Getting out the vote – there’s an app for that

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Oct 31, 2010

Last week I had a conversation with the Toronto Star about a Facebook app being used by California Democrats to mobilize supporters in the run-up to this week’s mid-term elections. The app, called Friend Out the Vote, is designed to sift through a user’s friends list, match it with friends’ party registrations and affiliations and voting histories, and develop a list of people who vote Democrat but don’t vote regularly. I talked about why Facebook apps alone are not enough to build credibility with today’s tech-savvy users, especially when the apps are the online equivalent of direct mail. Politicians need to engage in genuine conversation, build relationships and use the Web as a platform to solicit public input into policymaking. The full article can be found here.

The application could be just as easily used here in Canada and is something political parties should think about to encourage voters, particularly young voters who often do not turn up at the polls, said Anthony D. Williams, co-author with Don Tapscott of the books Wikinomics andMacroWikinomics, in an interview with the Star.

The effectiveness of social media as a campaign tool has already been proven in the last U.S. presidential election where Barack Obama’s election was credited to his campaign’s use of social media.

And more and more politicians are beginning to use it. “I think for the Democratic Party to try to enlist voters and get them organized to get out to the polls it makes sense to use Facebook,” said Williams.

“But politicians have to be savvy about using Facebook, as well. It’s not an application they just need to get on and use. They have to rethink the whole way political campaigning is orchestrated and carried out.

“If I were the New Democratic Party or the Liberal Party, I would be thinking very carefully about the social-media strategy and the way they can connect better with young Canadians. Their best electoral hope is in connecting with that generation.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment