offline organising by the Obama campaign in 2008 no doubt. For instance, the Republican Party asked supporters to pledge that when the polls opened they would not only vote for their candidate, but also would knock on doors, pick up the phone and go along to polling station with other like minded voters.
A Paperless campaign
Rick Perry’s Online Director Ryan Gravatt talked about his ‘paperless campaign,’ with not one leaflet nor one yard sign in sight during his campaign. Willington believed they were able to win this way through a combination of a clear message and an effective use of both the web and text messaging. Social network theme tools, such as ‘Money bombs‘ where a candidate calls for donations on a particular day or time have also become common online way to use the networked nature of the web to help campaigns.
MoveOn before, during and after Obama 2008
By now we’ve all heard how the Obama campaign inspired a new way to use the web to get communities active in campaigning both on and offline. Here we see a grassroots video from progressive campaign MoveOn from back in 2007, and how they looked forward to using their collective efforts in the 2008 elections…
The Democrat team behind the progressive campaign site explained how they used the web as a tool to organise Democrat support.
“MoveOn has been a pioneer in offline to online organizing- using email and the web to help folks make an impact on their neighbourhoods.”
It certainly seems as though these new ways of innovating within campaigns are paying off and proving that it is worthwhile to try something a little different to reach out to those who you represent.
Where is there best practice in using these tools at a local level here in the UK? How do you think our local politicians could better use these tools for their campaigns at both at election time and the period in between? Let us know!