One of my favorite past times is talking with friends and former colleagues who are gearing up for 2012. Political operatives in the truest sense, these people LIVE for the next campaign, local, statewide or national, and are busy establishing their candidate’s relevancy. They talk at dizzying speeds about social media tactics, engaging online activists, funding online ads vs. traditional (TV) ads, TV vs. YouTube, grassroots advocacy, meaningful volunteer engagement, use of mobile to fundraise and mobilize supporters, email lists. While I listen with interest, what I’m eager to see is how campaigns will creatively use web 2.0 to facilitate more direct conversations between voters and presidential hopefuls. It’s easy to get caught up in tactics, but guiding principles like: having authentic conversations with as many people as possible, can provide necessary focus in a fast-pace campaign environment. Less focus on pre-screened town hall forums, filtered Q&A at universities, and televised debates with video recorded questions. I’m talking about taking out the middle man and more direct engagement. That’s what I’m eager to see.
That being said, surely mobile will be a central communication tool in the 2012 election; bringing information to people on the go so that they can quickly access it and act. Mobile to: mobilize supporters, facilitate giving, capture and share candid moments, follow campaign news, tap into the power of social networks. One 2010 senatorial candidate, Democrat Robin Carnahan, is already trying to stay ahead of the trend with mobile web applications for her campaign.
It seems that with each campaign cycle, the bar is reset for other industries and demonstrates new ways to reach the masses. I wonder how campaign operatives will use improved technology to better understand peoples’ online habits to tailor when they deliver messages as much as how.