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Organizing Online? Think like a rock band.

By None:

Last month, the crew over at Frogloop had this sage advice:

It would be so convenient if launching a viral message campaign, political or otherwise, on a social networking platform were as easy as just adding water. But, the truth is that as with any grassroots campaign, it takes persistence, lots of online and offline effort, and the right tools and the right message in the hands of the right people at the right time. Oh, and a little luck, too. Basically, you need to be scrappy, flexible, and think like a rock band.

And it would seem that Peter Franchot, a statewide candidate for Maryland comptroller, did just that. He hired rocker Jacob Colker to do his online organizing. From the Chicago Tribune:

Go to MySpace.com and Facebook.com, the hugely popular social-networking sites, and seek out college students in the region whose profiles showed both a political science major and a liberal viewpoint.

With that, the campaign of Peter Franchot for comptroller had exploited the latest twist in political networking, using the click of the mouse over the knock on the door. By pushing the two Web sites most popular with young voters, the campaign recruited 80 percent of its volunteers. Within four weeks, that youthful army made 15,000 phone calls, dropped 50,000 pieces of campaign literature and Franchot won the September primary.

"Right now, that's the best way to reach youth," said Colker, who learned the art of drawing crowds while promoting his rock band Medici in his native Chicago.

The rest of the article examines broader trends. We'll just share this one tidbit.

Advocates see some of the same potential in viral marketing efforts in which campaigns try to persuade supporters to e-mail messages or videos to friends and acquaintances. Voters are far more likely to open and read an e-mail from someone they know.

"If I tell someone on my list of 100,000 to do something, that's one thing. But if they're hearing it from their sister or mother or neighbor, it's much more effective," said John Hlinko. ...

The challenge is to create messages engaging enough that recipients want to send them on to acquaintances. Many campaigns are still grappling with the concept, often falling back on language plucked directly from traditional direct mail appeals, failing to take full potential of the opportunities offered by e-mail...

That's the challenge. Think like a rock band.