On Sunday, a Politico headline said that “smart-phone ads not yet political“; today, the lament was that campaigns aren’t investing in social media. This is 2010. We’ve had four years of social networking plus the legendary 2008 Obama Campaign under our belts to prove the value of online organizing. So what gives?
The answer, as usual, lies beyond the headlines – and the fact that politics goes beyond the campaign trail.
For instance, last week three major think tanks launched iPhone apps. This is smart for them because their target market is nation-wide – so they have plenty of people to pull from. If only 29% of mobile phone users use applications, that bodes well for a research-based think tank; it bodes poorly for an organization trying to pull a broad audience to the polls on election day.
Remember that the campaigns of this year are plural. The Republican presidential primary campaigns, as well as the Obama 12 effort, will doubtless do their homework and aggregate the best ideas from the 2010 winners (and maybe even some of the losers) and spend a good bit of time in 2011. So mobile apps, text messaging, location-based networks, and other new gadgets are still on track to make a big impact in 2012.