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United States Wireless Networking Politics

Slow Start For Mobile In 2012 Presidential Campaign 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the vote-now-for-five-electoralbucks dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Social networks played an important role in the last U.S. presidential election, but the explosive growth in smartphone usage and the introduction of tablets since 2008 could make or break the candidates for president in 2012. As the Republican primaries heat up, the major contenders show on their official websites a strong recognition of social networking and connecting in digital ways via desktop computers. But the GOP and President Obama's campaigns are not yet making many mobile-specific connections to supporters via smartphones or tablets, analysts noted. Some campaigns have special links on their websites for getting updates via SMS to a phone, but they don't appear to have candidate-specific downloadable mobile apps on Apple's App Store or the Android Market so far."
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Slow Start For Mobile In 2012 Presidential Campaign

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  • by wanderfowl (2534492) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:34PM (#38566674)
    I can't think of anything I'd want _less_ than a candidate for public office sending me campaign-related text messages. Does anybody outside of the campaigns themselves actually want this, or is this a social marketing consultant's wet dream?
    • by vlm (69642)

      I can't think of anything I'd want _less_ than a candidate for public office sending me campaign-related text messages

      How bout campaign related voice phone calls? Those are pretty annoying, although at least they're cheaper than a SMS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, except hot candidates. I wouldn't mind being the meat in a Bachmann-Palin sandwich.
      • by vlm (69642) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:39PM (#38566714)

        Ah, you do know Palin shoots her own meat, with a rifle from a helicopter, right? I'm detecting a 5.56mm hole in your otherwise righteous plan.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I wouldn't mind being the meat in a Bachmann-Palin sandwich.

        I think Bachmann would be too busy picking Palin's carpet fibers out of her teeth, if you catch my drift.

      • Really? I would...

        The whole "being a fucking bigot" thing is a huge turnoff for me...

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          Really? I would...

          The whole "being a fucking bigot" thing is a huge turnoff for me...

          So fuck 'em in a way as to inspire them to drop an angry deuce.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          The whole "being a fucking bigot" thing is a huge turnoff for me...

          Really? While I don't agree with a lot either of those ladies do or say...I've not heard them say anything bigoted?

    • by wzzzzrd (886091)
      I'm curious of this too. Who in the world is actually interested in candidates, politicians, presidents or government's texts, tweets and facebook blobs? Except journalists that then write about and then say "look, he/ she is in mobile/ social/ internet", but still nobody gives a rat's ass?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:37PM (#38566702)

    When the world moved to the web, politicians were printing paper flyers.

    When the world moved to social networking, the politicians put up oldschool web pages.

    As the world moves to mobile computing, the politicians learn about social networking sites.

    They are always a step behind, because they react to what their analysts are reporting, and being reactive means you are never up with the times.

    Our web site has seen an absolute explosion in mobile platform use over the last 24 months. No surprise our elected representatives don't get it yet.

    • Herman Cain offered an app for both the iphone and android.

      https://market.android.com/details?id=mobi.whoop.agent.hc2012&hl=en

  • The USA (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:37PM (#38566704)

    The country that sells politicians the same way it does sanitary towels. Somehow it seems strangely appropriate.

    • Re:The USA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plover (150551) * on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:44PM (#38566756) Homepage Journal

      The country that sells politicians the same way it does sanitary towels. Somehow it seems strangely appropriate.

      Oh, that we could discard them as easily as well.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Both require bloodshed.

      • The country that sells politicians the same way it does sanitary towels. Somehow it seems strangely appropriate.

        Oh, that we could discard them as easily as well.

        ...only to replace them with even worst, more brain-dead people?

        • by plover (150551) *

          The country that sells politicians the same way it does sanitary towels. Somehow it seems strangely appropriate.

          Oh, that we could discard them as easily as well.

          ...only to replace them with even worst, more brain-dead people?

          I'm an optimist, and I (naively) think that most candidates get elected for the first time bringing genuine hope and optimism to their office. I don't think anyone goes to Washington the first time in order to be corrupted. But once they arrive they get corrupted by lobbyists and campaign donors, and subsequent elections replace their ideals with election machinations and partisan politics. My thought is that if you got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent the people of your district, rather than a g

  • by black3d (1648913) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:39PM (#38566712)

    Is there really a demand for "candidate-specific downloadable mobile apps"? I can't think of anything more horrific spamming up the App Store.

