2012 Digital Presidential Election Coverage

01/31/2013 - Technori: Harper Reed on Obama for America 01/28/2013 - Wired: Q&A: Dylan Richard, Director of Engineering, Obama for America 01/20/2013 - Obama Legacy Report 12/20/2012 - EngageDC: Inside The Cave 12/18/2012 - AdWeek: Here's One Advertiser Who Swears Mobile Ads Work: Obama 12/18/2012 - Huffington Post: What's Next for Obama For America's Data and Technology? 12/17/2012 - Technology Review: How President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters, Part 3 12/17/2012 - Read Write Web: How Obama Knew How You'd Vote, Even Before You Did 12/17/2012 - Technology Review: How President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters, Part 2 12/16/2012 - Technology Review: How President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters, Part 1 12/12/2012 - Kyle Rush: Optimization at the Obama campaign: a/b testing 12/10/2012 - Ad Age: Election Embeds: Facebook, Google Got Cozy With Campaigns 12/08/2012 - GigaOm: How Obama’s data scientists built a volunteer army on Facebook 12/07/2012 - NY Mag: Noble Nerds 12/07/2012 - WSJ: Obama’s Campaign Used Salesforce.com To Gauge Feelings of Core Voters 12/07/2012 - Commentary: Is The GOP Digital Team (Still) In Denial? 12/06/2012 - PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Ethan Roeder 12/06/2012 - PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Catherine Bracy 12/06/2012 - PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Teddy Goff 12/06/2012 - PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Betsy Hoover 12/05/2012 - Obama Digital Org 12/05/2012 - Triangulation: Harper Reed Interview 12/05/2012 - CNN: Gut Check – Moffatt and Bleeker Interview 12/05/2012 - National Journal: Obama, Romney Digital Advisers Talk Shop 12/05/2012 - The Hill: Romney's Digital Director Talks Lessons Learned 12/05/2012 - CNN: Early Vote Central To Digital Campaign 12/05/2012 - Business Insider: Michigan Supreme Court Judge Says Facebook Campaign Won Her Election 12/04/2012 - Ad Age: Michigan Supreme Court Campaign Credits Facebook Ads With Margin of Victory 12/04/2012 - New Media Rockstars: Obama's Social Media Strategist Talks To NMR About Being The Voice Of The President 12/03/2012 - Slate: "The Socially Awkward Do It Better" 12/03/2012 - TechPresident: How Analytics Made Obama's Campaign Communications More Efficient 12/03/2012 - The Atlantic: Data Vs Gurus: Democrats Say Metrics Are Eclipsing The Consultant Class 12/01/2012 - Commentary Magazine: The GOP's Broken Machine 11/30/2012 - Braceland: My Experience Leading the Obama Campaign’s Tech Field Office 11/30/2012 - The Atlantic: The Social-Network Effect That is Helping Legalize Gay Marriage 11/30/2012 - Tech President: Obama’s Targeted GOTV on Facebook Reached 5 Million Voters, Goff Says 11/29/2012 - ProPublica: Everything We Know (So Far) About Obama's Big Data Tactics 11/29/2012 - Bloomberg Businessweek: The Science Behind Those Obama Campaign E-Mails 11/27/2012 - Tech President: Alan Grayson Shares His Thanksgiving Wal-Mart Escapade on Facebook and YouTube 11/26/2012 - nettuts: Chatting with Obama For America’s Director of Frontend Development: Daniel Ryan

11/22/2012 - NJ.com: How I won an election by only using Facebook 11/21/2012 - POLITICO: Jim Messina at the Politico Playbook Breakfast 11/21/2012 - POLITICO: Jim Messina: What I learned in the election 11/20/2012 - Washington Post: Democrats Push to Redeploy Obama’s Voter Database 11/20/2012 - Time: Friended: How the Obama Campaign Connected with Young Voters 11/20/2012 - ArsTechnica: How Team Obama's Tech Efficiency Left Romney IT In Dust 11/19/2012 - Tech President: How Obama for America made its Facebook friends into effective advocates 11/19/2012 - The Daily Beast: The story behind the most viral photo ever 11/16/2012 - National Journal: How Obama’s Tech Team Helped Win the Election 11/16/2012 - The Atlantic: When the nerds go marching in 11/16/2012 - TPM: Facebook’s election 2012 roundup: big bird, ‘binders full of women’ won big 11/16/2012 - Technology Review: How Facebook Boosted Obama's Vote Tally 11/16/2012 - Gawker: How The Obama Campaign's Data-Miners Knew What You Watched On TV 11/15/2012 - MotherJones: Under the Hood of Team Obama's Tech Operation 11/15/2012 - TIME: Exclusive: Obama’s 2012 digital fundraising outperformed 2008 11/14/2012 - ARS Technica: Built to win: Deep inside Obama's campaign tech 11/14/2012 - Washington Post: Obama Campaign Took Unorthodox Approach To Ad Buying 11/13/2012 - Los Angeles Times: Obama Campaign's Investment In Data Crunching Paid Off 11/12/2012 - Gigaom: How Obama’s tech team helped deliver the 2012 election 11/11/2012 - Tech Crunch: Premature Facebook Election Hype: A Response to the Atlantic 11/09/2012 - All Facebook: Did Facebook engagement translate to wins in key congressional races 11/08/2012 - The Atlantic: Did Facebook give democrats the upper hand? 11/08/2012 - Politico: The Facebook bump 11/07/2012 - TIME: Inside the secret world of the data crunchers who helped Obama win 11/07/2012 - CNet: The post-election tech tally: winners and losers 11/07/2012 - FREEP: Voters document election on social media 11/07/2012 - TechPresident: For Romney's Digital Campaign, A Second-Place Finish 11/06/2012 - Slate: I Voted: Facebook Stories Shows Women Outvoting Men 2 to 1 11/06/2012 - WSJ: Election day plays out on Twitter and Facebook 11/06/2012 - Tech Crunch: Click Facebook’s “I’m Voting” button, research shows it boots turnout 11/06/2012 - POLITICO: Study: Facebook, Twitter Users Divulge Votes Online 11/06/2012 - Naked Security: US Election Voting Booth Hoax Spreads on Facebook 11/05/2012 - The Atlantic: Obama’s Facebook Fans Love Michelle; Romney’s Love Winning 11/05/2012 - CNN: Microtargeting: How Campaigns Know You Better Than You Know Yourself 11/05/2012 - CNN: Election Takes Over American Conversation on Facebook 11/05/2012 - CNET: Facebook Wants You – To Vote 11/03/2012 - Hemet Press-Enterprise: Will Facebook Factor in Tuesday’s City Council Election? 11/02/2012 - WSJ: How Facebook, Twitter Court Political Campaigns 11/02/2012 - Technology Review: How Facebook’s Plans Could Affect the Election 11/01/2012 - Boston.com: Some Facebook Users ‘Dislike’ Being Used in Online Advertising for Mitt Romney 10/31/2012 - Forbes: Why do Obama Supporters Appear in Facebook Ads as Romney Fans? 10/31/2012 - BuzzFeed: Facebook Lets People Talk Politics, But May Not Get Out the Vote 10/28/2012 - Tech Crunch: The Prop 37 Phenomenon on Facebook 10/27/2012 - Washington Post: ‘Binders Full of Women’ Romney quip goes viral 10/26/2012 - Mashable: Presidential Candidates Urge Voters to Get On Facebook 10/25/2012 - Mashable: Super PAC Wants to Put You in Its Facebook Ad 10/25/2012 - POLITICO: Presidential Election 2012: Can Romney Close the Digital Divide? 10/22/2012 - Tech President: Why Campaigns Are Happy Your Vote Isn’t as Private as Many Think It Is

10/22/2012 - SFGate: Social Media Battle: Obama Engages More Voters Despite Aggressive Romney Debate Strategy 10/22/2012 - POLITICO: Obama Campaign Now Targeting Specific Individuals 10/22/2012 - Tech Crunch: Romney’s New Facebook App Knows Which Friends Are Most Influential 10/19/2012 - Huffington Post: Politics in the Social Media Age: Insights from Joe Lockhart 10/17/2012 - Washington Post: Why Facebook Campaign Ads Are a Sucker’s Bet 10/17/2012 - Mashable: Second presidential debate: less Twitter, more Facebook 10/18/2012 - The Guardian: Koch-Based Activists Use Power Of Data In Bid To Oust Obama From White House 10/14/2012 - Forbes: Social Networking, Facebook and the Vote 10/13/2012 - USA Today: Political Spats on Facebook Spill Into Real Life 10/13/2012 - New York Times: Campaigns Mine Personal Lives to Get Out Vote 10/10/2012 - Mother Jones: Mitt Romney Probably Didn’t Hack Your Facebook Page 10/08/2012 - POLITICO: Obama Campaign Pushes Voter Registration on Facebook 10/08/2012 - Honolulu Civil Beat: Hawaii Campaigning in the 21st Century 10/07/2012 - New York Times: Campaigns Use Social Media to Lure in Younger Voters 10/04/2012 - Fox News: Social media weighs in on 2012 presidential debate 10/02/2012 - Mashable: Social is the Secret Weapon in Local Politics 10/02/2012 - Technology Review: The Real Debate Will Take Place on Facebook and Twitter 10/02/2012 - Mother Jones: Inside the Obama Campaign’s Hard Drive 10/02/2012 - MotherJones: Meet Obama's Digital Gurus 10/02/2012 - Slate: Advertising on Facebook: It’s Finally Good for Winning Votes 10/01/2012 - All Facebook: Paul Ryan Finds Winning Facebook Formula as Campaign Strategists Name Favorite Features 09/28/2012 - Mashable: Behind the Social Media Campaigns of Obama and Romney 09/27/2012 - Connecticut Senate: McMahon Campaign Facebook ‘Game’ Urges Murphy to Release Documents 09/24/2012 - Hartford Courant: Social Media: Candidates Nationwide for Various Political Posts are Using Social Media as a Campaign Tool 09/23/2012 - Arizona Daily Star: Candidates Cast Their Nets on Facebook, Twitter, but Woo Factor is Thought Slight 09/19/2012 - Forbes: Is Romney More Social Media Savvy Than Obama? 09/13/2012 - Wired: ‘Social Media’ Really Does Rock the Vote 09/12/2012 - SF Gate: Romney campaign: biggest user of Facebook’s mobile ad platform 09/12/2012 - Tech Crunch: Mitt Romney’s digital director Zac Moffatt: you can’t run a political campaign without digital 09/12/2012 - Tech Crunch: Important study: Facebook quadruples the power of campaign messages 09/11/2012 - Campaigns & Elections: A Social Media-Fueled Upset 09/11/2012 - PandoDaily: Rally.com’s Donations Data Shows Us America’s Stingiest States 09/11/2012 - All Facebook: How Facebook propelled U.S. Senate Candidate Ted Cruz to Primary Win 09/08/2012 - POLITICO: Tech Firms Snafus Snarl Conventions 09/07/2012 - All Facebook: Obama Supporters Flock to Facebook During Acceptance Speech 09/07/2012 - PBS MediaShift: Mediatwits #55: Twitter, Facebook Rule DNC; Amazon’s Big Week 09/07/2012 - PandoDaily: The Biggest Tech Themes of the Democratic National Convention 09/07/2012 - PandoDaily: Startups Get Political: How Engine Advocacy is Bridging Washington and the Valley 09/07/2012 - BuzzFeed: The Democratic Convention by the Facebook Numbers 09/07/2012 - CNN: 5 OMG Moments at the DNC 09/07/2012 - CNN: CNN’s Gut Check for September 7, 2012

09/07/2012 - CNN: Obama Outshines MTV’s Music Awards on Facebook 09/07/2012 - Campaigns & Elections: Cementing Social Media’s Place in the Campaign Worlds 09/07/2012 - Tech Crunch: Underdog no more: how Romney’s digital director, Zac Moffatt, got silicon valley power the campaign 09/06/2012 - All Facebook: Obama Bests Romney in Facebook Mentions During Both Conventions 09/06/2012 - All Facebook: Facebook Abuzz After Ex-President Bill Clinton’s Nomination Speech at DNC 09/06/2012 - PandoDaily: WordPress Staffer Petitions Dems to Enlist Betty White as Obama’s Opening Act 09/06/2012 - The Hill: Clinton beat by NFL on TV But Won in Facebook Conversations 09/06/2012 - POLITICO: Silicon Valley Stars Are a No-Show in Charlotte 09/06/2012 - CNET: Obama Facebook Apps Lets Users Show They’re Watching the DNC 09/06/2012 - CNN: On Facebook, Clinton’s Speech More Popular than NFL Kickoff Game 09/05/2012 - All Facebook: Facebook Highlights Democratic App Developers at DNC 09/05/2012 - Charlotte Magazine: Inside Facebook and Google at the DNC 09/05/2012 - PandoDaily: Pull Up a Chair and Enjoy the Twitter Election 09/05/2012 - San Francisco Chronicle: Social Media Has Key Role in ’12 Election 09/05/2012 - Bloomberg Businessweek: Twitter Deputizes Masses of Political Pundits at Conventions 09/05/2012 - National Journal: Obama App Links Facebook Friends to Voter Lists 09/05/2012 - CNN: 2012 Conventions Live Blog 09/04/2012 - Guardian: Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina Puts Faith in Online Organising 09/03/2012 - PandoDaily: Yep, We’re at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC 09/03/2012 - CBS News: How to Follow the 2012 Republican National Convention on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ 09/02/2012 - Tech Crunch: Do Women Love Ann Romney? Only Facebook Knows 09/02/2012 - Fox: Romney campaign claims to be closing gap in social media battle 09/01/2012 - CNN: RNC Nets Higher Buzz Factor Than Hurricane Isaac, Facebook ‘Talk Meter’ Shows 08/31/2012 - Associated Press: In the Digital Age, Is There Room for the Campaign Button 08/31/2012 - BuzzFeed: Obama Responds to Eastwood: “This Seat’s Taken” 08/31/2012 - Newsday: Barack Obama’s Facebook Photo Responds to Clint Eastwood’s Empty Chair 08/31/2012 - Huffington Post: Can Facebook Call the Election? 08/31/2012 - Mashable: Google, Facebook and Twitter’s friendly rivalry at GOP2012 08/30/2012 - Tech President: At Republican National Convention, Romney’s Digital Director Hints at New App 08/30/2012 - All Facebook: Facebook Highlights GOP-Flavored Apps Over Drinks at Republican Convention 08/30/2012 - Talking Points Memo: Facebook Promotes Political Apps 08/30/2012 - Voice of America: Live from Tampa! Sort Of… 08/30/2012 - The Hill: Facebook Lets Users Tag Themselves in Convention Panorama 08/30/2012 - POLITICO: Tech Branding Is All Over Tampa Fete 08/30/2012 - CNN: CNN’s Gut Check for August 30, 2012 08/29/2012 - Houston Chronicle: On Social Media, Obama Has Many More Followers, But Romney Team Says GOP Wins on Quality 08/29/2012 - Reuters: TV Audiences Go Social as Republican Convention Coverage Wanes 08/29/2012 - CNN: CNN’s Gut Check for August 29, 2012 08/29/2012 - CNN: Romney Gaining Buzz Among Women on Facebook 08/28/2012 - CNN: On the Trail: August 28, 2012 – CNN Political Ticker 08/28/2012 - Mashable: Facebook at the RNC: Politicians finally get us 08/28/2012 - Politico: Social media ‘staged’ at conventions? 08/28/2012 - PC Magazine: Facebook and CNN team up to offer real-time election trending site 08/28/2012 - Inside Facebook: Does Romney Have a Better Facebook Strategy Than Obama?

