Shaun Dakin has the word on some brand-spanking-new political campaign technology being used by the Carly Fiorina campaign in California that uses SMS/text messaging to make it easy for volunteers to do phone banking from their own homes.
The process is a little confusing at first, but here’s a rundown: you text the Fiorina campaign to let them know you want to make phone bank calls. The Fiorina campaign automatically texts you back with the name and phone number of a targeted voter household. You make the call, note the voter’s response, then text the results back to the Fiorina campaign. Rinse and repeat, if you so desire.
Interesting technology, and it might actually help out in a campaign as big as the California Gubernatorial race. I doubt this kind of phone bank tech would help in smaller local elections, though. Shaun has some great observations of his own:
But, how many people are actually using it and understand it? I’d venture to guess that the Carly campaign will not see huge adoption rates for this virtual phone banking. If she wins the primary, the campaign may decide to deploy in the general election.
SMS reaches 100% of campaign volunteers with mobile phones. Unlike the techno “cool” iPhone or Android apps, SMS as a technology is available on every cell phone in the United States. That is pretty compelling when you are running a political campaign and don’t have months to get Apple to approve your cool iPhone app. Plus, there are simply not that many people that own iPhones. 100% penetration is much better than approximately 6%.
Phone banking is so much better than robocalls. Robocalls are essentially phone spam by candidates. They don’t work, but candidates do them anyway. Phone banking is different. Why? Phone banking involves real people talking to real people. Any technology that allows a candidate to increase the number of touch points between voters is of benefit to our democracy.