    • by plover (150551) *

      Hey, maybe this is where Apple's censorship and keeping the walled garden safe from intrusion might really pay off. "Sorry, Mr. Obama, but your message is too political for the App Store. Lose the editorial cartoons lampooning the Republican Party and we'll give it another consideration."

      • That's a good point. The centralized and sometimes seemingly arbitrary approval process leaves Apple open to charges of political meddling regardless of what they do. A bit of free publicity could be had as simply as submitting a "candidate specific" app that violates some Apple terms and then run to the press complaining about corporate interference.

        I'm happy enough with my Rick Perry ring tone (pew pew! I'm a straight shooter... pew pew! I'm a straight shooter...), and don't see the need for a native app.

        • Reminds me of the "I can see Russia from my house!!" ring tone I had set for my mother (who lives in Fairbanks) back in 2008.

    • by black3d (1648913) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:43PM (#38566740)

      Or more specifically, if a voter is at the point where they're downloading an app to get the "latest news and updates" on a specific candidate (over and above the email and sms spam they can already get), then you don't need an app to win that individual's vote. For the fence-sitters who just want to get apps for "every candidate", again it's not going to help either. The only advantage here is to the marketing consultants.

    • I'm really not sure you need more.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Apps are high tech thingies you know. If a candidate had an app then you'd know he was the smart one to vote for unlike those troglodyte candidates who still use low tech email and the web.

      • by Bill Dog (726542)

        Anyone know if Obama still has his Blackberry? Clearly his having one last time and McCain being without meant that the smart vote was for Obama. But now those are so old tech, and anyone who's serious about running this year better have a rooted Ice Cream Sandwich "superphone"!

        • I would honestly be impressed if one of the candidates really did have a rooted ICS superphone...

          I wouldn't vote for them because of that, obviously, but it would blow my fucking mind. Most of them still think the internet is not a big truck...

    • by srmalloy (263556) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:03PM (#38566900) Homepage

      Is there really a demand for "candidate-specific downloadable mobile apps"? I can't think of anything more horrific spamming up the App Store.

      If there were a mobile app that was candidate-specific and allowed you to send a high-voltage charge to the rump of the candidate the app was dedicated to, it would sell like hotcakes.

      • by Mitreya (579078)
        If there were a mobile app that was candidate-specific and allowed you to send a high-voltage charge to the rump of the candidate the app was dedicated to, it would sell like hotcakes.

        You joke, but an app that allowed people to make (or withdraw) regular donations based on how their candidate was doing could be a good thing indeed. Of course that would also require limiting donations from any single source to some small amount.

        • Even a virtual currency would be a better gauge then the current retarded "poll" method. Thanks to Frank Luntz (and people like him) [youtube.com], you can't really trust any fucking poll out there. Something that gives everyone, say, $100 virtual dollars to distribute among the various candidates throughout the entire campaign period would be a good tool to see who truly has the support of...well, anyone in the 'has a smartphone' demographic, anyway.

          Although honestly, it really doesn't seem like ours is a demographic

        • Elections aren't decided by those devoted to their cause. Obama didn't win because he had a lot of loyal followers. Obama won because he managed to convince a bunch of people without loyalty to any political party. McCain lost because he was unable to convince them to join his cause, not because there was a shortage of die-hard republicans, there were about the same amount of die-hard republicans and democrats (and the same amount of die-hard Libertarians/Greens/Constitution/etc. voters).

          The people who
    • by rednip (186217)

      Did you look? It took me 10 seconds to find a 'Obama 2012' app in the itunes store. I can't find it now, but there was even a canvasing app that showed up right before the 2010 elections. If more people had known about it, I think it would have made the difference.