08/28/2012 - All Facebook: Facebook, Romney’s Strategist Sound Off on Panel at GOP Convention 08/27/2012 - Ad Age: Team Romney’s Digital Chief: Engagement Trumps Raw Numbers in Social Media 08/27/2012 - The Hill: GOP, Dem Conventions Battle to Claim Social Media Supremacy 08/27/2012 - The Hill: Romney Digital Director: User Engagement on Social Media Trumps Quantity of Followers 08/27/2012 - The Hill: Facebook, Twitter Provide Real-Time Insight From Political Conventions 08/27/2012 - CNN: Facebook, CNN Unveil ‘Election Insights’ 08/27/2012 - CNN: CNN’s Social Media Guide to the Conventions 08/27/2012 - CNN: On Facebook, Campaigns Show the Power of a Post 08/25/2012 - Terra: How Social Media is Changing the Way Politicians Gather Information 08/24/2012 - FOX (Tampa Bay): In One Room, Social Media Titans Gather for DNC 08/24/2012 - Bloomberg Businessweek: Univision plans presidential forum with Obama, Romney 08/23/2012 - Red Alert Politics: Advice for First Time RNC Attendees 08/23/2012 - New York Times: Debates denied, Univision turns to candidate forums 08/22/2012 - Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Everything Changing for Campaign Coverage 08/22/2012 - National Journal: How Mitt Romney Goes Digital 08/21/2012 - The Hill: Ted Cruz wins social media victory 08/20/2012 - Lost Remote: Inside Look at CNN and Facebook’s First Election Analysis 08/17/2012 - Huffington Post: 2012 Conventions Embrace Social Media Openness 08/17/2012 - POLITICO: Republicans Plan a Tech-Heavy Convention 08/16/2012 - POLITICO: Technology Giants to Descend on Conventions 08/16/2012 - Buzzfeed: For a “Social” Republican Convention, Website is Second 08/16/2012 - Charlotte Magazine: Facebook to Offer ‘Apps & Drinks,’ Co-Host ‘Innovation Nation,’ and More at RNC and DNC 08/16/2012 - National Journal: Facebook Rolls Out Convention Plans 08/16/2012 - Buzzfeed: Obama, Not Romney, Is Winning the Social Media Race 08/16/2012 - All Facebook: What does Facebook have in store for the Republican, Democratic conventions? 08/16/2012 - BuzzFeed: Romney, Not Obama, Is Winning The Social Media Race 08/15/2012 - Charlotte Observer: Facebook for Business in 4 Steps 08/15/2012 - Mashable: Paul Ryan Helping Romney Unseat Obama from Digital Throne 08/14/2012 - CNN: Ryan Knocks Obama Off Perch as Most Talked About on Facebook 08/13/2012 - WebProNews: Who is Paul Ryan? Let’s Check His Facebook Page 08/13/2012 - Forbes: Obama vs. Romney: Winning the War of Social Engagement 08/13/2012 - All Facebook: Republican VP Nominee Paul Ryan No Stranger to Facebook 08/12/2012 - USA Today: Running for the Presidency, You’d Better Be on Social Media 08/11/2012 - POLITICO: Paul Ryan VP Pick Adds Social Media Muscle 08/09/2012 - POLITICO: Mitt Romney Makes Most of VP App 08/08/2012 - Fox News: New Facebook Tool May Turn Friends into Enemies 08/07/2012 – Washington Post: Introducing the Issue Engine 08/07/2012 - St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missourians Declare Political Support on Facebook with Brunner in Lead 08/06/2012 - Venture Beat: The 2012 Election: Where Big Data Meets Politics 07/31/2012 - Politico: Ted Cruz’s secret: mastering social media 07/24/2012 - ClickZ: Democratic Firm Ties Voter Data to Facebook Friends 07/20/2012 - Technology Review: Facebook: The Real Presidential Swing State 07/19/2012 - MediaPost: Why the Race for the White House Goes Through Facebook 07/18/2012 - Wisconsin Reporter: Romney Campaign Battling for State’s Youth Vote 07/18/2012 - PR News: Election 2012: Sizing Up the Social Media Battle

07/17/2012 - Seattle Times: Wash. To Unveil Voter Registration on Facebook 07/17/2012 - Slate: The Romney Campaign's Data Strategy 07/14/2012 - POLITICO: The Duo Inside the Facebook War Room 07/13/2012 - Washington Post: Romney Advisers, Aiming to Pop Obama’s Digital Balloon, Pump Up Online Campaign 07/12/2012 - PBS: An Election on Facebook: Old Media Enters the New World 07/09/2012 - All Facebook: CNN, Facebook announce several initiatives for 2012 Presidential Election 07/06/2012 - The Hill: Romney Camp Offers Facebook Supporters Merchandise Deal 07/02/2012 - The Atlantic: A Tour Of The Self-Contained, Design-Happy City of Obamaland 07/02/2012 - ClickZ: Obama Facebook Ads Promote Jobs Act Message 06/18/2012 - Business Insider: Mitt Romney has a new strategy to dominate the Facebook campaign wars 06/14/2012 - Bloomberg Businessweek: Obama's CEO: Jim Messina Has a President to Sell 06/09/2012 - POLITICO: Obama’s Data Advantage 06/07/2012 - Huffington Post: Will the Online Campaign Kill the TV Ad? 06/06/2012 - Washington Post: ‘Big Data’ From Social Media, Elsewhere Take Trend-Watching to a New Level 05/08/2012 - The Atlantic: At Campaign Fundraisers, Obama's Tech Staffers Are The Stars 05/03/2012 - Huffington Post: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney Embrace Social Media to Court Women Voters 05/03/2012 - NPR: That New Friend You Made on Facebook? He Might Be Named Mitt or Barack 05/01/2012 - Los Angeles Times: Republicans expand Facebook efforts with ‘Social Victory Center’ 05/01/2012 - Mashable: Republicans launch Facebook app to defeat Obama 05/01/2012 - BuzzFeed: Republicans Play Tech Catch-Up 04/30/2012 - Breitbart: RNC to Unveil Social Victory Center for 2012 Online Campaign 04/26/2012 - Alaska Dispatch: ‘Epic’ Social Media War Expected in Presidential Campaigns 04/20/2012 - CNN: RNC looks to Facebook for political edge 04/09/2012 - Campaigns & Elections: If You Build It, They Might Not Come 04/09/2012 - Helena Independent Record: Hopefuls Embrace Social Media 04/01/2012 - Daily Beast: How a Tweet Can Beat a PAC: Social Media Gives Voters Muscle in Politics 03/30/2012 - Buzzfeed: The Republican Party Wants to Be Your Friend on Facebook 03/29/2012 - Huffington Post: What the 2012 Presidential Candidates Can Learn from Socially Savvy Brands on Facebook 03/28/2012 - The Hill: RNC Emphasizes Social Media in National Convention Plans 03/22/2012 - TechPresident: Obama Campaign Opens Tech Field Office In San Francisco Thursday 03/22/2012 - Human Events: Frontrunners Romney and Obama Intensify Their Social Media Efforts 03/20/2012 - Washington Post: Women Set Rick Perry’s Facebook Page on Fire 03/15/2012 - All Facebook: How Mitt Romney Upgraded to Timeline 03/13/2012 - Tech President: Yes They Can: What Voters Have Lost and Campaigns Have Gained from 2008 to 2012 03/11/2012 - POLITICO: SXSW: Techies Look to Redo Campaigns 03/11/2012 - CNN: Gingrich Pins Hopes on Hashtags 03/11/2012 - TechCrunch: Social Super Tuesday – How the 2012 Candidates Stacked Up on Facebook 03/10/2012 - Atlanta Journal Constitution: Gingrich Engages His “Tweeples” on Social Media 03/06/2012 - USA Today: Can Social Media Predict Election Outcomes? 03/02/2012 - All Facebook: Ohio Debuts Facebook Voting App Before Big Election 03/02/2012 - Washington Post: Obama's Birth Certificate Featured on New Facebook Timeline 02/28/2012 - Human Events: Romney Needs to Market Himself on Facebook, Twitter 02/28/2012 - Tech President: How Social Media is Keeping the GOP Primary Going 02/24/2012 – MSNBC: Rick Santorum Leads Rivals in Twitter, Facebook Buzz, New Analysis Shows

02/23/2012 - PolicyMic: Barack Obama Campaign Manager Urges Millennials to Use Twitter and Facebook to Win the Social Media War Against Republicans 02/20/2012 - New York Times: Online Data Helping Campaigns Customize Ads 02/18/2012 - Mashable: Who’s Winning the Twitter and Facebook Presidential Election 02/17/2012 - The Hill: All Politics is Social 02/17/2012 - Guardian: Obama, Facebook and the Power of Friendship: The 2012 Data Election 02/15/2012 - Slate: Obama's White Whale 02/12/2012 - Forbes: What Mitt Romney Should Do With His Facebook Now 02/03/2012 - POLITICO: Facebook/POLITICO Poll: Florida Results Won’t Influence Nevada Voters’ Decisions 01/30/2012 - Slate: For Sale: Detailed Voter Profiles 01/29/2012 - New York Times: Facebook Users to Put Political Views Up in Lights on Times Square 01/21/2012 - Ad Age: Paul-Affiliated Super PAC Tests Limits of Mostly Digital Campaign 01/20/2012 - Fox News: Republican Candidates Challenge Dem Dominance of Social Media 01/18/2012 - The Atlantic: Doing Digital For Romney: An Interview With Zac Moffatt 01/16/2012 - POLITICO: The 2012 Tech Primary 01/13/2012 - Slate: Project Dreamcatcher 01/13/2012 - POLITICO: Facebook Users Have A Lot to Say on Debates 01/12/2012 - POLITICO: Facebook Primary: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul in the Lead 01/10/2012 - WCSH (Portland): Social Media Throughout the NH Primary 01/09/2012 - All Facebook: Will Facebook Debate Spur a Huntsman Shakeup in NH? 01/05/2012 - Mashable: Facebook, NBC joining forces to host social presidential debate 01/05/2012 - All Facebook: GOP gears up for Sunday’s NBC News Facebook Debate 01/03/2012 - All Facebook: POLL: Economy is Top Concern for Voters on Facebook 01/03/2012 - Newsmax: From Facebook to Twitter, Candidates Trade Final Jabs on Social Media 01/02/2012 - Daily Beast: Inside President Obama’s Reelection Machine 01/01/2012 - Mashable: Republican Candidates Take to the Web in the Battle for Iowa 12/28/2011 - ClickZ: New Pro-Paul Group Pushes Video Shares and ‘Blue Republican’ Plan 12/28/2011 - New York Times: Republicans Shake More Hands Using Social Media 12/27/2011 - All Facebook: Paul, Gingrich Up on Facebook Prior to Iowa Caucus 12/23/2011 - TechCrunch: Ron Paul is the Second Most Popular Candidate on Facebook (And He’s Gaining) 12/23/2011 - Technology Digital: Barack Obama Becomes More Social for 2012 Campaign 12/22/2011 - Tech President: From YouTube to Facebook, New Digital Targeting Helps Romney Campaign Reach Voters 12/21/2011 - POLITICO: Campaigns Capitalize on Facebook 12/18/2011 - Huffington Post: Michele Bachmann Woos Iowa Voters with Video, Social Media 12/15/2011 - McClatchy: Election 2012 Campaigns Are All Over Facebook 12/14/2011 - Bloomberg: Obama's Re-Election Path May Be Written In Will St. Clair's Code 12/14/2011 - ClickZ: Perry Pushes Iowa Faith Message on Pandora and Facebook 12/13/2011 - Roll Call: Political Campaigning Enters Age of Technology 12/12/2011 - All Facebook: Debates Help Gingrich Catch Up in Facebook Fan Race 12/08/2011 - Washington Post: Campaigns Harness Social Media Graphs for Cash 12/06/2011 - The Hill: Republican Field Woos Cain’s Facebook Fans 12/05/2011 - ClickZ: Perry Looks to Lasso Cain Supporters with Facebook Ads 12/05/2011 - All Facebook: Gingrich’s Facebook Popularity Rises as GOP Race Shifts 12/04/2011 - Des Moines Globe Gazette: Networking – New and Old – Key to Mobilizing Supporters for Candidates 12/02/2011 - ClickZ: Groups Make Elizabeth Warren Facebook Poster Child 11/30/2011 - POLITICO: New Voting Tech Innovations for 2012

11/28/2011 - All Facebook: Newt Gingrich Turns to Facebook After Endorsement 11/15/2011 - All Facebook: GOP Contender Newt Gingrich Doubles Facebook Fans 11/04/2011 - AdAge: Elections Will Turn on Which Candidates Use Social Sharing Most Effectively 11/03/2011 - Tech President: The Frictionless Grassroots, Part 1 10/13/2011 - Associated Press: Social Media Companies ‘Friend’ Politics 10/12/2011 - Engage: Tracking the Most Talked About Candidates on Facebook 10/11/2011 - Tech President: Don’t Confuse Number of Facebook Fans with Success: Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Rick Perry 10/10/2011 - Tech President: How Campaigns Use of Facebook Data Might Change the 2012 Election 10/09/2011 - CNN: How Obama’s Data-Crunching Prowess May Get Him Re-Elected 09/28/2011 - Huffington Post: Why 2012 Is Shaping Up to Be the ‘Verb’ Election 09/28/2011 - The Hill: Cain Thanks Facebook ‘Friends’ in Web Video 09/27/2011 - Old Dominion Watchdog: Kaine, Allen in Social Media Shootout 09/23/2011 - All Facebook: STUDY: Romney is Most Popular Politician on Facebook 09/21/2011 - Bloomberg Businessweek: Facebook and the ‘Like Me’ election 09/11/2011 - ClickZ: Romney Offers E-Book for Price of a Tweet 08/26/2011 - All Facebook: Rick Perry’s Campaign: Facebook is Not a Gimmick 08/25/2011 - Forbes: A Plea to the GOP: Don’t Pull a Digital Nixon 08/16/2011 - Tech President: Here’s the Dish on ‘Tweeter’-Using Texan Rick Perry’s Online Presidential Campaign 08/12/2011 - All Facebook: 2012 GOP Hopefuls Descend on Iowa and Facebook 07/24/2011 - Salt Lake Tribune: D.C. Notebook: Huntsman Losing Facebook Primary 07/24/2011 – UPI: Politics 2011: Politics Gets Real in the Virtual World of Social Media 07/20/2011 - Huffington Post: Is Facebook the New Iowa? 05/27/2011 - All Facebook: Tim Pawlenty Testing Facebook’s Sponsored Stories 04/20/2011 - Washington Post: Facebook, President Obama and the Youth Vote in 2012 04/17/2011 - Huffington Post: Elections 2012: The Social Network, Presidential Campaign Edition 04/08/2011 - The Hill: Cornyn: Lawmakers Having to Conquer Fear of Social Media 04/08/2011 - NPR: Politicians Take to Technology for 2012 04/04/2011 - TechCrunch: Obama's Re-election Campaign Puts Facebook Front And Center … Literally 03/31/2011 - All Facebook: STUDY: Millennials Prefer Facebook Politicking 03/21/2011 - Boston.com: Pawlenty accounted presidential exploratory committee 03/21/2011 - Politico: Time Pawlenty forms 2012 presidential exploratory committee

Technori: Harper Reed on Obama for America http://vimeo.com/58592933 January 31, 2013 Wired: Q&A: Dylan Richard, Director of Engineering, Obama for America http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/01/qa-dylan-richard-director-of-engineering-obama-for-america/ By Jake Gardner January 28, 2013 Gathering Clouds: What are your feelings on how the presidential election went? What was the experience like? Dylan Richard: The campaign was the most amazing experience that I could possibly imagine. There was just a staggering amount of work. I was there for 18 months and towards the end, it was 16-20 hour days, seven days a week for the final couple of months. I look at that on paper and think, “Wow. That’s an incredible amount of work.” And my entire team was doing the same. My overall feeling coming out of the election was that it was worth that and much more – the incredible benefit at the end of it is still so staggeringly huge to me. GC: What are your perspectives on what brought your team together for the campaign? DR: What brought everybody together, truly, was President Obama. He is an outstanding, genuine, effective leader that is, frankly, unparalleled in our lifetime. The message that he communicates is the only reason that we were able to bring people together to do this because it absolutely would not be worth it if it weren’t for him and for the things that he’s going to do and everything he has accomplished so far. So that, coupled with really interesting tech challenges and an amazing team, is how we brought together more and more people. GC: What were the tech challenges that were attractive to you? The tech mindset is not one to shy away from a difficult problem; so what was it that motivated you to really dig in beyond just a belief in the overall mission? DR: There are two really interesting challenges: one of which is obvious and the other which is a bit more obscure. The obvious one is just a question of scale. Putting together applications that are going to be used for a presidential campaign means scale like nothing else. There are very few other conditions where we have traffic spikes like during a campaign. Considering some of the graphs and charts that have been available in the media, there were moments of traffic over time where it was steady and at a good pace. During the last week or two, however, it just exploded, as you can imagine. Exponential growth doesn’t even properly portray what went down. We had some people volunteering that were ex-Twitter engineers and they kept saying “It’s not a hockey stick. It’s like a right angle…” looking at the traffic spike. We would go from a pretty solid baseline to more than you have ever imagined, and then that number just continued to increase. So the challenge there, from a technical standpoint, was around being able to build things to cope with that reality, and it was really fun. That challenge in particular was a great recruitment tool in and of itself. The slightly less obvious one is trying to unify data. There had been efforts starting at the end of 2008 and through the 2010 campaign to build more technology in-house, either at Obama for America or at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and more tools that unify the data in a way that would provide greater insight through an infrastructure that could facilitate that kind of strategy. There are a couple of vendors that we use that have a great deal of data experience, especially in finding ways to pull it all that

together and do a big vendor integration project. That might sound boring, but is actually incredibly complicated and a really fun challenge to do that with vendors and with our own systems. But here’s the key part: we had to do it all while the campaign was going on. So, our challenge was to essentially re-factor an entire infrastructure to something that is more scalable, more unified, while everything is already in use. We all internally described it as “building an airplane while it’s mid-flight.” GC: What do you understand about how your competition was approaching this challenge? In the end, the Romney camp’s approach to technology didn’t serve them in the same way. What do you understand about what they did vs. what you did, and where do you think they went wrong? DR: I honestly don’t know much about what they did in terms of what their strategic decisions were in terms of technology. But I’m sure that they worked incredibly hard, and they put in a lot of time and they got to where they thought they needed to be. I can say that it seems that there wasn’t as much infrastructure being brought in-house in the same way for the Romney campaign. GC: Contextualize the mindset for your team and the related teams going into this. Why did you choose one technology over another, or one vendor over another? What was the criteria that they had to match specifically with regards to the cloud? DR: There was not really much question. The shape of our curve means that we essentially can’t use anything but cloud. We could theoretically do a baseline that is not cloud and use cloud for spikes and do some sort of hybrid arrangement. But the kind of scale that we’re talking about, there really weren’t many options, other than Amazon Web Services (AWS), who have been amazing. So, the choice was actually fairly self-evident, in the end. GC: Why AWS? DR: AWS fits our curves in many ways. They provide the ability to have a small footprint when we’re small and to grow to an enormous footprint very quickly – to be fair, we had an enormous footprint. I think that there was an infrastructure diagram that was up at the AWS re:Invent conference that showed an idea of the scale that we were talking about. So, the ability to grow that big is one of the chief benefits Amazon offers. The other thing it provided was the ability to scale our costs. Eighteen months ago, people were not as interested in giving to the Obama campaign as they were three months ago. The nature of the campaign was one of building up to an event that has a curve for not just how much traffic was flowing to the website, but for really everything that we were doing to achieve that crescendo at the end. So being able to have our costs stay low at the beginning and only pay for what we needed was an enormous benefit, especially [on] a budget based in contributions. GC: Beyond that, the benefits you’re talking about are really like a poster-child example of the benefits of cloud overall, but what else did the platform enable you to do? What other benefits were you able to reap? DR: We were able to automate a great deal of how we do things. To break it down a little bit, our infrastructure had three different environments. We had our production environment, which was in Amazon and was to actual scale. We had a staging environment that was also in Amazon to do all of our testing and validation of builds, etc. but at a smaller scale; and then we had an internal testing environment. We had the ability to automate all of the releases using Puppet and we had our own AppRepo and did releases that way.

