If South Korean elections can be swung by smart mobs, what’s that say about US politics? Mind you, the voter turnout was a mere 70%, which is the lowest ever for a South Korean presidental election. Conventional wisdom says that Roh Moo-hyun benefited from text messaging because it helped him get out the vote, but the low turnout seems to contraindicate that. Possibly the turnout would have been slimmer if not for the smart mobs? Hard to say.
Anyhow, here’s the prescription for whichever US party wants to use cell phones effectively. First, don’t telemarket. That’s intrusive. You want to use the communication channels in non-intrusive ways. Second, collect contact info. When you run a get out the vote rally, find out if your voters like SMS, AIM, or email for mobile communication, and get the info you need to send messages via the preferred method. Third, don’t overuse it. Election day, you betcha, send a message asking if they’ve voted yet (and when they reply, mark down the answer; it’s all automatable). Do it again before the polls close, for those who didn’t say “yeah, I voted.” Maybe a few messages here and there in the week before to keep buzz going.
Use messaging more heavily for the activists. Definitely use it on election day. If your poll monitors don’t have some way to take a picture and transmit it back to HQ instantly, you’re missing a big bet — you want to be able to get the word out as quickly as possible if something happens.
Betcha none of this happens by 2004.
Oliver Willis (blogging maniac) is already pushing the SMS thang, in his unofficial John Edwards weblog. Mind you, it’s one