SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Obama urging voters by text

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2008

I’m not going to get into the politics of the US election – I’ll leave that to other more informed blogs (and I’m sure some less informed – welcome to the internet!).

What did catch my eye is this article about how Obama has been texting voters to get them to actually go out and vote.

The pieces starts off by talking about the negative campaign tactics of ‘robo-calling’ (or automated calls), being used in particualr by McCain, to smear the opponent. It appears that there is a lot of pressure on the candidates to stop this tactic as most people don’t like them.

However, Obama’s campaign is using “the cheapest effective way of contacting voters via the phone: text messaging.” He is using these mainly to get people out to vote. And it seems to be working.

“On the surface, these texts don’t seem that different from robo-calls—they’re both automated messages and both easy to ignore. But for reasons that aren’t completely understood, text messaging is different: We pay attention to short messages that pop up on our phones.”

It is also very cost-effective. Door-to-door canvassing has been measured to cost $29 for each new voter – not too bad considering the massive amounts of money that the candidates generate through their fundraising efforts. However, the text messages have been measured to only cost $1.50 per new voter.

It seems that using text messages is one of the tactics that is swinging things Obama’s way:

“At the moment, though, we’re in thrall to our cell phones—and when Obama texts you next Tuesday, you’ll have a hard time saying no.”

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