GC: How did you account for redundancy at that scale? Amazon has a track record of breaking down from time to time, just like others cloud vendors. You need to plan for failure to a degree. So, at something of that scale, how do you plan your business continuity? How do you plan your disaster recovery? DR: We were in multiple Availability Zones (AZ) because it’s silly not to be. It’s very easy to be in multiple Availability Zones and paying for two servers as your minimum instead of one. It’s a tiny price to pay for that redundancy. Towards the end of the campaign, we were split across three AZ’s, all in U.S. East. We had it, on an infrastructure level, set up so that if any of those AZ’s goes out, we would channel over to the others, and nobody would notice because everything was functioning as it was supposed to. If all of U.S. East were to go out – which would be catastrophic on many levels, not just for us but for the Internet in general – we essentially set up a warm fail-over in U.S. West, particularly as we were getting close to Sandy, as the storm was coming through a week before Election Day. It was “the perfect storm,” in so many ways. Though, if it had knocked us out for two hours, we would have been in a very bad place. So we set up a read-only infrastructure in U.S. West so that if all of U.S. East were to go out, we could very easily switch over to West. That way, should our worst case scenario come to pass, we could have something up so that all of the people that are working on the campaign (which is, at that point, largely having data to consume and having information that people can use) would be able to do what they need to in support of the effort uninterrupted. Within each of the applications that we wrote, we had different failover levels – not only for the applications, but for functions within applications so we could define the core features that were needed for the applications to be functional. We had all of the other features on top of that so if we lost a whole bunch of stuff, we would be okay. Let’s say we lost all of our read slaves and we just had the master, and it was only in one AZ because terrible, terrible things have happened at this point (like other AZ failures). We could cut off certain functionalities so that our risk would be exposed to just the most important things at that time. This would give us time to then put all of the application resources in our teams’ hands to be able to make the necessary changes. GC: Did you have incidents that your business continuity plans effectively worked for?

DR: There were a lot of things where we’d had, for instance, an API endpoint that was far more expensive than it needed to be; and this is our own application; and it’s putting far too much pressure on the database for something that we didn’t actually need it to necessarily be using. So the ability to turn off that endpoint was key. If one CPU’s pegged at 100 on the database box, all of a sudden everything is slow or failing and we need to quickly mitigate that, as an example. We did make use of that where needed, but I don’t think that there was any significant downtime of anything. GC: What other tools were you bringing in to complement AWS, and how were those beneficial to the framing of a successful IT strategy, and for the campaign overall, to achieve your goals? DR: We work with a couple of external vendors that just do political technology. NGP VAN offers a service called VoteBuilder, which is used extensively, and is for all of the volunteers in the field it is what they use to interact with data – both to input and to consume largely. So walk packets, call lists and that sort of stuff, as well as a significant portion of online stuff from Blue State Digital. They did a large part of our website forms for petitions, etc. and a bunch of our email and fundraising as well. They had been deeply involved in Democratic technology, most notably from the last election. So we had them in place and integrated their solutions along with all of the things that we were building.

bostatic. Q How did the campaign approach A/B testing and data-driven design decision-making? One of the things that has been said often about the campaign is that we were data driven.com/articles/interviews/chatting-with-obama-for-americas-director-of-frontenddevelopment-daniel-ryan/ By Jonathan Cutrell November 26. This couldn’t be more true.com/frontend/projects/legacy/legacy-report.. A weekly report was compiled with updated best practices and recommendations based on those findings.] was the shear volume of requests we got each day. In United States Presidential campaigns. research. The biggest challenge [. data analysts. assigned them to relevant staff and saw them through completion. there’s little doubt that. Organizing for Action . we had the opportunity to interview Daniel Ryan – the Director of Frontend Development for “Obama for America” – about the strategies. the web was a major platform for front-facing unification of a message. then launching those projects within a few days or often a few hours was the single largest challenge. Turning around new designs through approvals by messaging. legal. We used a mix of approaches. and AWS worked really well for that. So what we tried to do was to build a bridge between everything.So we built a lot of our functional infrastructure and systems between the two organizations and our own internal teams. Both Design and Dev had a team of Producers who managed those requests. We had that in-house (actually colocation) at the DNC on physical hardware. but it was also a core part of each side’s internal processes. mostly focused on Optimizely for A/B testing to prove (and disprove.pdf January 20. and experiences that were a part of the race to November 6. Our dev team was split among three areas: fundraising. Recently. 2012 Whether you lean to the right or the left..assets.com/download/Inside%20the%20Cave. which ended up being a rather large Vertica cluster. often) theses about how pages could perform better. My deputy Kyle Rush oversaw an optimization working group consisting of developers. but we had that and we had a fallback cluster for that in AWS. as well as developing tools to serve our analytics team. you’ll likely agree that technology is rapidly shaping politics. 2012 nettuts: Chatting with Obama For America’s Director of Frontend Development: Daniel Ryan http://net. designers. if you’re a Nettuts+ reader. user experience engineers. Our traffic levels meant we could run multiple tests per day to significant levels. etc.pdf December 20. . Q What was the biggest large-scale challenge for the design and development teams during the campaign? The biggest scale challenge wasn’t a single project. it was the sheer volume of requests we got each day. persuasion and getting voters to the polls. online ad specialists and content writers.Obama Legacy Report http://secure.. technologies. policy. 2013 EngageDC: Inside The Cave http://engagedc. We estimate that we achieved about $125 million in incremental improvements to our fundraising pages alone.tutsplus.

several large database clusters and S3 hosting. We used Mustache. we rolled our own CSS grid and core styles along with jQuery. tested internally and then swapped in place of the old version We didn’t get to use this flow everywhere we would have liked. Fitvids.com. Modernizr and a core JavaScript library that lazy loaded modules as needed. Internally. One of the smartest things we did was run dozens of decoupled systems tied together with JavaScript and Akamai services. Our widest-used language was Python. We sat in our own section of the office. and I worked very hard to make sure our teams collaborated continuously. but always struggled to have local dev environments for Expression Engine. We got a staging system in place pretty quickly. large ones would get built out under new server clusters. Rails and Magento. set up a pull request to the master branch pull requests were reviewed by lead developers or senior developers. Q Where did design ideas originate? What was the process of taking an idea from birth to deployment? Design ideas largely came from the Design team directly. Our main site.barackobama. because we came into a working system. our stack ran on Amazon Web Services. Josh Higgins. All of our code went through Github. One of the smartest things we did was run dozens of decoupled systems tied together with JavaScript and Akamai services. which also served as our main code management flow. compiled by CodeKit. This is just one example of how we stayed open to better approaches every day and weren’t scared to embrace a new method or system if it made sense. Wherever it made sense. When I arrived in August 2011. our flow was:        branch locally set a Git tag on the repo once the code was ready for review and testing deploy the tag to staging servers code review and QA once the code was production ready. there were no dev or staging environments for our main site.Q Can you give us a simple run-down of the stack. along with . One of the devs showed me LESS while we were overhauling the site in October 2011. we tried out a lot of open source tools for making mobile experiences better. the whole site had switched to it.js was one of the heaviest used.js templates quite a bit for browser-based apps. www. Q What are some of the open-source tools OFA used during the campaign? What was the production/deployment strategy? On the client-side. Akamai offloaded about 98% of all of our traffic. for instance. from back to front? There wasn’t a single stack. We were heavily guided by the principles of “How Github Uses Github to Build Github”. We ran git as our VCS of choice. while server-side code required a deploy request to our DevOps teamthe DevOps team used Puppet and Gippetto to create apk distros for the Linux boxes small code changes would get deployed on the fly. was an Expression Engine install backed by EC2 and RDS and fronted by Akamai caching. static assets were deployed to S3. we worked in LESS CSS. including thousands of EC2 instances. by the end of the day. Broadly. for all the obvious reasons. Flask. As the first responsive website for a national campaign. rather than starting from scratch. our Design Director. multiple custom apps built on Django. Additionally we used Jekyll.

but almost none of our donations. one internal and one powered by Google. mobile-first doesn’t mean starting with a 320 pixel wide design. we would send the staging version around for approvals at the same time the QA team was doing cross-browser testing. We’d have a kickoff meeting with PMs. to figure out the scope of a project. the campaign tried making a jQuery Mobile powered site. Q We have read a bit about the technical issues that plagued the Romney camp throughout the campaign. These ideas then became the vernacular we would talk in when trying to come up with a specific concept. it means starting with a low bandwidth experience. which we used in part to build redundancies. The systems we relied upon specifically for Election Day all had two backup systems: one powered by Google Doc spreadsheets and one consisting of printed hard-copies of critical data. We learned that lesson over and over throughout the course of the campaign. Leads. What were some of the most important strategic decisions the Obama team made to avoid these problems? I think our approach basically boiled down to pragmatic paranoia. if the data showed it wasn’t getting the results we wanted. which was the Obama ’08 system akin to Romney’s Orca. with a thin PHP app to make the output the same. The team would iterate on the notes from both and then we’d launch. Our payment processor. The process was much like any good digital agency. I think I had been in Chicago less than a week before I’d heard about the failure of Houdini. Because of the institutional experience with this voter monitoring system’s failure. If there’s one takeaway I would really stress. It was a learning process for all of us. we were doing this on a dozen projects or more simultaneously. Someone would send around the notes from that. it was a foregone conclusion we would do mobile-first. but maintaining two templates for everything simply wasn’t going to scale. We were seeing 25% of our traffic come from mobile devices. . a developer would begin prototypes. we would try another approach. Many of the designs we rolled out started by a designer or developer finding a cool idea somewhere and emailing it around to the two teams. No matter how cool we thought something was. I think our approach basically boiled down to pragmatic paranoia. Keep in mind that near the end of the summer. Many of the designs we rolled out started by a designer or developer finding a cool idea somewhere and emailing it around to the two teams.the program/project managers. These ideas then became the vernacular we would talk in when trying to come up with a specific concept. We had two APIs. This let us prevent a traffic spike outage. but we had a system in place where we could choose which states used which system proactively. for instance. When we set out to do a site overhaul in Fall 2011. responsive/adaptive. Normally. but we had many alumni from ’08 with us. That system worked so well we replicated it for polling places. for more complicated projects. etc. This was my first campaign as a staffer. and we’d all tweak them for a bit then send up to our leadership to get sign off on the direction we wanted to go in. either a designer would begin comps or. After incorporating feedback. so we could keep the two teams working physically near each other. We had the luxury of time. Producers. we’d do this whole cycle in a single day. we never put ourselves in a place where a single system failure could do real damage. was actually one inhouse system and one vendor system that Akamai flipped between automatically if one side went down. design that is flexible and code that is as lean as possible. Q How did responsive design play a role in the Obama strategic team? Was the design “mobile first”? Early on. Not only could Akamai automatically fail between them without the end user noticing. Mobile first is a comprehensive approach including content creation that is mobile friendly. data was our guide. including server outages and hard drive failures. As with everything else. Many times. though. The assigned developer and designer would iterate through those until the project was live and ready for testing.

And the victors claim targeting on-the-go voters moved the needle. 2016 should be much more of a matrix org chart than a hierarchical one. Rapid Response and our management team. especially in the hockey stick curve we knew we were going to have. Digital Analytics. we handled all the public-facing work of the campaign online. Generally speaking. Our work covered every area of the campaign at some point. 2012 President Barack Obama's reelection effort spent millions on mobile ads that targeted down to the neighborhood level in battleground states. Most of my team had no experience at the kind of scale we wound up working at. the Democratic operatives said they got click-through rates from 3 percent to 19. In Closing Thanks again to Daniel for agreeing to speak with us. The promos criticized the GOP candidate's tax plan and praised Obama's auto industry bailout. Email. but our overall structure was basically divided into those three buckets I mentioned before: fundraising. A large part of my role was coordinating with Tech and DevOps as we constantly deployed more and more systems I truly believe that this is the last presidential campaign where the “Internet people” will be separated into their own group. There was some crossover between the two departments as well. To stay up to date. Program Managers. there was a Digital Department. Video. Social. "We knew we had to be in mobile. the campaign's digital lead who previously worked at interactive shop Digitas.5 percent during the race's crucial stretch run when Mitt Romney appeared to surge in late October and early November. you need people at every part of the stack thinking about how to be more efficient. Online Organizing. it means starting with a low bandwidth experience." . Q What was the general management structure of projects for the Obama team? I truly believe that this is the last presidential campaign where the “Internet people” will be separated into their own group. Content. digital operatives for the campaign told Adweek.Mobile-first doesn’t mean starting with a 320 pixel wide design. among other examples. but we learned quickly and adapted. In the case of mobile video ads. persuasion and turning out voters. underscoring a 2012 that saw the mobile marketing space seemingly toddle towards significantly impacting the larger advertising world. and keep an eye on his website. be sure to follow him on Twitter. "The work we did there was exciting because we felt it was directly impacting the election. Additionally. Q What was the biggest lesson to be learned about large-scale deployment? The biggest lesson I learned about large-scale deployment is hire smart people.com/news/technology/heres-one-advertiser-who-swears-mobile-ads-work-obama146044 By Christopher Heine December 18. The structure varied by project." said Shannon Lee. which my team was part of along with Design.adweek. When you’re trying to tune for scale. Internally. the Tech Department was responsible for the infrastructure (our DevOps team) and the server-side code for virtually everything we did. Online Ads. AdWeek: Here's One Advertiser Who Swears Mobile Ads Work: Obama http://www.

and increased turnout -which all meant more Obama votes on Election Day. The story has been the unprecedented investment in mining personal information for all kinds of wacky stuff. as no additional resources would be needed in the off cycle to make it happen.huffingtonpost. Lee said paid mobile Web and mobile app ads were not run to increase Obama for America donations but rather to persuade viewers and get out the vote. more supporters. female and Hispanic voters in Ohio. and make them available to the whole movement. This one was about targeted mobile advertising.com/jim-pugh/obama-for-america-data_b_2325478. but the reason is much less salacious than many reporters would have you believe. The donations that poured in during the election have dried up and hard choices need to be made. We need to keep moving forward. which helped the Democratic campaign target mobile ads. Volunteers called only the most statistically persuadable potential supporters. the mobile space will almost certainly be one to watch during election cycles to come. "Email and text were already converting a lot of those people for donations. Greg Hallinan. Detroit Free Press." Huffington Post: What's Next for Obama For America's Data and Technology? http://www. . This approach is attractive from a financial perspective. leveraging through those publishers' mobile apps.The ads typically zeroed in on young. Interestingly. Las Vegas Review-Journal. proclaimed. The campaign built an integrated database. actions in the field. It's true that data was a game changer for the Obama campaign. But Election Day shouldn't be the end for these systems. continue the investment. 2012 If you've been following post-election news. Supporters who signed up to help online received a personal call from their neighborhood leader the next day. the 2008 election was about text messages. you've no doubt heard about Barack Obama's "big data" advantage. CMO of Verve Mobile. the campaign used data for everything from inviting donors to dinner with Sarah Jessica Parker to identifying potential voters through their visits to porn sites." she said.html By Jim Pugh and Nathan Woodhull December 18. The Weather Channel. funding will be tight. appearing via mobile properties owned by major regional news outlets such as the Cincinnati Enquirer." With escalating smartphone and tablet sales. Associated Press and Pandora. Don't Abandon the Technology Now that the election is over. Miami Herald and Denver Post. On top of that data foundation. The result was unprecedented efficiency in volunteer engagement and voter outreach. and public voting records into a single unified view of every American. "Our hypothesis was that taking out your credit card number would be too laborious when it came to investing in paid mobile ads. According to various articles. Florida and Colorado. a large team of developers built community organizing software that empowered volunteers to become more deeply involved with the President's grassroots field operation. All of this led to more volunteers. Nevada. Iowa. Michigan. Anyone who connected their Facebook account to the campaign was encouraged to send voting turnout messages to the specific friends who needed the extra push most. One option is to mothball this infrastructure and plan to spin it up again for the next presidential election. Des Moines Register. "On the mobile front. which combined supporters' online activity. The Obama digital team also bought ads directly from CNN.

2012 The March In the summer of 2011. The Obama Campaign's technology team is scattering to the winds and returning to industry. and even the most well-funded senate campaigns couldn't afford anything close to that. And beyond the benefit to the Democratic Party and progressive movement. But with some additional work. With the infrastructure coming out of the Obama campaign. via paid licensing from these outside campaigns and organizations A Sustained Tech Commitment for 21st-Century Politics The roller-coaster of scaling up and scaling down that comes with elections has always been the standard for political organizations. The data and technology infrastructure from the Obama campaign cost millions of dollars to build. but this one offered . For smaller campaigns that would have no chance of creating these systems on their own. The window of opportunity to stay ahead of the technological curve is closing -. we should make a continued investment in maintaining and improving them. but after the shellacking they experienced in the last election. Since Election Day.technologyreview. Carol Davidsen received a message from Dan Wagner. Sadly. only presidential campaigns have the resources to build systems of this sophistication. this could be a game-changing step forward. but the institutional experience and knowledge that had been building since the President's primary campaign in 2007.com/featuredstory/508856/obamas-data-techniques-will-rule-futureelections/ By Sasha Issenberg December 18. our advantage may be erased in the coming years. there's little doubt that they'll be pouring in resources to catch up. We need to keep moving forward if we want to keep our advantage on this front. Democrats could actually start the next election cycle behind where we're at right now. it could provide a path to fund the continued investment. If we want to stay competitive on the data and technology front. the data and tech infrastructure from the Obama campaign could be adapted to offer the same functionality to other progressive candidates and groups. Instead of shelving all these systems.But this would be a mistake. but without staff to maintain institutional knowledge and adapt the systems to changing technology. that is not what has happened so far.our party needs to change course now or risk being left behind. Not only would Republicans be moving ahead. Part 3 http://www. Make Tools Available to All Progressives An investment in building on these systems offers another possibility as well: providing access to the rest of the progressive movement. Republicans are lagging behind Democrats right now on the data and technology front. Right now. the Democratic National Committee has laid off an unprecedented number of technology staff members. Technology Review: How President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters. Without sustained investment from our party. The campaign's advantage this cycle wasn't just bits and bytes. Neither should we. some of whom had been at the party for over ten years. this approach needs to be changed. Already the Obama campaign was known for its relentless e-mails beseeching supporters to give their money or time. giving them the opportunity to use these systems with their own supporters and volunteers. A 21st-century political movement must have a serious on-going commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancement. we've got a huge lead in this area. The technology industry never stops moving forward.

