Could the Social Network Create An Obama Win?
by Josh Bernoff
Months ago, I signed up for my.barackobama.com just to check it out. I've been getting emails from the candidate's people regularly, including notices about his appearances in Massachusetts, where I live. Yesterday I got one that started like this:
Yesterday, supporters all across the country responded to Barack's request by making more than 300,000 calls into crucial March 4th primary states.
We reached our goal of one million calls much faster than expected, so we're setting a new goal: 1,500,000 calls to voters by Tuesday.
Use our online phonebanking tool and start making calls right now:
There's no easier or more effective way to keep building momentum for this campaign than making calls to likely supporters.
And there's no more important time to get involved than right now.
The primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont this Tuesday, March 4th, could be decisive for this campaign. Reach out to voters in these states, listen to what's important to them, and share your reasons for supporting Barack.
The online phonebanking tool is easy and fun to use. Here's how it works:
- Choose a state you'd like to call.
- Log into My.BarackObama.com and get a list of 20 names that only you will receive. (If you don't have a My.BarackObama account, creating one is fast and easy.)
- Click on a name and you'll be led through a simple script, question by question.
- Start making calls.
There's lots of talk in politics about "energizing the base." my.barackobama.com is the base for Barack Obama. I still feel there's a flaw in this social network of Obama supporters -- I've seen no evidence that Obama is listening to anything they say. But terms of taking a base of supporters and turning them into a force to accomplish your goals, this may be the most powerful example there is.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is zooming all over Ohio and Texas, shouting herself hoarse. I know Obama is doing the same, and I know Clinton's people are engaged in plenty of get out the vote activity. But Obama has this asset: thousands and thousands (millions?) of volunteers he's never met, using phone banks he set up.
Some of those phone calls will be "off message" -- but many will also be passionate personal word of mouth. Could this make the difference?
And the question I really want to know. If Obama wins in November (or even if somebody else does), how could this technique be used to improve the work of government?
P.S. This post is about Obama's and Clinton's techniques, not their positions. Please think a moment before trying to post policy-based comments -- this is not the place to try to win people over to your candidate.