      I also get texts fairly often from our President's campaign team. Not too many, but I'd say that they had always tried to keep me engaged, more lately though. Overall I've given less than the amount it cost me to buy a round at a bar for a half

  • by bfandreas (603438) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:41PM (#38566724)
    While I can see how the convenience of these devices speed up spreading "ooops" moments I can't really see how this will actually help candidates. Also never have there been so many cameras in the audience. What positive power is there to leverage when it comes to tablets and smart phones? I honestly can't even come up with a very convoluted answer to that one. This is a most vapid submission.
    In the current climate where it seems to be the best strategy to damage contestor instead of even offereing half-arsed simple solutions to complex problems those devices make a good attack vector for smear campaigns.
    I could imagine an app that makes you guess the definition of santorum. Here's a hint: it ain't pretty.
    Will it help the nation? Propably no.

    The real tragedy here is that a truly suitable candidate will be put off by what's currently going on.
    • What positive power is there to leverage when it comes to tablets and smart phones? I honestly can't even come up with a very convoluted answer to that one.

      House by house, categorization using GPS.

      The reverse of this is grouping issues by area and inform campaigners of the biggest issues nearby, potentially street by street. Direct targeted messages to individual streets/houses.

      This is a most vapid submission.

      Of course.

      • by bfandreas (603438)
        The problem is that even tho the primaries are fought state by state, truly local issues are only tangentially touched.
        While I agree that geospatially enhancing polls are a very good thing(and I'd expect rather surprising results) none of the candidates run on local platforms. Even if most of them seem to change their song&dance according to local customs.
        • While I agree that geospatially enhancing polls are a very good thing(and I'd expect rather surprising results) none of the candidates run on local platforms. Even if most of them seem to change their song&dance according to local customs.

          E.g. Have a bunch of people twatting about the need to preserve Pedobears, that proud American icon, from extinction.
          Have the "Save the Pedobear" campaign trending prior to "the big speech" and wait for the politicians to adjust their "song&dance" accordingly.
          Hijinks ensue. [wonkette.com]

  • by Tr3vin (1220548) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:44PM (#38566754)
    Are full "apps" really required? With constant news coverage, social networking accounts, mailing lists, and websites, why do I need another direct feed from campaigns? Something like twitter is much more useful. I am more likely to see their messages via my twitter stream than via a custom app that either prompts me with annoying messages or that I have to remember to check. The only people I see using the apps are people that have already decided who they are voting for and the mobile app might as well be a "donate now" button. I fail to see how a mobile app is going to do any good at promoting a campaign and actually gaining votes.
    • by vlm (69642)

      The only people I see using the apps are people that have already decided who they are voting for and the mobile app might as well be a "donate now" button.

      Oh I've got an idea I'm publishing right now on /. so its public knowledge (although being incredibly obvious, its probably a patented business method already)

      My idea is make yet another mindless yet addictive mobile app game, and the in-app purchase store not only lets you skip a level or change your characters clothes, but includes a mandatory $1 (or matching funds or 50:50 of profit or whatever) donation to the crook ... err ... politician ... of your choice.

      So you play mobile device strip poker and to c

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Thank you for invalidating the next "patented business method" by posting it and making it patently (pun intended) obvious even to a patent examiner that this would be obvious.

        It's a public service.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Maybe what we need is a way for these mobile phone users to be able to receive email and twitter on their phones, or possibly even be able to browse the web? If only phones could be that smart some day, then we wouldn't have these uninformed citizens voting for their favorite Angry Bird.

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        Screw smartphones, we are on the verge of super phones, then shortly there after super phones II championship edition

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Yup. Suggesting that fans need a mobile app seems like suggesting that they also need an IE-optimized version of their website for users running in 1024x768 resolution (a large segment of the web to be sure). The whole point of web standards is so that you can put up a single website and anybody can read it in a reasonable presentation. Why is it necessary to have an app corresponding to every website out there?

      Now, for sites that are very complex/interactive I can see where an application could fit in.

      In

  • Anyone wanna take odds that they fail on the "convert" vs " preach to the faithful" problem with their attempt at technological relevancy?

    If there's one thing the R.P. guys (such as myself) are good at, its convincing other R.P. fans that it would be a great idea to vote for him, you know, like we were planning to do all along anyway. Surrounded by a bunch of "He sucks because he's only about a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10" ignoring the other candidates are more like a 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 to 10.