Television and radio ads had to be purchased by geographic zone.something that intrigued Davidsen: a job. “We discovered that there were a lot of things that built goodwill. “If you think about the universe of possible places for an advertiser. and online channels. the number of votes gained through a given amount of contact at a given cost. satellite. when she heeded Wagner’s call. Wagner had sorted the campaign’s list of donors. a Microsoft-owned company that wrote code for set-top cable boxes to create a record of a user’s DVR or tuner history. Now analysts could leverage personal data to identify the attributes of those who responded. But when it came to buying media. That might be good enough to guide buys for Schick or Foot Locker. while at her firm Changing Targets in 2009.” If online communication had been the aspect of the 2008 campaign subjected to the most rigorous empirical examination—it’s easy to randomly assign e-mails in an A/B test and compare click-through rates or donation levels—mass-media strategy was among those that received the least.” says ­Amelia ­Showalter. often included little more than viewer age and gender. like signing the president’s birthday card or getting a free bumper sticker. common in website development. robust voter data that doesn’t fit together with the media data. collected by research firms like Nielsen and Scarborough. Walsh says of the effort to reimagine the media-targeting process: “It was not to get a better understanding of what 35-plus women watch on TV. in which users are randomly directed to different versions of a thing and their responses are compared. How you knit that together is a challenge. It was to find out how many of our persuadable voters were watching those dayparts. it’s almost infinite. Obama’s director of digital analytics.” That usually meant calculating. that led them to become more engaged with the campaign in other ways. and the available data on who watches which channels or shows. stretching back to 2008. As campaign manager Jim Messina prepared to spend as much as half a billion dollars on mass media for Obama’s reëlection. Davidsen was working at Navic Networks. That was the code name. -Wagner had deftly wrested command of media planning into his own department. but it’s of limited value for advertisers looking to define audiences in political terms. for any campaign activity. cable. to link the information from cable systems to individual microtargeting profiles. “There are tens of millions of opportunities where a campaign can put its next dollar. to find those who described their occupation with terms like “data” and “analytics” and sent them all invitations to apply for work in his new analytics department. With Narwhal. “You can cite people’s other types of engagement. borrowed from a tusked whale. he set out to reinvent the process for allocating resources across broadcast.” . As he expanded the scope of analytics. he defined his purview as “the study and practice of resource optimization for the purpose of improving programs and earning votes more efficiently. and use that knowledge to refine subsequent appeals. because campaigns were unable to link what they knew about voters to what cable providers knew about their customers. Obama’s advisors decided that the data made available in the private sector had long led political advertisers to ask the wrong questions. such calculations had been simply impossible. she started work in the campaign’s technology department to serve as product manager for Narwhal. who was hired as the campaign’s media-planning director on the strength of her successful negotiations.” says Amy Gershkoff. You have all this great. One year before Election Day. and the algorithms determining how much a supporter would be asked to contribute could be shaped by knowledge about his or her reaction to previous solicitations. that Obama’s online fund-raising efforts had used to good effect in 2008: the A/B test. for an ambitious effort to match records from previously unconnected databases so that a user’s online interactions with the campaign could be synchronized. This integration enriched a technique.” By the start of 2012. e-mail blasts asking people to volunteer could take their past donation history into consideration.

understood that a lot of that data was available in the form of tuner and DVR histories collected by cable providers and then aggregated by research firms. “It wasn’t worth reverse-engineering. called Obama’s “highly variable” media strategy. It used some of the same aggregated data sources that were feeding into the Optimizer. and the company looked for them in the cable providers’ billing files. the analysts who produced them were disinclined to call them polls. And.000 deal she worked out with one company. “was to turn what was a broadcast medium into something that looks a lot more like a narrowcast medium. When a record matched. Obama’s buys perplexed the Romney analysts in Boston. because what are you going to do?” The Community Although the voter opinion tables that emerged from the Cave looked a lot like polls. ­Rentrak would issue it a unique household ID that identified viewing data from a single set-top box but masked any personally identifiable information. Under a $350. which we did more than any campaign ever. But there was a lot more to what Alex Lundry. (By September. called Centraforce. Davidsen began negotiating to have research firms repackage their data in a form that would permit the campaign to access the individual histories without violating the cable providers’ privacy standards. in reruns on TV Land.Davidsen. For privacy reasons. “We were never able to figure out the level of advertising and what they were trying to do.” Even without that tactic. “it helps hide some of the strategy of your buying. generated by a publicopinion team of eight outside firms.) “The revolution of media buying in this campaign. on marginal stations. Ohio. It could boost fund-raising and motivate volunteers in states that weren’t essential to Obama’s Electoral College arithmetic. The Obama campaign had created its own television ratings system. which we [also] did more than any other . and new arrivals at the Chicago headquarters were shocked by the variegated breadth of the research that arrived on their desks daily. however. the information was not available at the individual level. She oversaw the development of a software platform the Obama staff called the Optimizer.” says Terry Walsh. when Obama strategists planned to start running their anti-Romney ads.” says Romney data analyst Brent McGoldrick. Many of the Democrats’ ads were placed in fringe markets. that tracked viewers’ tuner histories by the second. The campaign had plenty of those. with the quant. and at odd times where few political candidates had ever seen value. But Davidsen had to get the information into a practical form by early May. whose previous work had left her intimately familiar with the rich data sets held in set-top boxes. Rentrak. derived from its microtargeting models. who created Romney’s data science unit. who coördinated the campaign’s polling and advertising spending. and at times both seemed to send the campaigns to the same unlikely ad blocks—for example. But the occasional national buy also had other benefits. says Davidsen.” she says. she had unlocked an even richer trove of data: a cable system in Toledo. “The hardest thing in media buying right now is the lack of information. “We believed in combining the qual. which broke the day into 96 quarter-hour segments and assessed which time slots across 60 channels offered the greatest number of persuadable targets per dollar.” When the Obama campaign did use television as a mass medium. Romney’s data scientists simply could not decode those decisions without the voter models or persuasion experiments that helped Obama pick out individual targets. Sometimes a national cable ad was a better bargain than a large number of local buys in the 66 media markets reaching battleground states. the campaign provided a list of persuadable voters and their addresses. a kind of Nielsen in which the only viewers who mattered were those not yet fully committed to a presidential candidate. it was because the Optimizer had concluded it would be a more efficient way of reaching persuadable targets. They had invested in their own media-intelligence platform.

“For me. Benenson’s national polls tested language to see which affected voters’ responses in survey experiments and direct questioning. to their business model. Analytics was talking to as many people in the Green Bay media market as traditional pollsters were talking to across Wisconsin every week. which was guided by a series of voter diaries that Obama’s team commissioned as it prepared for the reëlection campaign. a private online bulletin board populated by 100 undecided voters Binder had recruited. too. As Simas reviewed Wagner’s analytic tables in mid-October. “I spent a lot of time within the campaign explaining to people that the numbers we get from analytics and the numbers we get from external pollsters did not need strictly to be reconciled. The lead pollster. had grown into an advantage of between six and nine. the director of opinion research. “They were different. while pollsters tracking the horse race wanted to screen more rigorously for those likely to cast a ballot. But it was hard to discount. “We needed to do something almost divorced from politics and get to the way they’re seeing their lives.campaign. like Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen’s declaration that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life. Joel Benenson.000 calls in Wisconsin in each fiveday cycle—and benefiting from tens of thousands of other field contacts—to produce microtargeting scores.” The scope of the analytic research enabled it to pick up movements too small for traditional polls to perceive. Simas would monitor Community conversations to see which news events penetrated voter consciousness. and there was no obvious explanation. but Romney’s were too. The entries frequently used the word “disappointment.” which helped explain attitudes toward Obama’s administration but also spoke to a broader dissatisfaction with economic conditions. Obama’s advisors used those diaries to develop messages that contrasted Obama with Romney as a fighter for the middle class. “That became the foundation for our entire research program. “We could have the confidence level to say. Obama’s numbers in key battleground states were low in the analytic tables. The rivalry between the two units trying to measure public opinion grew intense: the analytic polls were a threat to the pollsters’ primacy and. Eventually.” says Simas. a pattern became apparent. analytics was placing 5.” says David Simas.” Simas checked in with the Community. it was a very quick way to draw back and determine whether something was a problem or not a problem.” says Walsh. When something potentially damaging popped up in the news. A basic methodological distinction explained this discrepancy: microtargeting models required interviewing a lot of unlikely voters to give shape to a profile of what a nonvoter looked like. he was alarmed to see that what had been a Romney lead of one to two points in Green Bay. had respondents write about their experiences. There were simply more undecided voters in such states— sometimes nearly twice as many as the traditional pollsters found. to make sure all communication for every level of the campaign was informed by what they found. But the campaign had to play defense. When Wagner started packaging his department’s research into something that campaign leadership could read like a poll.” he says. Obama’s media advisors created more than 500 ads and tested them before an online sample of viewers selected by focus-group director David Binder.” says Simas. Simas considered himself the “air-traffic controller” for such research. Whereas a standard 800-person statewide poll might have reached 100 respondents in the Green Bay area. Wisconsin. Sometimes he had Binder show its members controversial material—like a video clip of Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment—and ask if it changed their views of the candidate. So the campaign’s media buyers aired an ad attacking Romney on outsourcing and beseeched Messina to . A quartet of polling firms were assigned specific states and asked to figure out which national themes fit best with local concerns.’” says Simas. ‘This isn’t noise. Green Bay was the only media market in the state to experience such a shift. potentially.

the campaign overlaid the lists of early voters released by election authorities with its modeling scores to project how many votes they could claim as their own. Wagner sorted them by microtargeting projections and found that 58. the state’s third-largest and home to Cincinnati. . Wagner’s analytic tables turned into predictions. the only thing that still hung in the balance was the accuracy of the analytics department’s predictions. “After those first two numbers. Early ballots were the first to be counted after Ohio’s polls closed. a grandiose title inspired by the idea that the innovations of Obama 2012 should be translated not only to the campaign of the next Democratic candidate for president but also to governance.3 to 48. and by a far larger Electoral College margin than most outsiders had anticipated. his staff was exhilarated but not surprised. the analytic tables demonstrated how stable the electorate was. Polls from the media and academic institutions may have fluctuated by the hour. (In the end. The Legacy A few days after the election. Wagner and his analytics staff left the Cave and rode the elevator up one floor in the campaign’s Chicago skyscraper to join members of other departments in a boiler room established to help track votes as they came in. By Election Day.” When Obama was reëlected. That amounted to 56. alone. but drawing on hundreds of data points to judge whether someone was a likely voter proved more reliable than using a seven-question battery like Gallup’s to do the same.6 percent of the votes in Hamilton County. Obama’s margin was only twotenths of a percent off. The numbers settled almost exactly where Wagner had said they would: Obama got 56. for over a month. and how predictable individual voters could be.249 votes over Romney. we knew.379 had individual support scores over 50.508 voters who had cast early ballots over the previous month. But that ignored the experimental methods that made it possible to measure individual behavior in more detail.” says Bird. The presidency was no longer at stake. In Florida. “It was dead-on. The next morning. director of the Democratic campaign group Organizing for America. relying on a method similar to Gallup’s: pollster Neil Newhouse asked respondents how likely they were to cast a ballot. They.4 percent of the county’s votes. a few staff members were directed. authorities in Hamilton County. Romney’s advisors were similarly sanguine. Before the polls opened in Ohio. or a raw lead of 13.5 percent.) For the most part. too. as four years before. to remain in Chicago. On the last day of the race.send former president Bill Clinton and Obama himself to rallies there. The analytic data offered a source of calm.1—that is. the Republicans failed to see how the Obama campaign was mobilizing even those voters who looked to Election Day without enthusiasm or intensity. and Obama’s senior staff gathered around screens in the boiler room to see the initial tally. but they were losing. Their instructions were to produce another post-mortem report summing up the lessons of the past year and a half. Already. Mitch Stewart sat in the boiler room. Each day. Romney took the county 50. Obama’s analysts had been counting ballots from states that allowed citizens to vote early. The undertaking was called the Legacy Project. believed it possible to project the composition of the electorate. the last state to name a winner. as Florida authorities continued to count provisional ballots. As a result. the campaign’s models predicted that they were more likely than not to have voted for Obama. he was as close to the mark. “When you see this Pogo stick happening with the public data—the electorate is just not that volatile. monitoring the lagging votes as they came into Obama’s servers from election authorities in Florida.” says Mitch Stewart. released the names of 103. however. Those who answered that question with a seven or below on a 10-point scale were disregarded as unlikely to vote.

. marveled at the intimacy of the campaign. Read Write Web: How Obama Knew How You'd Vote. but before he became a political operative. on a single day. each of them approachable on his or her terms. Though the old guard may have viewed such techniques as a disruptive force in campaigns. trying to track their moods and expectations. they enabled a presidential candidate to view the electorate the way local candidates do: as a collection of people who make up a more perfect union. Obama’s team took the usual system of analytics and reduced it to the most granular level: the individual voter. “You know the people on your block. you would probably have thought that Republican nominee Mitt Romney had a pretty good shot at claiming the presidency. led by chief analytics officer Dan Wagner. “What that gave us was the ability to run a national presidential campaign the way you’d do a local ward campaign. MIT Technology Review breaks down how the President’s team used Big Data and sophisticated analytics at an almost unprecedented scale to track voters. to respect. what they’re discussing at the coffee shop. Wagner’s team could accurately predict human behavior. no civic institution. days before the actual voting even started. Yet those numbers somehow captured the individuality of each voter.” Few events in American life other than a presidential election touch 126 million adults. and nudge them in the direction that the Obama team wanted them to go. or even a significant fraction that many.” Simas says.would have been dead wrong. Simas had been a politician himself. he appreciated the human aspect of politics. the result of an election. It essentially created a cohort-analysis system of data to judge every single voter it wanted to get to the polls. however marginally. People have relationships with one another. Certainly no corporation. Could he make them feel the same way about Congress? Simas. you . and they were not demographic classifications. and you leverage them so you know the way they talk about issues. He ran for office by knocking on doors and interacting individually with constituents (or those he hoped would become constituents). Perhaps more than anyone else at headquarters. who had served in the White House before joining the team. In many respects. What the Obama team did was little short of amazing. though. In the first of a three-part series on how Obama used technology to win the election.Obama had succeeded in convincing some citizens that a modest adjustment to their behavior would affect. likely knew that he would win. their changing levels of support and enthusiasm open to measurement and.com/2012/12/17/how-obama-knew-how-youd-vote-even-before-you-did By Dan Rowinski December 17. and very few government agencies ever do. In doing this. The scores measured the ability of people to change politics—and to be changed by it.like many of the Republican faithful . Obviously. serving on the city council and school board in his hometown of Taunton. President Barack Obama and his team. and by precisely how much. A quick look at the national polls for the presidential election. The analytics campaign. Obama did so by reducing every American to a series of numbers. analytics had made it possible for the Obama campaign to recapture that style of politics. Even Before You Did http://readwrite. 2012. This had been his first presidential election. 2012 Imagine you were a political analyst who time traveled from 1990s to November 5. thus. Massachusetts. was able to assign voters individual scores based on if and how they would vote.

