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Some things in politics never seem to change. It’s still about messaging and mobilizing voters. Particularly when talking about American campaigns, what really drives all is money. Yet, where politicians get their money from and where they spend it, is rapidly
Collecting money is increasingly done using innovative technologies. From email campaigns to texting, and from Facebook to Pinterest, modern day campaigns are very much run like tech start-ups by bright, skilled minds who are able to connect to more voters 24/7. And, of course, ask them for some cash. That said, all these digital operations may cost a lot, but most is still spend not on Tweets, or apps but on TV advertising.
Looking ahead this might well change. Tech-savvy campaign staffers are taking cues from game developers and app builders and are harnessing the affordances of networked technologies. Two overlapping trends are likely to become more prominent in the months and years ahead.
First, with all things digital, campaigns are more data-driven than ever before. It’s all about metrics, metrics, metrics. Combining sophisticated and surprisingly detailed user profiles with online technologies and “old” tech as direct mailing, robocalls and TV ads,
strategists can now truly microtarget voters. Have you donated before, and are you a woman caring about social issues? Then you get a different ad, email and folder then, let’s say, your more conservative brother who lives in a different state.
Second, as audiences go mobile, so do political campaigns. Location based technologies can further aid in delivering pinpointed messages as well as collecting money and date on the go. But equally important, mobile tools allow for further grassroots organizing: connecting (potential) voters online as well as offline. Because in the end, all politics is local, and all politics is personal.