    Now a REAL on

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:15PM (#38569254)
      Yep, I mean, honestly is someone from the GOP /really/ going to install the Obama 2012 "app"? Or is someone who is a die-hard Obama fan going to install the Gingrich 2012 "app"? I don't understand why this would benefit candidates. After all, I get the messages of the ones I want to via social networking, I don't need an app on my phone for that. What they need to do is cater to the masses via TV and shills... I mean the completely unbiased cable news networks. No one but the most die-hard fans will install an "app" for a candidate. Its easier just to ask them for money and bombard the TV with ads.
  • Some 3rd parties are making mobile straw polls to gauge mobile voter sentiment. One example: http://votenow12.com/ [votenow12.com]

    • Which is completely useless.

      I'm sorry, but speaking as a Libertarian/Supporter of Ron Paul in 2012 these "straw polls" are nothing more than political BS. They show *insert candidate here* in first place because they are rigged towards supporters of that candidate because that candidate (and supporters) post that on their webpage/FB page/Twitter Feed with a note to download it and vote for *insert candidate here*. After a while the hope being that someone will look at it and think that, wow, *insert can
  • From TFA: "In early 2010, more than 20 mobile apps popped up for college basketball's March Madness tournament, 'so why not have similar apps to track campaigns?' asked Bill Dudley, group director of product management at Sybase365" The reason is that more people actually care about March Madness than care about the presidential election. I bet you can prove it too by viewership and attendance of games vs debates/rallies. Does this nugget of insight make me an analyst?
    • by gfxguy (98788)

      Hmmm... I've often bemoaned the idea that more people cared about sports or who wins American Idol than who is their representative (or even their president), but I also think there's just more excitement around those events and they are short lived - the last month of American Idol and March Madness compared to what seems like two years of presidential campaigns.

      Regardless, the difference between March madness and a presidential campaign is what? I don't know... 32 teams to begin with? Versus primarily 2

  • I find i hard to believe that people who vote are swayed (especially in a 2 candidate race, guess primaries are different) by a Facebook page or app.

    I guess you could have an donation method embedded in it for the person who would download the app.

    I still think most people who are undecided make up their mind based on who sounds the best to them on TV.

    • by gfxguy (98788)

      I think you're right, but I also think candidates should have good mobile versions of their web pages, including that "donate" link.

      Most people aren't going to be swayed by anything... they just vote along party lines; it's those swing voters, and if you can sway even a few of them by "impressing" them with some mobile app (regardless how stupid that is), then you must play the game, I suppose.

  • by ZankerH (1401751) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:22PM (#38567004)
    Just about every modern smartphone/tablet is perfectly capable of displaying normal (desktop) websites. Sounds like a waste of effort and campaign money to me.
  • Or maybe their market research consultants correctly told them that few people would download and install candidate-specific mobile apps.

  • The point of having an app like this, is not so much direct persuasion to vote for a candidate, it's to help motivate and organize committed supporters.

    American elections are, in large part, decided not by persuading independents to vote for one candidate or the other, it's by which party can get its ideologically-aligned supporters to the polls.

    Committed supporters can be very useful in that - you feed them what are in effect talking points to persuade their less committed friends to come and vote; it makes organizing volunteers to, say, drive likely voters to the polls easier, and so on and so forth. That's where a mobile app might be useful.

  • I think the emphasis on social networks and technology was just a case of the image of technology being used to encourage a grassroots campaign, in what was and will remain, an astroturf campaign. Obama still was funded (read; bought) by the usual suspects, and just like the who lyric in one of their songs, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" i think that all this talk of social networking is making people think they're doing something when they really aren't.

    Fortunately here in australia, we have com

    • Compulsory voting is a bad idea. If someone doesn't know the issues why should they have as much say as someone who has thoroughly researched the campaign? By at least allowing people not to vote, you can skip the people who know nothing about politics so they aren't making decisions that affect everyone. Of course they should still have the opportunity to chose to vote, but if they don't know the issues, its best for them not to vote, otherwise you end up voting on whichever candidate looks the best or has
      • by sd4f (1891894)
        I really can't say that is a significant problem here in australia. Yes you still get apathetic people, but i think it's a glib statement to say that people in general will be that simple, to just pick whoever they think looks the best, we had this bald, short ugly old fart for something like 11 years straight because his party won 4 consecutive elections. I personally didn't like him, but i think that's a different issue, arguably it was also a time of reasonably good stability for australia so that's why

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