. By analyzing millions of data sets created by touching items within an app. But winning those counties was not as important to the Obama team as was making sure that people that supported him in 2008 also did so in 2012. Flurry.not just to understand how people use mobile apps. what buttons are the users most likely to push? Are they more or less likely to tap on an advertisement? What can the app publisher do to get users to open the app more often (increasing the likelihood of clicking an ad or buying in-app goods)? The next step is to apply those questions to specific cohorts.“But underneath all that were scores describing particular voters: a new political currency that predicted the behavior of individual humans. Obama received 7. Localytics. Even though he lost those counties.” wrote Technology Review’s guest contributor Sasha Issenberg. Of those counties. Walton and Gadsen. by matching his numbers in those two counties in an election where the Republican base was emotionally invested against him. Obama’s team put itself on the forefront of a growing field of innovation: predictive analysis of individual human behavior and reaction. In a mobile application. The largest technology companies and a growing number of advertisers are seen as leaders in this field. Is a woman aged 18-21 years more likely to re-engage with the app than a man of the same age? How many times does a 25-year-old man need to open an app before he makes his first in-app purchase? Companies like Apsalar. trying to sway voters in key counties like Holmes. “Google knows everything about me. it knew exactly how it could turn you into the type of person it wanted you to be. for example.342 (35. The campaign didn’t just know who you were.000 votes in Florida. Considering that Obama beat Romney by only about 73. it can then influence you to perform the actions it desires. but how they can be influenced to perform particular actions. Sonamine and others are working on this type of cohort data . In part two of Issenberg’s series. Once a company knows what you are going to do. in Jackson county. Jackson. he notes that the Romney team understood it did not have the depth of ground-level analytics that the Obama team had and was forced to be reactionary to how the Obama campaign deployed its resources. Obama won only Gadsen. it probably does.1%) votes in 2012 against 7. those votes counted for a lot. the Romney campaign was still in an earlier mode of data analytics. The Obama team likely knew that the state of Florida would come down to several thousand votes (which it did) and that eroding Romney’s base there would be important to win the state. why did Obama run 68 ads in a small Alabama town that traditionally voted Republican? Obama was likely targeting voters in Florida with his Alabama media buy. Obama can count those Florida counties as a win. For instance.632 (35%) in 2008. Florida election results 2012 In contrast. People like to joke that. focused around larger cohorts such as campaign topics (the fall of Obama-backed solar energy provider Solyndra. companies can guess with a very high degree of accuracy what you are going to do next. Obama's goal in 2012 was to make sure that everybody that voted for him in 2008 also did so in 2012 while adding new voters as well.” Well. Predicting Human Behavior Through Data Analysis By taking an approach to individual voter targeting and setting up the algorithms and databases to do it. For instance. for instance) and how individual ads affected the voter mindset.

the party decided it would start conducting its own experiments. and so on.such as direct mail. the 2008 Obama campaign had remained insulated from the most important methodological innovation in 21st-century politics. Yale professors Don Green and Alan Gerber conducted the first randomized controlled trial in modern political science. person-to-person interviews. sign a form. Plouffe wanted to know: How many of a field office’s volunteer shifts had been filled last weekend? How much money did that ad campaign bring in? But for all its reliance on data. it was millions upon millions of voters. But that didn’t mean quite what it had four years before. and performance reports.” To that end. and comparing those lists with registration rolls revealed . Obama was then able to deploy his massive volunteer network (some 500. social media. Some of the biggest tech companies in the world that specialize in behavioral data could not have done quite what the Obama team did by mixing social science (how users react to different stimuli) to structured big data. or in-person visit from a canvasser and measuring which group saw the greatest increase in turnout.technologyreview. he hired the Analyst Institute. The 2008 campaign had been “data-driven. 2012 The Experiments When Jim Messina arrived in Chicago as Obama’s newly minted campaign manager in January of 2011. they hoped. except instead of mobile apps. It was not just having a smartphone app as a “walk list” (the list that volunteers use to see who has come to the polls) or keeping track of media sentiment through in-depth analytics. and. who loved metrics.This is almost exactly what the Obama team did. a Washington-based consortium founded under the AFL-CIO’s leadership in 2006 to coördinate field research projects across the electioneering left and distribute the findings among allies. because that was easy to measure.000 people) and other campaign resources as needed. Gerber. This reflected a principled imperative to challenge the political establishment with an empirical approach to electioneering. the 2008 campaign manager. vote. phone. After Dan Wagner moved to the DNC. It was about having the most granular data possible and then knowing how to act on it. advertising. and their followers focused on mobilization. Much of the experimental world’s research had focused on voter registration. he imposed a mandate on his recruits: they were to make decisions based on measurable data. The breakthrough was that registration no longer had to be approached passively. The first Obama campaign used the findings of such tests to tweak call scripts and canvassing protocols. but it never fully embraced the experimental revolution itself. assigning New Haven voters to receive nonpartisan election reminders by mail. He hoped the committee could become “a driver of research for the Democratic Party. The Obama team figured out what type of person a voter was and how that person would respond to certain types of stimuli . Part 2 http://www. testing competing modes of contact and get-out-thevote language to see which were most successful. Technology Review: How President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters.com/featuredstory/508851/how-obama-wrangled-data-to-win-his-secondterm/ By Sasha Issenberg December 17.” as people liked to say. organizers did not have to simply wait for the unenrolled to emerge from anonymity. The subsequent wave of field experiments by Green. In 1998. Ultimately. New techniques made it possible to intelligently profile nonvoters: commercial data warehouses sold lists of all voting-age adults. and it was greatly influenced by David Plouffe. this approach is what set apart Obama's campaign. spreadsheets.

“The extent to which we were guessing about persuasion was not lost on any of us. The expansion of individual-level data had made possible the kind of testing that could help do that. director of the Democratic campaign group Organizing for America. The traditional way of doing this had been to audition themes and language in focus groups and then test the winning material in polls to see which categories of voters responded positively to each approach. “You’re making significant resource decisions based on 160 people?” asks Mitch Stewart. The Obama campaign embedded social scientists from the Analyst Institute among its staff. But the experiments introduced new uncertainty.” One way the campaign sought to identify the ripest targets was through a series of what the Analyst Institute called “experiment-informed programs. it barely budged those whose scores placed them in the middle of the partisan spectrum.” or EIPs. A series of tests in 2006 by the women’s group Emily’s List had illustrated the potential of conducting controlled trials with microtargeting databases. In March. That test. Experimenters would randomly assign voters to receive varied sequences of direct mail—four pieces on the same policy theme. Experimenters had typically calculated the average effect of their interventions across the entire population.eligible candidates. each making a slightly different case for Obama—and then use ongoing survey calls to isolate the attributes of those whose opinions changed as a result. Older women thought more highly of the policies . But as campaigns developed deep portraits of the voters in their databases. or they might look like centrists only because no data attached to their records pushed a partisan prediction in one direction or another. and others that followed. Applying microtargeting models identified which nonregistrants were most likely to be Democrats and which ones Republicans. especially among women. that middle-of-the-roaders were the most persuadable and that infrequent voters were the likeliest to be captured in a get-out-the-vote drive. The experiment revealed how much voter response differed by age. the campaign used this technique to test various ways of promoting the administration’s healthcare policies. But already the campaign had ambitions beyond merely modifying nonparticipating citizens’ behavior through registration and mobilization. “The scores in the middle are the people we know less about. demonstrated the limitations of traditional targeting. Such techniques rested on a series of long-standing assumptions—for instance. People who were identified as having a 50 percent likelihood of voting for a Democrat might in fact be torn between the two parties. One series of mailers described Obama’s regulatory reforms. designed to measure how effective different types of messages were at moving public opinion. Party officials knew that adding new Democratic voters to the registration rolls was a crucial element in their strategy for 2012. Any insights were distorted by the artificial settings and by the tiny samples of demographic subgroups in traditional polls. another advised voters that they were now entitled to free regular check-ups and ought to schedule one.” says Chris Wyant. When the group sent direct mail in favor of Democratic gubernatorial candidates. “Isn’t that nuts? And people have been doing that for decades!” An experimental program would use those steps to develop a range of prospective messages that could be subjected to empirical testing in the real world. it had a far greater impact upon those who had been profiled as soft (or nonideological) Republicans. It wanted to take on the most vexing problem in politics: changing voters’ minds. each attached to a home address to which an application could be mailed. it became possible to measure the attributes of the people who were actually moved by an experiment’s impact. a 2008 field organizer who became the campaign’s general election director in Ohio four years later.

which had always had an exceptionally mature volunteer organization for a non--battleground state. Those in California. “We were able to persuade people who fell low on candidate support scores if we gave them a specific message. Traditionally. younger women liked them more when they were told about contraceptive coverage and new rules that prohibited insurance companies from charging women more. With these findings in hand. were more likely to become Obama supporters. Voters who’d been randomly selected from a group identified as persuadable were polled after a phone conversation that began with a volunteer reading from a script. turned out to be especially persuasive: voters called by Californians. and targeting. Obama’s campaign was pursuing a second. Obama’s strategists grew confident that they were no longer restricted to advertising as a channel for persuasion. “In fact. Sending volunteers to persuade voters would mean forcing them to interact with opponents. but to reach over for conservatives who were at odds with their party on gender concerns. The experiment also taught Obama’s field department about its volunteers. Campaigns have typically resisted relinquishing control of ground-level interactions with voters to risk such potentially combustible situations. A similar strategy of targeting an unexpected population emerged from a July EIP testing Obama’s messages aimed at women. The results were surprising.” But that movement came from quarters where a traditional campaign would never have gone hunting for minds it could change. even more audacious adventure in persuasion: one-on-one interaction. on a scale of 0 to 10. “You can hurt your candidate.” At the same time. it wasn’t to shore up interest among core parts of the Democratic coalition.” says Terry Walsh. That dramatic shift in the culture of electioneering was felt on the streets. when we did the Medicare EIPs. no matter what state they were in themselves. campaigns have restricted their persuasion efforts to channels like mass media or direct mail. language. When Paul Ryan was named to the Republican ticket in August. Obama’s advisors rushed out an EIP that compared different lines of attack about Medicare. Those scores suggested that they probably shared Republican attitudes. they felt they didn’t know enough about their supporters or volunteers. when Obama unveiled a direct-mail track addressing only women’s issues. however.” In February. “You can have a negative impact. who served as national deputy director of Organizing for America. As a result. we got positive movement that was very heartening. “The electorate *had seemed+ very inelastic. developed a program code-named Airwolf that matched county and state lists of people who had requested mail ballots with the campaign’s . a database applications developer. or with voters who were undecided because they were alienated from politics on delicate issues like abortion. The voters most responsive to the campaign’s arguments about equal-pay measures and women’s health.” says Jeremy Bird. but here was one thing that could pull them to Obama. who coördinated the campaign’s polling and paid-media spending. the likelihood that a voter could be pulled in Obama’s direction after a single volunteer interaction.when they received reminders about preventive care. “The whole goal of the women’s track was to pick off votes for Romney.” says Walsh. because it was at a time when we were not seeing a lot of movement in the electorate.” says Bird. They began sending trained volunteers to knock on doors or make phone calls with the objective of changing minds.000 conversations with the goal of winning new supporters. Chris Wegrzyn. The Obama team found that voters between 45 and 65 were more likely to change their views about the candidates after hearing Obama’s Medicare arguments than those over 65. were those whose likelihood of supporting the president was scored at merely 20 and 40 percent. “We definitely find certain people moved more than other people. but it was possible only because of advances in analytics. Analysts identified their attributes and made them the core of a persuasion model that predicted. Obama volunteers attempted 500. who were currently eligible for the program. where they can control presentation. it found.

in 2002. health-care. That was the structure Obama had abandoned after winning the nomination in 2008. “Our idea is to find the best firms to work with us. relative to the marketplace. but they didn’t feel a need to match those activities. and Brent McGoldrick. But the Republican winner’s relative sophistication in the primaries belied a poverty of expertise compared with the Obama campaign. said in July. a Virginia firm that was then a pioneer in linking information from consumer data warehouses to voter registration records and using it to develop individual-level predictive models. once they had. Romney had appeared to be the only Republican running a 21st-century campaign. “There’s a process of helping people learn about the tools so they can be a participant in the process. and then deliver them to the campaign’s databases. Romney remained dependent on TargetPoint to develop voter segments. but Republicans had done little to institutionalize that advantage in the years since. Lundry brought in Tom Wood. we could be the best at data in-house all the time. Democrats had not only matched Republicans in adopting commercial marketing techniques. where he helped financial-services. and online experiments came out of the incumbent’s campaign. By 2006. took leave from his post at the firm to assemble a data science unit within Romney’s headquarters. But Romney’s data science team was less than one-tenth the size of Obama’s analytics department.” he says. from fund-raising to communications. “We essentially built products for each of those various departments that were paired up with a massive database we had. asking them to return their ballots. often just once. a University of Chicago postdoctoral student in political science.” says Wagner. was turning his attention beyond the field. they fixated on trying to . Instead. housed in a windowless office known as the Cave—as an “in-house consultancy” with other parts of the campaign as its clients. Romney’s data scientists never tried to deepen their understanding of individual behavior.” As a result. a veteran of Bush’s 2004 campaign who had left politics for the consulting firm Financial Dynamics (later FTI Consulting). Bush’s reëlection campaign a significant edge in targeting. offering to help “solve their problems with data. “I don’t think we thought. By June of 2011. Zac Moffatt. a message thanking them and proposing other ways to be involved in the campaign. Romney’s advisors knew that Obama was building innovative internal data analytics departments. and energy companies communicate better. Without a large in-house staff to handle the massive national data sets that made it possible to test and track citizens. Since his first campaign for governor of Massachusetts.” Romney’s digital director. Alexander Gage. Throughout the primaries. and. Alex Lundry. he was chief analytics officer for the campaign and had begun making the rounds of the other units at headquarters. computational advertising. Such techniques had offered George W.list of e-mail addresses.” The Flow As job notices seeking specialists in text analytics. It was TargetPoint’s CEO. Wagner. “It is a fundamental way of tying together the online and offline worlds. The local organizer would receive daily lists of the voters on his or her turf who had outstanding ballots so that the campaign could follow up with personal contact by phone or at the doorstep. Mitt Romney’s advisors at the Republicans’ headquarters in Boston’s North End watched with a combination of awe and perplexity. they had moved ahead by integrating methods developed in the social sciences. Romney had relied upon -TargetPoint Consulting. In May a TargetPoint vice president. methodically banking early votes in states like Florida and Ohio before his disorganized opponents could establish operations there.” He imagined the analytics department— now a 54-person staff. who had coined the term “microtargeting” to describe the process. however. Likely Obama supporters would get regular reminders from their local field organizers. which he modeled on the corporate world’s approach to customer relationship management. To round out his team.

either through paid ads or through the news cycle.unlock one big. They began to think of ads as a “shock to the system”—a way to either introduce a new topic or restore focus on an area in which elite interest had faded. controversies like the one surrounding federal funding for the solar-power company Solyndra. the analysts added it to the list.” When a new concept (such as Obama’s offhand remark.” They initially classified 200 of them.” . that “you didn’t build that”) emerged as part of the election-year lexicon. That informal conversation among political-class elites typically led to traditional print or broadcast press coverage one to two days later. He turned to vector autoregression models. “We were necessarily reactive. Lundry’s team aimed to examine how every entity fared over time in each of two categories: the informal sphere of social media. Ultimately. Romney’s campaign tried to leverage its rivals’ strategy to shape its own. maybe that was evidence that Republicans should think so too. TargetPoint’s system for measuring the frequency and tone with which certain topics are mentioned across all media. “They had an enormous head start on us. because we were putting together the plane as it took off.” Within three or four days of a new entity’s entry into the conversation. Lundry’s team looked for patterns in the relationship between the National Dialogue Monitor’s data and Romney’s numbers in Gallup’s daily tracking polls. especially Twitter. and that. They tracked each entity on the National Dialogue Monitor. but they provided no guidance in how to allocate campaign resources in order to win the Electoral College.” Lundry says. including issues like the auto industry bailout. TargetPoint also integrated content collected from newspaper websites and closed-caption transcripts of broadcast programs. persistent mystery. it was possible to make a well-informed hypothesis about whether the topic was likely to win media attention by tracking whether it generated Twitter chatter.” he says. Lundry found. which equities traders use to isolate the influence of single variables on market movements. during a speech about our common dependence on infrastructure. Lundry wanted to assess the impact that each type of public attention had on what mattered most to them: Romney’s position in the horse race. they thought they had identified a three-step process they called “Wood’s Triangle. Assuming that Obama had superior ground-level data and analytics. and catchphrases like “the war on women. if Democrats thought a state or media market was competitive. might have an impact on the horse race. “There’s a very large causal leap you have to make from one to the other. “We saw this process over and over again. After 12 to 14 days. In this case. Those insights offered campaign officials a theory of information flows. By the end of July.” says Lundry. If an entity didn’t gain its own energy—as when the Republicans charged over the summer that the White House had waived the work requirements in the federal welfare rules—Lundry would propose a “re-shock to the system” with another ad on the subject five to seven days later. and the journalistic product that campaigns call earned press coverage. His team converted topics of political communication into discrete units they called “entities. an entity had moved through the system and exhausted its ability to move public opinion—so he would recommend to the campaign’s communications staff that they move on to something new. which Lundry framed this way: “How can we get a sense of whether this advertising is working?” “You usually get GRPs and tracking polls. referring to the gross ratings points that are the basic unit of measuring television buys.” Lundry decided to focus on more manageable ways of measuring what he called the information flow. in turn.

when a special election was held to fill an open congressional seat in upstate New York.000 of them had voted for John McCain in 2008. In 2010.” Romney’s advisors might have formed a theory about the broader media environment. When Wagner was hired as the DNC’s targeting director. he became responsible for collecting voter information and analyzing it to help the committee approach individual voters by direct mail and phone. he began predicting the elections’ outcomes. Wagner successfully predicted the final margin within 150 votes—well before Election Day. and around 7. the way Microsoft’s Bing approached Google: trying to reverse-engineer the market leader’s code by studying the visible output.” Lundry says. Even though the area was known to savvy ad buyers as one of the places where a media market crosses state lines. Starting in June. the Romney deputy political director who oversaw the meetings. That fall. Democrats suffered their worst defeat in decades. the Obama campaign in abeyance. Obama had aired 68 ads in Dothan. and Alabama one of the safest Republican states. and he called the result Survey Manager. In early September. “We watch where the president goes. Pundits struggled to explain the rise of the Tea Party. to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat left empty by the death of Ted Kennedy. housed at the DNC. in essence. control of the House flipped and the Democrats’ lead in the Senate shrank to an ungovernably slim margin.com/featuredstory/508836/how-obama-used-big-data-to-rally-voters-part-1/ By Sasha Issenberg December 16. 2012 Two years after Barack Obama’s election as president. reforming the health-insurance and financial markets. Months later. Lundry noticed that the week after the Democratic convention.Romney’s political department began holding regular meetings to look at where in the country the Obama campaign was focusing resources like ad dollars and the president’s time. but whatever was sending Obama hunting for a small pocket of votes was beyond their measurement.” Technology Review: How President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters.” says Jeremy Bird. Dothan was one of the country’s smallest media markets.” It is yet another thing to be right five months before you’re going to lose. Obama’s media-buying strategy proved particularly hard to decipher. were swept away in the midterm elections.” says McGoldrick. forecasting the margins of victory with what turned out to be . “This is a hard-core Republican media market. “It’s another thing to be right when you’re going to lose. “It’s incredibly tiny. Part 1 http://www. He asked the DNC’s technology department to develop software that could turn that information into tables. But Wagner’s Survey Manager correctly predicted that the Republican Scott Brown was likely to prevail in the strongly Democratic state. who served as national deputy director of Organizing for America. But for Democrats. The congressional majorities that had given Obama his legislative successes. the Democratic National Committee failed its first test of the Obama era: it had not kept the Obama coalition together. Alabama. pollsters projected that Martha Coakley was certain to win another special election.000 Florida voters. Dothan TV stations reached only about 9. As the 2010 midterms approached.” Dan ­Centinello. But he appreciated that the raw material he was feeding into his statistical models amounted to a series of surveys on voters’ attitudes and preferences. as part of his standard review. there was bleak consolation in all this: Dan Wagner had seen it coming. said over the summer. a town near the Florida border.technologyreview. It was. But they were advertising there. “We could tell. The goal was to try to divine the calculations behind those decisions. Voters’ disappointment with the Obama agenda was evident as independents broke right and Democrats stayed home. “that there was something in the algorithms that was telling them what to run. in January of 2009. Wagner built statistical models for selected Senate races and 74 congressional districts. “It’s one thing to be right when you’re going to win.

