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New Tech: The Robo-Dialer Town Hall

In Colorado, GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman is experimenting with a new technology. What is it? Well, basically a town-hall meeting done over the phone. They call thousands of people with a robo-dialer, and if a human picks up, they're invited to join the live town hall meeting.

From Colorado Pols:

The way it works is with a robo-dialer on crack and a computer screen. From one telephone, Holtzman talks to "guests" as the program dials 600 numbers a second. If the dialer gets an answering machine, it goes to a pre-recorded message in which Holtzman says that he was calling to invite you into a "Town Hall Meeting." If you pick up the phone, you are asked to dial '1' to enter into the "town hall" forum. At that point, you can just sit and isten to the Q&A underway, or if you choose, you can ask a question of Holtzman yourself. ...

A computer screen monitors who is on the line -- as many as 50,000 people at one time could take part -- and from the screen you can see who is on the line, how long they stay, and if they want to ask a question. By pressing '#' the caller is placed in a queue to ask a question or order something from the deli counter. All of this is done in real-time, and the candidate only needs to talk on a regular telephone. The callers have no idea who else in actually on the line, until they hear the questions.

Hat tip to Walter in Denver for sharing this with us.