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Entries in Campaign (1)

Sunday
Jan172010

Campaign Technology – A Voter’s Perspective

The Massachusetts senatorial three way race offers an interesting look at how technology is being used to garner voter commitments between Republican Scott Brown, Democrat Martha Coakley, and Independent Joe Kennedy (not related to the Massachusetts’ Kennedy Dynasty). The special election selecting a replacement for the late Senator Kennedy offers an unfettered view of technological use, from a voter’s perspective.

The following table includes hyperlinks to the candidate’s social media sites harvested from each candidate’s main web page.



Scott Brown



Martha Coakley



Joe Kennedy































-



The independent Joseph L. Kennedy has largely limited his campaign to debate appearances. From a technology standpoint, Candidate Kennedy’s technology use is all very basic, somewhat surprising from someone who is a Vice President - Architecture & User Experience for a major Boston-Based Financial services firm. Mr. Kennedy’s materials do not have the appearance of being professionally produced.

Candidate Coakley’s website was developed by Liberty Concepts, with Candidate Brown’s put together by the Prosper Group. These are obviously specialist groups and both sites look very well designed.

Telephony is a major weapon in the Brown and Coakley camps.

Massachusetts voters have received phone calls from Presidents Obama and Clinton, American Idol contestant and Scott Brown daughter Ayla Brown, and Red Sox hurler Curt Schilling.

Brown and Coakley’s websites also encourage individuals to make telephone calls from their homes. This has created an annoying number of calls to individual homes (up to six a day.) Scott Brown is using technology from FLS Connect. This technology opened the campaign to callers from outside Massachusetts, dramatically increasing the number of available callers against an unwavering (in size) voter population. Better integrating these technologies would allow lesser annoyance to voters.

Social media is playing a major role. President Obama is issuing tweets in support, and sending You Tube videos.

While each candidate gives the impression of being active with social media, each is using to varying degrees.

Brown is issuing Tweets, including some rapidly corrected “Apparently, you are having a rally tomorrow and I’m invited: http://bit.ly/5gfbXl ” became “You are having a rally tomorrow and I’m invited: http://bit.ly/5gfbXl” an hour later. Facebook and YouTube were updated regularly, while flickr became stagnant since December 21. TXT messages were used to update followers on campaign activities.

To her credit, Coakley kept all her social media updated and active. Her tweets were generally thank yous…and appreciation of people waiting for her scheduled arrivals.

Kennedy sent a series of Tweets asking for information to be sent on to the media and updating campaign issues on the fly, “Joe Kennedy For Senate Campaign Promise: I will erase the “DO NOT CALL LIST” political exemption so you will not have to tollerate calls from Political Campaigns.” His last YouTube update was November 17.

The search engine optimization (SEO) race was won handily by Scott Brown’s campaign. Martha Coakley’s campaign was easier to find, especially after the DNC started to help. This author had to search to find Mr. Kennedy’s web site (using Google).



What are the lessons for the candidates?


  • All the web sites identify issues easily. This is a help for voters doing research

  • Search Engine Optimization is understood, and you need to use it.

  • Social Media can be used to your advantage. COORDINATE/REVIEW/SPELLCHECK your tweets as you would other messages. If you are not going to stay up on a given media, don’t include it as part of your strategy.

  • Try not to annoy voters with too much use of a media…repeated home telephone calls on the same topic are not endearing.

Good luck!