it knew exactly how it could turn you into the type of person it wanted you to be. Wagner could also calculate how much the Democrats’ mobilization programs would do to increase turnout among supporters. “Once that first special *election+ happened. His approach amounted to a decisive break with 20th-century tools for tracking public opinion. But he hadn’t gotten there with traditional polls. and smartphones to participate in the political process. A mobile app allowed a canvasser to download and return walk sheets without ever entering a campaign office. Dan Wagner had been working at a Chicago economic consultancy. when he fell for Barack Obama and decided he wanted to work on his home-state senator’s 2008 presidential campaign. his word was the gold standard at the DNC. which revolved around quarantining small samples that could be treated as representative of the whole. and “targeted sharing” protocols mined an Obama backer’s Facebook network in search of friends the campaign wanted to register. and in most races he knew it wouldn’t be enough to cover the gap revealing itself in Survey Manager’s tables. But underneath all that were scores describing particular voters: a new political currency that predicted the behavior of individual humans. The Scores Four years earlier.” The significance of Wagner’s achievement went far beyond his ability to declare winners months before Election Day. the most intense battleground in the country. handling data entry for the state voter file that guided Obama to his crucial victory in the Iowa caucuses.improbable accuracy. His congressional predictions were off by an average of only 2. was soon in Des Moines.5 percent. his campaign became celebrated for its use of technology—much of it developed by an unusual team of coders and engineers—that redefined how individuals could use the Web. His first clue that the party was in trouble came from thousands of individual survey calls matched to rich statistical profiles in the DNC’s databases. depending on which attributes pollsters asked about or how consumer marketers classified them for commercial purposes. He bounced from state to state through the long primary calendar. using forecasting skills developed studying econometrics at the University of Chicago.” says Mitch Stewart. Core Democratic voters were telling the DNC’s callers that they were much less likely to vote than statistical probability suggested. in which voters were no longer trapped in old political geographies or tethered to traditional demographic categories. Wagner had emerged from a cadre of analysts who thought of voters as individuals and worked to aggregate projections about their opinions and behavior until they revealed a composite picture of everyone. He had counted votes one by one. After the voters returned Obama to office for a second term. he was named lead targeter for the Great Lakes/Ohio River Valley region. a Web platform called Dashboard gamified volunteer activity by ranking the most active supporters. “That was a proof point for a lot of people who don’t understand the math behind it but understand the value of what that math produces. then 24. mobilize. . The campaign didn’t just know who you were. growing familiar with voter data and the ways of using statistical models to intelligently sort the electorate. such as age or gender. Now it was up to a candidate who wanted to lead those people to build a campaign that would interact with them the same way. social media. For the general election. the electorate could be seen as a collection of individual citizens who could each be measured and assessed on their own terms. Wagner. Instead. or persuade. Organizing for America’s director. His techniques marked the fulfillment of a new way of thinking. a decade in the making.

These scores were derived from an unprecedented volume of ongoing survey work.” says Jeremy .000 interviews in a long-form version that was more like a traditional poll. “We realized there was a problem with how our data and infrastructure interacted with the rest of the campaign. many of his top advisors decamped to Washington to make preparations for governing. all intended to free the party from the traditional dependence on outside vendors. There. to the outside world. technically flawless. assigning each voter to one of its microtargeting segments in the summer. and we ought to be able to offer it to all parts of the campaign. McCain’s advisors were unable to recalculate the probability that those voters would support their candidate as the dynamics of the race changed. run its statistical model just once. knowledge about people was stored separately from data about the campaign’s interactions with them. party leaders signed off on a $280. the task force members knew. but didn’t do ’10. Within the campaign. Their demands.000 license to use Vertica software from Hewlett-Packard that allowed their servers to access not only the party’s 180-million-person voter file but all the data about volunteers. To derive individual-level predictions.After Obama’s victory. not the offerings of consultants and vendors. Obama’s targeters had assigned every voter in the country a pair of scores based on the probability that the individual would perform two distinct actions that mattered to the campaign: casting a ballot and supporting Obama. Wagner was told to stay behind and serve on a post-election task force that would review a campaign that had looked. the campaign’s call centers conducted 5. but as the establishment itself.2 million calls a day to survey voters’ opinions. For each battleground state every week. Many of those who went to Washington after the 2008 election in order to further the president’s political agenda returned to Chicago in the spring of 2011 to work on his reëlection. “People who did ’08. Obama’s scores. would shape the marketplace. For four years. Obama would run his final race not as an insurgent against a party establishment. and 1. and came back in ’11 or ’12—they had the hardest culture clash. on the other hand. But the task force knew the next campaign wasn’t stuck with that situation. algorithms trawled for patterns between these opinions and the data points the campaign had assembled for every voter—as many as one thousand variables each. As was typical in political information infrastructure. adjusted weekly. Their report recommended developing a “constituent relationship management system” that would allow staff across the campaign to look up individuals not just as voters or volunteers or donors or website users but as citizens in full. the Obama data operations were understood to have shortcomings. an almost perfect cycle of microtargeting models directed volunteers to scripted conversations with specific voters at the door or over the phone. and those who had interacted with Obama online. however. drawn from voter registration records. Wegrzyn became the DNC’s lead targeting developer and oversaw a series of costly acquisitions.” says Chris Wegrzyn. In the 2008 presidential election. a database applications developer who served on the task force. The efficiency and scale of that process put the Democrats well ahead when it came to profiling voters. and past campaign contacts. John McCain’s campaign had.000 to 10. their team would control the Democratic Party’s apparatus. The chastening losses they had experienced in Washington separated them from those who had known only the ecstasies of 2008. consumer data warehouses. Later. donors. mostly because the databases built for those purposes had been developed by different consultants who had no interest in making their systems work together. This innovation was most valued in the field. in most states.000 so-called short-form interviews that quickly gauged a voter’s preferences. The committee installed a Siemens Enterprise System phone-dialing unit that could put out 1. Each of those interactions produced data that streamed back into Obama’s servers to refine the models pointing volunteers toward the next door worth a knock. responding to new events like Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential nomination or the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

We started off with a hypothesis and then we came up with several tests to prove (or disprove) it. But those who went to Washington and returned to Chicago developed a particular appreciation for Wagner’s methods of working with the electorate at an atomic level. Soon our colleagues from other teams gathered around us to see what the excitement was about. our hypothesis might be "less copy is better" and to prove that we would chose 5 areas of the site to remove copy. How we a/b tested Optimization was a science for us. but Obama’s analysts could look at the Democrats’ vote totals in each precinct and identify the people most likely to have backed him. . We called this project Sequential because it turned our donate form into a sequenced process. who became national field director on the reëlection campaign. We had enough traffic to get results on each test within minutes. It was captivating to say the least. Essentially the idea was to get users to the top of the mountain by showing them a small incline rather than a steep slope. through personal contacts Kyle Rush: Optimization at the Obama campaign: a/b testing http://kylerush.456. yet we finished them in just a couple hours. imagery and page speed. They would reassemble the coalition.net/blog/optimization-at-the-obama-campaign-ab-testing/ By Kyle Rush December 12. We were working with a page that was engaging and had a low error rate. one by one. 2012 Optimization was the name of the game for the Obama Digital team. As you might imagine this yielded some fascinating findings on how user behavior is influenced by variables like design. We used several tools to measure the affect. Google Analytics for general data gathering and the Blue State Digital tools to enhance or gut check our data. At the same time. especially in some of the fastest-growing demographic categories. copy. Optimizely for a/b tests. Pundits talked in the abstract about reassembling Obama’s 2008 coalition. Obama’s campaign began the election year confident it knew the name of every one of the 69. they knew they would need to succeed at registering and mobilizing new voters. What we did on the optimization team was some of the most exciting work I've ever done. They may have cast those votes by secret ballot. Design and Interaction By June of 2012 our donate pages had undergone nearly 14 months of optimization. usability. Our plan was to separate the field groups into four smaller steps so that users did not feel overwhelmed by the length of the form. But within the campaign. We had never expected a traffic surge like that. We quickly huddled behind Manik Rathee— who happened to be the frontend engineer implementing experiments that day—and thought up new tests on the fly. but we kept with it for the most part. It was a way of thinking that perfectly aligned with their -simple theory of what it would take to win the president reëlection: get everyone who had voted for him in 2008 to do it again. The low hanging fruit had been picked and it was difficult for variations to beat the control. but it still looked like a long form. To solve that problem we started work on a variation that made the form look easier to complete.897 Americans whose votes had put him in the White House. the goal was literal. to make up for any 2008 voters who did defect.Bird. Of course not every a/b test followed this strategy. We had a queue of about 5 ready-to-go a/b tests that would normally take a couple days to get through. Overall we executed about 500 a/b tests on our web pages in a 20 month period which increased donation conversions by 49% and sign up conversions by 161%. We optimized just about everything from web pages to emails. Sticking to a hypothesis was beneficial because it allowed us to retain focus on our goals. For example. I still remember the incredible traffic surge we got the day the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare.

Lots of people are familiar with classic copy tests like this one. Users who had Quick Donate could donate with a single click through email or on the web and even through SMS. yet they can produce some of the biggest gains. etc. usability. Personal information. The program was cutting edge because nobody had engineered donations through email before and at the time the Federal Election Commission did not allow political campaigns to use cell phone carrier short codes to raise money through text messages (the FEC later reversed this decision after Quick Donate launched). It was a gamble because it took a decent amount of development time. personal information. Turns out you can get more users to the top of the mountain if you show them a gradual incline instead of a steep slope. Browsers that did not support CSS animations were given a JavaScript fallback. We used CSS animations to switch between field groups because they are visually smoother and much more performant than their JavaScript counterparts. but the most persuasive was error rates. We considered a number of factors to determine the order of the field groups. but how did it fare in a/b testing? By turning the long donation form into 4 smaller steps we increased the conversion rate by more than 5%. We placed the fields into four groups: amount. 2. billing information and occupation/employer. nothing in a required field or an improperly formatted email address). copy has the highest ROI. After vigorous optimization we ended up with what would almost be the final version of Sequential on August 7th. Quick Donate users donated four times . Our donate pages were responsive so we enabled the Sequential functionality on screen widths greater than 1023px to keep the mobile donation process as simple as possible. By putting the easier field groups first we not only lowered the engagement barrier (all you had to do was click a donation amount button to get started vs. The programs was so successful that the stats behind it are kind of overwhelming. By the end of the campaign more 1. typing your first name). This made it easier for users to find and correct errors because they were looking at only a few form fields rather than all 16 at the same time. This is because copy adjustments are just about the easiest change to make on a web page. About halfway through the campaign we figured out that of all variables that affect user behavior (design. The billing field group produced the second most errors because it is hard for users to enter a 15-16 digit credit card correctly. Like 37 Signals we had lots of success with altering the copy on our web pages. In late 2011 we launched a product called Quick Donate which made donating extremely fast and easy.g. Using this information we determined the field group order: 1. Copy It probably comes as no surprise that copy affects conversions. 2012 and it replaced our standard donation form on August 7th. We began a/b testing the first iteration of Sequential on July 26th. imagery. We were very happy with the finished product because we felt like we had achieved our goal to make the donation form simpler. On November 1st we were delighted to see that our friends at the Romney campaign liked it so much. The occupation/employer fields generated the most errors because users would leave them blank even though they were required—people don't like giving out information they think is unecessary.5 million Quick Donate users donated $115 million. but we put our best foot forward. occupation/employer. Billing information and 4.We had no idea if it would work. 3. This also had the latent effect of lowering requests to our servers since we did not process the donation until all form fields were valid. For a better experience with validation errors we used JavaScript to validate the fields in each field group when users clicked the next button. but also to produce a sense of investment before users reached the difficult parts of the form. Donation amount.). For months we had been tracking validation errors which occured when users submitted an invalid value in a form field (e.

the First Lady and everyone else. We tested many variations of this page. save your payment information. in your account settings. we increased conversions by 21%. Conclusion We knew from the beginning how valuable a/b testing could be in helping us achieve our goals and we took it seriously. First. our splash page was the subject of a/b tests with different photos. We spent countless hours thinking critically about user psychology and implementing our ideas . We called this the Quick Donate opt-in page and it received a lot of traffic since the campaign brought in tens of millions of donations. we were also delighted to see that the Romney campaign loved Quick Donate. By changing the photo on the splash page we lifted conversions by more than 19%. We took advantage of this by testing a ton of images. Our idea was to make the headline seem more connected to the donation that users had just made. We had several photographers that took lots of amazing photos of the President. We tested photos just about everywhere from donate pages to sign up forms and about everywhere else you can imagine. To sweeten the deal even more the First Lady would be there dinner as well. but possibly the biggest impact had to do with the context in which the photo was used. Underneath the password field was the option to enable SMS donations. Our new headline read "Now. After submitting a donation we gave users the option to create and account and save their credit card using the information they had just submitted with the donation. If you want to see what you missed out on. There were two ways to sign up for Quick Donate.as often and gave three times as much money. you got a free trip for yourself and a guest to have dinner with the President. If you won. We had so many great pictures of the previous Dinner with Barack contest that we wanted to see which performed the best. Similar to the 2008 campaign. save your billing information. Previous tests showed that large photos with focus on the President increased conversions. you could create a BarackObama. One of the splash pages we ran was for a contest called Dinner with Barack. The first was a medium shot of the President at the dinner table. Optimizing the splash page with a/b tests was a lot of fun because it received so much traffic that results came in quickly. The program received a lot of optimization simply because of its success. We found that there are many variables in photos that can affect conversions.com account and then. The original headline of the page—which had not been tested at this point—read "Save your payment information for next time. you can still watch video from several of the dinners. but it didn't have much context as you nothing else was in view/focus. The second photo had a wider frame that revealed the First Lady and two dinner guests. Imagery Photography was a huge part of the Obama brand. By making the follow up ask more connected with the first ask. In the following test we had two photos. As with layout and usability we learned a lot about how users react to different kinds of imagery. but one of my favorites was when we adjusted the headline. The second way we designed to be much easier." The first headline made the Quick Donate opt-in seem disconnected from the donation while the second did exactly the opposite. As with Sequential." That is pretty simple and straightforward and we definitely didn't want to make it longer. The page itself was very simple: Users with an existing account only needed to enter a password and users without an account only needed to create one. We hoped that users would be more likely to convert if they could see just how close they would be sitting to the President of the United States during dinner.

sometimes taking desks within the building. though he declined to name or number the employees who worked for President Obama and Mr. with their vast ad budgets. too. imagery. "We've worked onsite with a number of clients and agencies to help them develop and implement their digital campaigns. In looking at the overall results I think you could say our efforts paid off. who handled digital ad buys in 2008 for Sen. where your own data is your own data. Ad Age: Election Embeds: Facebook. got some. But as the election fades. Romney. sign up conversions by 161% and we were able to apply our findings to other areas and products. Along the way we uncovered lots of interesting ways in which design. He said Google did not work closely with the McCain campaign. this is a first for politics. Google and Facebook frequently change aspects of their ad platforms. "How close are you going to let your vendors in?" said Eric Frenchman. particularly Google and Facebook receive large portions of online political ad budgets." said a Facebook spokesman. The speed of political campaigning demands constant attention as messaging and targeting are adjusted on the fly. However the affect our optimization efforts had on conversion rates was not the only benefit. "Google staffers were hand-selected by Google to sit in our office and help us. Digital and social-media platforms. It raises the question of just how much campaign data were Facebook and Google privy to." said a Google spokeswoman. so it's no surprise the presidential campaigns. "I guess I grew up in the old school. Ad Age has learned more about just how closely the two largest sellers of digital advertising worked with the campaigns. creating a desire for someone intricately familiar with them. Multiple people who worked closely with the Barack Obama campaign did not respond to requests for interviews.with a/b tests. John McCain's digital consulting firm Connell Donatelli. even sending employees to work onsite at campaign offices and their respective digital consultancies. Google Got Cozy With Campaigns http://adage. 2012 Big brands and agencies are used to lots of attention from Facebook and Google. We had developers working around the clock to ensure that we always had an a/b test running. Tradition of embedding The internet giants have a tradition of sending employees to work closely with advertisers and agencies. We were able to second guess our assumptions about how a web page should look and behave. "Facebook serviced both the Obama and Romney campaigns as closely as we would any big client. for example. But they also require a new level of specialized expertise." confirmed Zac Moffatt. usability and page speed affect user behavior. Google. In addition. She declined to comment on similar relationships with political clients. We increased donation conversions by 49%. But while the practice may be business-as-usual for consumer-packaged goods." . digital director for Mitt Romney's campaign. copy. We were able to answer very specific questions like what kind of form input and label alignments are best for conversions and error rates.com/article/digital/election-embeds-facebook-google-cozy-campaigns/238693/ By Kate Kaye December 10. We learned how to answer questions and we ended up with a treasure trove of best practices. sent several employees to Procter & Gamble's Tide division as part of a talent exchange in 2008.

