Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Republican Version of the Targeted Voter Application

After Billy’s review of the Obama Biden Facebook app I was eager to try the Republican version. Today I was sent the offer from Zac Moffat, Digital Director for the Romney for President, to broadcast my support for the Romney Ryan ticket with the Commit to Mitt app for Facebook.
My Commit to Mitt post on Facebook
First, there was no offer of a bumper sticker; just an official looking email requesting me to “rally your social network to help clinch the election.” Once loaded, the app provides the names of my Facebook friends that they wish me to rally.

This is where it became fascinating to me. Like Billy, I was interested in the targeting process and was very surprised to find only one person was worthy of targeting among my Facebook friends. Despite dozens of New York Republicans included among my friends, only a fellow-MPA student from a western state was identified by the app.

The next step in the Commit to Mitt process is to post on Facebook my commitment to the Romney Ryan team. The app provides a prepared design that posts to my wall and is added to my timeline on Facebook. The app also provided a place to add my own comment to the post. As you can see, I used the comment section to let my Facebook friends know that it was only a test.

The news coverage may be correct that the Commit to Mitt app works in a similar way to the Obama Biden app in targeting, but the Republican version seems deficient compared to Billy’s description of the Obama campaigns’ app. 
  1. There was no incentive to “rally” my Facebook friends. No bumper sticker or graphically appealing email. A simple email from the campaign “empowering” me to rally the voters during the last week. If supporters like me were really “the most crucial and powerful resource”, as they indicate in the email, then they might have spared the time to include a graphic in the email. Where was the incentive to engage and to use my social media clout for their purpose?
  2. Offer to download the Commit to Mitt app
  3. The Commit to Mitt app provides a place for an individual comment. To me, this just seemed dangerous.  I generally complain that Republicans tend to be too focused on controlling the message. However in this instance, and considering the repeated co-opting of hashtags during this election, I would have thought the Romney-Ryan social media campaign would have strictly controlled the posts to Facebook. The comment section provides an opportunity for enterprising Obama supporters to use the app to reach out to Republican targets with their own message.
I may be unnecessarily harsh on my party, but the Republican version of the targeting app is just lacking. Like Billy, I am anxious to compare the resulting outcomes from these two efforts. I too am betting on the Obama campaign’s efforts to be more successful. It seems that the Republicans still have a lot to learn.

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