Introducing the iCampaign
It's official — politics have invaded the app store.
With the launch of the "Democrats" iPhone and iPad apps yesterday, both political parties have made it clear they hope to turn each and every Apple user into a political operative by November.
According to the DNC website, the new Democrats app allows users to find events, view photos and videos, call Congress, receive news and talking points, donate (naturally), and receive "Airmail" alerts.
These AirMail messages are the secret weapon, allowing the Democratic message machine to tell young Apple fanatics exactly what they should do to get Democrats elected. It's almost certainly a strategy both Democrats and Republicans are banking on to get those young, hip iPhone and iPad owners on the streets to get out the vote in November.
While I have my doubts that they'll see much success this year, there's plenty of precedent for mobile applications to organize political foot soldiers. NationalField is the most prominent example of using new mobile and social technology to organize, although it was almost invisible from the public when it was introduced in the Obama campaign during the 2008 presidential election. The software uses an advanced Web-based interface to organize a campaign hierarchy and evaluate success — and you can do it all on the go from a mobile device.
With official apps coming from both sides and advanced campaign tools like NationalField out in the wild, we're witnessing the first signs of the iCampaign.
Mobile and social technology will play an increasingly powerful role in campaign politics, not just directing campaign staffers and canvassers, but telling each and every mobile user how they can get out and get active in politics.
Is it a good thing? Probably. The easier it is to reach your politicians and the easier it is to get involved, the more people we have participating in our democracy. I say the more, the merrier.