political campaigns need new methods of making sure their messages reach those people.Added another consultant who's worked with Democratic and progressive groups: "I think it would raise eyebrows -." said an exec at an online ad network specializing in political ad buys. Google and Facebook had separate salespeople dedicated either to Republicans. campaign observers and opponents. despite the fact that Google and Facebook staffers were sometimes embedded in campaign offices rather than with the consulting firms. "Google has all this control over the pipeline of inventory and now they're getting potentially into the strategy and the spending decisions.aka Super PACs -. . They were required merely to report what they paid to the digital-media consultancies. Targeted Victory." he said. Bully Pulpit Interactive did the same for the Obama camp. Democrats or Independent expenditure and advocacy groups -. campaigns avoid having to report the amount of money they paid to specific media outlets for ads or related services. GigaOm: How Obama’s data scientists built a volunteer army on Facebook http://gigaom. I find that troubling. on the issue of partisanship. Still. Google and Facebook executives told Ad Age the attention they gave the campaigns was normal for any big client in need of extra support. making it easier to report their disbursements to the Federal Election Commission and providing less information for the prying eyes of media. a law firm that specializes in election law. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg held a fundraiser for his re-election campaign at her home. Obama for America’s Rayid Ghani took to Facebook to find not just possible voters. says the embeds are perfectly legal and chalks them up to old-fashioned hustling by new ad-sellers looking to grab campaign dollars. 2012 As voters increasingly spend their leisure time with things other than newspapers and television. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt was a special guest at a fundraiser for him. Both campaigns used outside firms to handle their online ad buys. having Facebook and Google execs helping direct buys could potentially be concerning to the GOP. Google worked with its lawyers to ensure work being done by embedded employees was done at the direction of Google. In 2012. It raises another question: Where does selling products and services end and strategic consulting begin? "It creates a very awkward situation. to like-minded groups that were legally prohibited from coordinating with the official candidate campaigns.you're actually embedding people with a presidential campaign?" The Center for Responsive Politics declined to comment. a partner at Wiley Rein.to ensure knowledge about media buys and spending plans didn't leak to opponents or. By using these outside firms. but possible campaign workers. considering that top execs of both companies publicly support President Obama. Moffatt.com/data/how-obamas-data-scientists-built-a-volunteer-army-on-facebook/ By Derrick Harris December 8." Big spenders Exactly how much money the Romney and Obama camps spent with Google and Facebook is not known. Moreover. in the case of Super PACs. "I don't think that traditional media outlets are as proactive as some of these internet sites that sell advertising. did digital ad buys and other digital work for the Romney camp. Jan Witold Baran. a firm co-founded by Mr. It's not clear that the 2012 presidential campaigns spent as much as the typical large commercial brand on Google or Facebook.

to get active knocking on doors or perhaps even to switch sides.No matter how good your social media team is. Then. the Obama campaign relied primarily on phone calls and neighborhood canvassing in order to reach people. as well. he said. Speaking about increasingly targeted online advertising. it suggested they give them a call or talk in-person. Now. and now I’m just going to put the same information on a Facebook page. Ghani said many older voters are still best reached via non-digital means. though. he noted. If someone was going to spread a message to 20 people. the prevailing strategy is “‘I used to use email. older people will probably be more engaged online and perhaps with mobile apps. he reiterated. “Reaching *people+ through the channels they’re most engaged in is going to have to become mainstream *in political campaigns+. it’s more important to inform those interactions with voter intelligence than just to make them. It really was all about what was most effective for each individual. and how it asked them. On the other hand. because there’s only so much money to spend on any given medium. For many organizations.’” However. Four years from now.” Ghani said.” Ghani said. too. the chances are it’s never done anything like this. and they might not even be watching a lot of over-the-air or cable television. During a recent interview. “The more local the contact is. Not that the president’s campaign abandoned those traditional methods. However. Rather than just using Facebook as a channel for posting messages and tracking its followers’ feelings. to donate money. Younger people will be even more difficult to reach via traditional telephones. Because Ghani’s team had done so much work integrating its myriad data sets into a single view.” Changing times call for changing communications The effort to build an intelligent system like this was necessary because younger voters’ means of communication had shifted so greatly even since 2008. The key was a model for determining who among its followers were the best messengers. Ghani explained. So. it was better able to decide who could be most easily persuaded to vote for the first time. “You don’t want to waste impressions on people . “the more likely *people+ are to take action. and even when his team was using volunteers to reach those demographics. many young people aren’t reachable on landlines at all. rather than blast all of President Obama’s 30 million Facebook fans or 20 million Twitter followers with the same plea for cash or neighborhood organizers. Ghani sees a very different picture again in terms of how campaigns will reach their voters. Essentially. the president’s campaign used an abundance of online and offline data in order to hyper-personalize messages and get the most bang for its buck in terms of outreach. Obama for America Chief Scientist Rayid Ghani compared his team’s social media approach in 2012 to the shift in web content from reposted print material to material designed for the web. the campaign was able to match up supporters’ friends against voting lists and determine how it should approach supporters to reach their friends. Ghani explained. however. who they might be able to persuade. but they are always connected to some form of social media. the Obama for America data science team turned social media into a tool for efficiently recruiting the human resources it needed leading into the election’s home stretch. the campaign wanted to ensure they reached 20 people most likely to take action in some way. the campaign was able to make informed decisions about whom it asked for what. Ghani explained. and what actions they might be willing to take. That it was coming from friends rather than the campaign was critical to the strategy’s success.

.com/news/intelligencer/obama-nerds-2012-12/ By Jason Zengerle December 7.” However. an analyst on the team. 2012 The race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.who are not in your target audience. Ghani’s team wasn’t writing speeches or managing communications. a month after the election. The campaign’s targeted outreach efforts on Facebook. still. Speechwriters were therefore able to see how the messages they wanted to convey were actually the ones that were covered. data was making a difference. so the 2012 team didn’t have to begin with the cupboards bare when it got to work in mid-2011. That’s because although the work Ghani’s team wasn’t enough to win an election on its own. he thinks it “would be a shame to let it go” when the next presidential campaign team is built. only got up and running in August following an extensive effort to integrate the campaign’s myriad online and offline data sources. This is especially true considering how little budget campaigns typically have between elections to focus on technology. … If you’re lactose-intolerant. any competitive edge is worth having (while failures can have harsh consequences).” And even on the campaign trail. Very hard work. Data sources will change. he explained. as will technology.” Ghani said) and to get some foundational data-management systems in place. but also CTO Harper Reed’s unit and the team led by Chris Wegrzyn responsible for building the analytics and data infrastructure — when you consider the short time frame in which they had to do it. Matthew Rattigan.” and neither candidate did much in the ensuing months to elevate the contest. joyless slog. it was very important. he said. he added. and “we only scratched the surface of it. built a tool for looking at the coverage of speeches in local newspapers so it could break down by geographic region how people reacted and which parts were quoted most. And in tight elections. was “a grinding. it had just a year and a half to recruit a team of data scientists (“finding people who were qualified was extremely hard. Politico declared in June.” Ghani said. Obama’s campaign team has managed to cast a 2008-like hue on their 2012 victory. “You need to make sure you have people whose job it is to be thinking about this stuff all the time. But. for example. Absent an abundance of money and the right people during election season. Given all that work. falling short in every respect of the larger-than-life personalities and debates of the 2008 campaign. Ghani considered himself lucky that he and his team inherited a handful of staff and techniques left over from the 2010 mid-term election. but it was helping the people who did those things do them better. very short window It’s pretty amazing to think about how much the Obama for America Tech team accomplished — not just Ghani’s data science team. there’s no point in showing you ads for yogurt and dairy products. “We were basically a political campaign with the problems of a large enterprise. “Our biggest challenge this time around was getting all the *online and offline+ data together in one place. corporate data architecture is an ongoing concern — they don’t build systems for one-off jobs then abandon them. Yet now. Reaching the right voters at the right time with the right message will become even more important in future elections. For example. but having something in place is better than nothing.” NY Mag: Noble Nerds http://nymag. Not that what it did will still be totally relevant four — or even two — years from now. Ghani said.

the president’s 33 million Facebook fans “were experiencing a whole different campaign that was largely positive.” Goff explained at Harvard. maybe 2012 wasn’t that different from 2008 after all. and that kind of thing. WSJ: Obama’s Campaign Used Salesforce. his campaign in 2012 was still able to raise more money and turn out more volunteers than in 2008. but thanks in large part to the geeks who were obsessively testing which e-mail subject lines netted the most donations (“Hey” was surprisingly lucrative) and studying Americans’ viewing habits to figure out how to best target campaign ads (TV Land turned out to be a voter gold mine).” Similar stories soon followed in the New York Times and Bloomberg Businessweek.com/cio/2012/12/07/obamas-campaign-used-salesforce-com-to-gauge-feelings-of-corevoters/ By Joel Schectman December 7. “We should be doing shout-outs all day long for Teddy and all the people who were really looking at this. the tech side was the only part of the Obama operation that could credibly be framed as a throwback to the old Hope and Change: Despite the slash-and-burn quality of the Obama reelection campaign as seen by America’s television viewers. That obviously didn’t come to pass. being replaced by the work of quants and computer coders who can crack massive data sets for insight. With turnout for the presidential election expected to be far lower than the historic highs of 2008. “Luckily for us.—“That’s more than the number of people who vote. After their historic victory in 2008. Obama’s ad maker. “The analytics operation … was awesome through this campaign. In fact. Just like reporters.” Bird told me in Cambridge before going on to explain not only his grand designs of electing another Democrat president in 2016. for many Obama voters. But now they are making similar predictions—not because of their man but because of their machine. they predicted that their candidate was so amazing that he could single-handedly transform Washington by sheer force of will. I don’t see anyone on the Republican side who understands what we did. the nerd narrative gives the Obamanauts hope for the future. it was Obamanauts like digital director Teddy Goff and field director Jeremy Bird—not David Axelrod and Jim Messina—who were treated like rock stars. By the time politicos and reporters gathered in Cambridge late last month for Harvard’s quadrennial Campaign Decision Makers Conference.” And when you consider that Obama’s Facebook fans were themselves friends with 98 percent of Facebook users in the U. but also for turning Texas blue. they’re gushing about the ingenuity of their apps and algorithms.” Jim Margolis.wsj.The secret of their successful spin: Instead of talking about how their guy won a second term by methodically defining—and demonizing—his buffoon of an opponent. the reelection campaign of President Barack Obama utilized cloud based software commonly used by businesses to manage their sales contacts.” The Revenge of the Obama Nerds narrative does have the benefit of being true. The new story line began to emerge the day after the election. about fighting for education. among other publications. “What they were experiencing was this uplifting stuff about supporting the middle class. Even more important. . told the gathering. Obama’s supporters weren’t nearly as enthusiastic as they’d been four years ago. when Time’s Michael Scherer wrote in a postmortem that the president’s team showed that “the role of the campaign pros in Washington who make decisions on hunches and experience is rapidly dwindling.” Goff said—then the Obamanauts can plausibly argue that. Obama for America needed to make sure its core supporters stayed engaged with the campaign.S.com To Gauge Feelings of Core Voters http://blogs. 2012 To organize millions of emails and messages through its website.

city or town.com. “*The platform allowed] the campaign to aggregate sentiment in real time and [gave it] the ability to and mobilize people in the field. it spent more than $8. at a time when Democrats feared turnout would be much lower than in 2008.579.com/media/%E2%80%9C-hope-forward-catherine-bracy December 6.701. according to Kundra. a spokeswoman for the disbanded campaign. according to campaign finance disclosures. the system automatically created tags from words in the inquiries—like “polling” or “contribution. from 2009 to 2011. The tool allowed the campaign to keep its finger on the pulse of some of the valuable core decided-voter group that reached out to the campaign.000 on Salesforce. 2012 Obama Digital Org http://www. Michael Slaby.” and displayed issues on a dashboard campaign staffers could look at to figure out what concerns or questions were surging in citizen correspondences with the campaign.html#digital Last updated December 5. 2012 PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Betsy Hoover VIDEO: http://personaldemocracy.com.commentarymagazine.That technology. declined to comment beyond the release. Kundra joined Salesforce seven months after leaving government service. phone and through the campaign’s website. The tool scoured messages for keywords such as “healthcare” or “education. Salesforce declined to comment on the size of the deal.” said Vivek Kundra. chief information and innovation officer for the disbanded campaign.org/candidates/obamaorg.com/media/%E2%80%9C-hope-forward%E2%80%9D-ethan-roeder December 6. the number totals $82.com/media/%E2%80%9C-hope-forward%E2%80%9D-betsy-hoover December 6. 2012 PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Catherine Bracy VIDEO: http://personaldemocracy.” Kundra said. allowing the campaign to adapt its ground game in real time. Those insights could help staff in the field that had mobile versions of the dashboard.” Katie Hogan. To sort through the messages and get questions routed to the right staffer in the campaign’s sprawling organization.7 million messages– as many as 80. 2012 Commentary: Is The GOP Digital Team (Still) In Denial? http://www. Kundra previously served as the first CIO of the federal government. 2012 PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Teddy Goff VIDEO: http://personaldemocracy.com’s collaboration and social network monitoring tool. In a statement provided to CIO Journal by Salesforce.000 per day— received by email.com/2012/12/07/is-the-gop-digital-team-still-in-denial/ .3 million on technology products and services from technology vendors. from Salesforce. tracked the 5.com/media/%E2%80%9C-hope-forward%E2%80%9D-teddy-goff December 6. PDF: “From Hope To Forward” | Ethan Roeder VIDEO: http://personaldemocracy. executive vice president for emerging markets at Saleforce. The dashboard also allowed staffers to look at what issues were trending by state.p2012. The campaign spent around $155. In all. If online advertising is included. said: “Key to the campaign’s success was a technology platform that allowed us to engage with constituents and make data-driven decisions in real time.

” The digital divide between the two sides is not insurmountable. Where the Obama campaign’s content and emails were tailored to the interests of individually targeted demographic communities based on topics of interest and other data-mined priorities. Domenech contends. “We’re f—ing gonna win this thing. with a few exceptions.By Bethany Mandel December 7.” Unfortunately. Yesterday a “private” meeting (which was immediately reported on by sources present) took place between some members of Romney’s digital team and other major conservative digital strategists. it appears that his advice on the usefulness of these consultants has more or less fallen on deaf ears. that even taking the strength of Obama’s digital team into account. contending that a group of consultants were “the seeds of Mitt Romney’s ruin and the RNC’s get out the vote (GOTV) effort collapsed — bled to death by charlatan consultants making millions off the party. Late last month RedState’s Erick Erickson had a stinging post on the incestuous and unproductive relationship between consultants and the Romney campaign. with data miners and tech gurus culled from Silicon Valley. the contrasts were infuriating. There were plenty of people working on the digital side. The quiet was deafening.” That attitude calls to mind the overconfidence that marked most of the Romney campaign. The campaign was also fiercely hierarchical. The fact that this meeting left many leaving feeling positive is a worrisome indication that . Benjamin Domenech has an excellent article on the Republicans’ broken technological machine. For digital staffers who recognized they were playing catch-up with the Obama machine that had never stopped building after 2008. Domenech explains: While digital efforts were the primary focus of the Obama campaign from the beginning. with an operation that seemed remarkably inefficient for a campaign that was supposed to do things with the rigor of Romney’s research-intensive firm. the Romney campaign didn’t scratch the surface of what they should have accomplished on the digital front. or whether the name came to the database through a petition about health care or energy policy. then Facebook-browsing. In it he explains why the Romney digital team was unable to catch up to Obama’s record-setting digital team that many have likened to “Big Brother” in its scope. Romney’s campaign didn’t even make distinctions between whether someone had given $5 or $500. and that discussing the enormous gap between the two sides didn’t overwhelm or discourage those present. to the surprise of some longtime Romney staffers who found their ideas for innovation shunted aside by senior staff and consultants who were unapproachable and unresponsive. but tasks were poorly assigned and hampered by restrictive approval processes. The issues of the Romney campaign were varied and are not only due to the failure of Project Orca. Romney’s staff was politically diverse and more used to the world of business than politics—some had never worked on a political campaign before. who announced boldly in a staff meeting. but it should not be filling anyone in the conservative movement with anything resembling confidence either. Its digital operation was staffed after the rest of the campaign. 2012 In this month’s issue of COMMENTARY. and the grassroots. its donors. they were a relatively late addition to the Romney effort. Roll Call reported that “One source said the meeting was so positive that it was almost as if Romney had won. It appears that many found it to be a positive and uplifting experience. Frustration set in. and I agree. then boredom. In Domenech’s piece he quotes Romney pollster Neil Newhouse. especially after the first debate. Bain Capital.

but those same ads can live online indefinitely. 5. Triangulation: Harper Reed Interview http://twit. Even though Bleeker was on the winning team. a candidate may be able to show popularity on a Facebook or Twitter page through the number of “likes. 2012 As you’re reading Gut Check. where it could post relevant messages in respective areas. “We were doing 40 to 50 posts a day that most people didn’t see” because they were showing up in targeted areas.” an event sponsored by Google and CNN. a commercial may run for only a few days.cnn. Moffatt said the Romney campaign was able to use geolocation on Facebook. he said. was realizing that persuasion had to be “front and center” in social media. and Zac Moffatt. he said if they had to do it all over again.blogs.tv/show/triangulation/81 December 5. insider perspectives on how to put the campaign trail into the digital realm and what may change in the future. he said.) It’s all about investing early: Both practitioners acknowledged that Obama’s campaign had a huge advantage. The “biggest change” this cycle. not quantity: Part of what makes the interaction more meaningful is the ability to microtarget. 4. With online outreach becoming an increasingly sizable part of campaign budgets. and went from a primary to general election campaign. Moffatt had to expand staff and resources at an exponential rate. not just organize: In 2008.) Online has a longer life cycle than TV messaging: With television ads. about using the rapidly evolving tools of the Internet to persuade voters and get the message out beyond traditional television ads and direct mail. Here are our five takeaways: 1. not just in advertising but in convincing the electorate who to vote for. we’re wrapping up an afternoon panel with some of the most respected leaders in the political social media space. In other words. Bleeker said social media was a convenient platform to mobilize supporters. senior strategist for Obama for America. Bleeker and Moffatt. Moffatt said it would have been helpful to build their digital team further ahead of the time before Romney won the GOP nomination. the two rival digital strategists said. But it wasn’t just Moffatt who realized the benefit of investing early.) Social media has become more efficient: Moffatt and Bleeker agreed that social media platforms have made it possible for campaigns to be more persuasive. They’re gathered here in Washington at “Exploring the 2012 Digital Election. 3. provided their unique.” but if those “likes” don’t translate into votes. After tallying up the number of times people played . two pioneers in the field. 2. online campaigns will only go so far. digital director for Romney for President. given that the digital team already had an infrastructure in place from the previous election.com/2012/12/05/cnns-gut-check-for-december-5-2012/ By Ashley Killough December 5. By building applications that allow for fundraising and more interaction between the campaigns and voters.) You have to persuade. digital directors now play a key role in campaign strategy.” Bleeker said. 2012 CNN: Gut Check – Moffatt and Bleeker Interview http://politicalticker.the consultants and strategists who underestimated their ability to compete with the Obama campaign are still living in an alternate reality. “we’d spend twice as much” early on.” as he called it.) It’s about quality. social media has become more “meaningful. When they “ramped. Mark just finished talking with Andrew Bleeker.

com/blogs/techdailydose/2012/12/obama-romney-digital-advisers-talk-shop-05 By Adam Mazmanian December 5. Moffatt said that presidential aspirants would be well advised to start early. Google’s head of elections. Obama’s digital team maintained a “Don’t talk about Fight Club culture. people collectively spent 417 years watching their commercials online. The Romney campaign is bequeathing its digital legacy to the Republican National Committee. Some supporters were happy to just like something on Facebook. Moffatt and other leading Republican campaign operatives will make this pitch to party digital specialists behind closed doors at an RNC event. “It couldn’t have been more central to our campaign. cast a wide net for talent. the Obama team used splashy “takeover” ads on big sites in battleground states. While it was helpful to the campaign to have news of its digital operations out there for donors and supporters. In the aftermath of the election. The reason.” he said. like the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.” Bleeker said.” he said. but they faced new challenges. and go big with a large dedicated digital team. to encourage and track early voting. And according to Charles Scrase. Romney’s Facebook following was highly engaged. Bleeker cited the problem of getting social-media followers to take part in offline activity. “Whatever we do in 2013 and beyond. The Republican nominee spent heavily on Facebook ads nationwide to boost his follower numbers. Moffatt said. the party is in a stronger place. “That doesn’t get us where we need to go. On Thursday. “If I could do it again. That legacy includes e-mail addresses and other data on 1 million new donors. 2012 Barack Obama’s digital team got the better of the Republican online operation in most respects. such as canvassing in a battleground state or helping out in a field office. “The low-hanging fruit was still there. The Obama campaign was “able to drive phenomenal early vote lookups through digital targeted advertising. Romney Digital Advisers Talk Shop http://www. for instance.” he said. As early voting started.” . was that the Romney team was under pressure to try to compete with Obama’s huge social-media advantage. and Moffatt was able to spin those engagement numbers in the press.” in terms of list-building and follower acquisition. said Andrew Bleeker. National Journal: Obama.” Bleeker said. where tougher questions are likely to be posed. Team Obama was paying attention. the real point of Moffatt’s musings was to keep the Obama campaign’s digital team guessing.” Bleeker said. news of how the Obama team tested its fundraising e-mails and honed its social media pitch is emerging. “I’d do it as an incumbent. Additionally.Romney ads online. Obama outspent the GOP ticket only in a few key swing states. a senior digital strategist for the Obama campaign. but Romney Digital Director Zac Moffatt had the edge in one key metric--talking on the record to reporters. Romney’s Facebook ad strategy was among the biggest question marks for the Obama team. or share it with their networks. viewers are twice as likely to remember a message if they see it both online and on television. By contrast. Moffatt explained his press strategy in a campaign postmortem hosted by Google and moderated by CNN’s Mark Preston on Wednesday.nationaljournal. including an increased reliance on social media as a channel. he said. said Moffatt. Obama’s digital team was able to apply intelligence from their 2008 effort to the 2012 election.

" due to the time constraints. saying he thinks the role the app played in possibly tamping down voter turnout is "vastly" over-hyped. "We ran out of runway. and described his dream scenario as one where he could put together a dream team of people at least two years in advance. Moffatt said the digital team did not have anything to do with building the application. . Bleeker stepped in to defend Romney's team on ORCA. Cohn December 5. Moffatt said building in-house "wasn't an option for us. I'd do it as an incumbent. senior online strategist to the Obama campaign. "I don't begrudge them." He referred in part to the "legacy item" of more than a million donor names the campaign handed over to the Republican National Committee this week that are brand new to the RNC. "We never really set out to run a digital campaign but we set out to run an efficient campaign." he said. Moffatt said some of his energy during the campaign was devoted to pushing back against the narrative that Republicans don't use the Internet well. DC. said Wednesday. a web-based app meant to coordinate volunteers that crashed in deployment on Election Day. "Build bigger" is his advice when it comes to digital teams for future presidential campaigns." Bleeker acknowledged.The Hill: Romney's Digital Director Talks Lessons Learned http://thehill. Bleeker described the attitude toward the digital strategy within the Obama campaign as "a 'don't talk about Fight Club' culture. With the election over." he laughed. Moffatt said he thinks his team struggled the most with the rapid need to "scale out" and staff up following the extended GOP primary. "We needed to show after 2008 that we as a party were investing in [digital and online data]. In contrast.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/271307-romneys-digital-director-talks-lessons-learned By Alicia M." he said. Andrew Bleeker. digital director for Mitt Romney. and admitted that made the Romney team very "vendor-centric. Moffatt said he thinks "the party's in a much stronger place going forward." Zac Moffatt." Obama's digital team has only begun to share details of their strategy and the infrastructure that accomplished it post-election. "If I could do it again. explaining that "individual decisions" were made regarding which methods best suited different strategies rather than setting aside a percentage of the budget for digital. Although many GOP operatives compare the Romney campaign's digital strategy unfavorably to the Obama campaign's. 2012 President Obama's re-election campaign ran "the greatest digital operation in the history of politics." One possible consequence of that structure has been identified as the failure of Project ORCA. participated in the same panel. digital strategists for both presidential campaigns seemed more than willing to put any animosity behind them at a panel co-hosted by CNN and Google in Washington." In contrast." he said. "I think we built a whole new campaign infrastructure that didn't exist before.

CNN: Early Vote Central To Digital Campaign http://youtu. Bully Pulpit Interactive. and social media followers. I think when we were looking at the metrics as well it was kind of funny the things people focused on again and again. they were going to generate a lot of phone calls and we kind of knew that so we were looking for people to do that. Targeted Victory. go with what works best not what looks best" or seems best. and Moffatt to his. The campaign has already revealed that email fundraising pitches generated some of their biggest revenue this cycle. the low hanging fruit was still there. So Andrew what I want to do now is hand you the moderator mike. when you call from home. and we were looking at that. except the battleground states. we were saying the same amount of people were . are they investing in nonbattleground states? Why? Is the conversation going to carry over? And should we? ZM: Well I think one of the things that we looked at." He also complimented Moffatt on building an audience "very quickly" online. So we were really actually wondering on the campaign. those were blue.be/wkonZojIfiQ December 5. our Facebook strategy with limited resources and we suddenly it became that we had a lot of resources. we looked at the Facebook environment. We were feeling a lot of pressure because Obama’s lists were so large and that was just the reality. 30 million people on Facebook. "We won anyway. That was kind of something internal but then we really started to think about it and there was this narrative that we kept coming back to: having the largest lists didn’t make you the best digital team and that’s something we kind of looked at again and again. they couldn’t lose. because an audience is something we wanted to build out."While we did find it kind of funny. and often the email content that got the best response was the content the team would least expect. you would ideally have someone in that state calling someone else in that state. it wasn't that amusing because the same thing happened to us in '08. where you will see. We looked at it and said that we have 6 months. We kind of had this glib thing. he said. Talking about this became such an easy number for us. which we were discussing right before. But in this case. What were you doing with the Facebook advertising? What were your goals from a Facebook perspective? Just for reference for some of the group. We also had to come up with. We also felt when we were looking at the metrics. one of the slides that was shown when we walked in here was this map that CNN produced. AB: Vanity metrics. Post-election." "And be flexible. Bleeker recommended that any potential candidates start early building tools like QuickDonate. referring to Project Houdini. and I want you to ask the question you’ve always wanted to ask Zac about Romney’s operation but you don’t know. Bleeker said the biggest lesson his team learned during the campaign was to "test everything. if there were some states where we didn’t have a large presence. with Twitter followers Justin Beiber would be the next President of the United States. So some of the things you started to see in target states was very fundraising or list-building specifics. 2012 MP: Andrew always seems to win. What that allows you to do. email lists." he noted. Again I think with re-elect you would probably take a different strategy. There was somehow this myth that somehow because Obama had 25 million people on Facebook. Same on Twitter. we really got to the point where we felt we had to start national advertising because there were still people to be brought in. Bleeker returns to his digital marketing firm. most of the states there was more discussion about Romney than about Obama. here’s your chance. He joked that a "good way to figure out who's running" in 2016 is to pay attention to who is building up digital infrastructure now. acknowledging the time advantage for Team Obama. what do we build? And we had to build an audience.

it was so frustrating understanding that Amazon doesn’t care if you’re Democrat or Republican when you buy a book. they’re not doing these efforts and so we had to go to that again and again. you guys built an audience very quickly and it was very engaged. when it wasn’t big and it got big at the end. We went through there’s and counted everything we could see and they were at about 3%. you’re buying instead of like. ZM: I think my question for Andrew is. And the reason I asked the question is because we had the conversation. shares that day of the audience that day participated on our page. do we need to care? ZM: And the interesting thing. It’s taking digital and being able to tell us. was that on purpose the way you were looking at it. I’m not going to let you ask a question. 40% likes. Let’s get him while you can. And you know what. comments. than Obama. people thought that Republicans weren’t using the Internet. And that’s one of the problems. the internet is everywhere. when we looked at their advertising buy. this is what we think. so I know I pushed some buttons somewhere that really got to people. even when you did the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. I understand what their brand is. And that’s the way we looked at it. and at the very end there were 3. we built two audiences. so we had to fight back and start to put these markers down to say no. and that’s important because you have to be able to explain what you’re doing to people in terms that are kind of universal. I think. driving more reporters to talk about it. And that was one of the things we looked at and it really came through to us with the Supreme Court ruling. and then they would go out there and pump there chest and said you can see it. But we thought sometimes when you did like. some of the challenges we saw was that it had more of an eye to media than sometimes to efficiency and I think that’s something we’ve talked about. but it’s funny because I saw you guys like. times larger. maybe 5%. we get all of the points to that you were putting together. Every time I get a heat tweet from an Obama person it mentions a vanity measure. We went through and counted everything. Google doesn’t care. let’s open it up. And that was one of the things about the map. it doesn’t matter. If you mapped Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan together it was on many days larger. because it was a national buy. We were surprised. which I thought was interesting. even in the battleground states. MP: What’s nice about this… Do you want to respond? AB: We took note that. go ahead. and we knew that.engaging online despite the fact that there were 3. but their guys are just not that engaged. . Not only because we had to have this narrative because again me as an outsider in 2008 working on a team?. and I don’t. it was like the cousin in the corner. And we said look. When you say to someone. state takeovers. brought a different point of view and a different set of volunteers. as much earned media as it was. if you guys were watching the Dem convention. if it doesn’t matter in that state. We built Mitt Romney but we did another 5 million for Paul Ryan. a lot of what we thought. We were like. we saw you coming to every state. And we thought that was also something because we thought Paul Ryan. or were you actually seeing the results that justified these larger bids? Like every primary. There’s a certain amount of your budget. We had about 2. That’s why. Another thing we were looking at was. that you just call the like. geo-locational. this is a message that the media will understand. they had about 27 million. you can get right into his personal life. the day of the early voting. MP: Zac given the fact that you lost the election and the coin toss. It’s almost like they decided one guy is running and the other guy is there. Because everything we hear from Team Obama is all that geo-locational. from a digital perspective. Earlier in the process they were 20 times larger. back to this. so we would say different things to them. Nah I’m kidding. Michelle Obama was a huge brand too. And I don’t say that.3 million people on our Facebook page. we were really surprised by. why aren’t they doing anything there? We would have more people talking about Paul Ryan in a day then they would have in a month sometimes. And I think in some ways it must have worked. ok I’m just going to let this go because I want to keep the rest of my budget. it was like Joe Biden didn’t exist. Trust me. look they have 25 million.

there’s a lag between when the voter profile says somebody voted and when they actually voted. She got 1. McCormack had been endorsed by 10 Michigan newspapers.. When all of a sudden we can look at the folks that voted early.businessinsider. It was like a $1500 buy that made me so happy to be like. . But her campaign media buyer says Facebook made the difference. ok. that was definitely good for me." The ads only ran in heavy rotation a few days before the vote.. for example) with the aim of boosting recognition of her name by Election Day. and honestly probably donations from it because more people went to the site to click on it than I’ve ever seen from any kind of media buy.C. Business Insider: Michigan Supreme Court Judge Says Facebook Campaign Won Her Election http://www.000 of Facebook ads -. we had to come up with some metric. you guys saw that. 6 after a brief testing window to find which performed best for different age and gender groups. good question. But we definitely haven’t gotten better and. D.. conservative advocacy group called "Judicial Crisis Network.” just because we knew it would annoy them. We knew we were winning the campaign preElection Day. the campaign ultimately had a half-dozen Facebook ads in circulation in the five days leading up to Nov.com/article/campaign-trail/michigan-supreme-court-campaign-credits-facebook-ads/238604/ By Cotton Delo December 4. according to Ad Age: .we bought the inside banners and pointed to them and said “Obama isn’t working. The early vote stuff couldn’t have been more essential to our campaign. They were expensive but not that big a piece of stuff where we could actually find out. No question we bought the Des Moines Register on Iowa primary day and the Manchester Union Leader. vote by mail applications through digital targeted advertising. and I think we got more play on that. 2012 What tipped the scales in favor of a candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court in a closely run election? Her campaign team surmises that a heavy helping of Facebook ads during the home stretch of the race played an outsize role. so the takeovers did do that. AB: Haha yes. There were other factors: McCormack was endorsed by local newspapers and her sister. how we covered the Iowa thing. via a Washington. All had positive messages (noting that Ms.won her a seat on the Michigan State Supreme Court. but we were actually able to drive a phenomenal number of early vote lookups. But I do think that stuff was just kind of throw away. The challenge with early voting is that there’s a lag in reporting between when somebody you know.com/michigan-supreme-court-judge-bridget-mccormacks-facebook-electioncampaign-2012-12#ixzz2EHfAuVKT By Jim Edwards December 5. 2012 Democrat Bridget Mary McCormack believes Facebook -. beating Republican incumbent Stephen Markman for the first place finish even though Markman spent $1 million in attack ads on TV. So we spent a large proportion of our actual budget on what I called field support or mobilization and much of it was driving to some metric. Ad Age: Michigan Supreme Court Campaign Credits Facebook Ads With Margin of Victory http://adage. stuff like that. so it takes a while to sort of to see what your real ROI is. it was cheap. man they’re going to be so pissed today when they see this. they started to line up with our turnout models and we felt pretty good. same thing with absentee ballots.specifically about $51.53 million votes. "West Wing" actress Mary McCormack recorded an ad endorsing her.

C.) While the Judicial Crisis Network was filling the airwaves in Detroit and Grand Rapids with $1 million worth of attack ads.-based group called the Judicial Crisis Network that were aimed at Ms. While Mr. made up of her and two other candidates." he said. in the absence of scientific exit-polling data." said Mr.Democrat Bridget Mary McCormack was ultimately the top vote-getter in a field of seven candidates running for two full-term seats on the bench. McCormack's campaign manager.000 ad budget was allocated to Facebook. for example) with the aim of boosting recognition of her name by Election Day. Ms. Due to time constraints. (The ad featured the mother of a deceased American soldier and homed in on Ms. Koster notes that efforts on behalf of the Democratic slate helped bring Ms. there are other possibilities. Hoadley in an email. it wasn't feasible to execute a diversified strategy that included display and search ads.) "Repetition over a short period of time really did make a difference.) Another possibility is that the heavy dose of TV attack ads targeting Ms. finds her margin of victory all the more surprising because of the onslaught on negative TV ads paid for by a Washington. which handled the buy for Ms. the campaign ultimately had a half-dozen Facebook ads in circulation in the five days leading up to Nov. since Ms. All had positive messages (noting that Ms. and also making individuals inclined to support her due to the outlandishness of the claim. Mr. Hoadley. McCormack to within striking distance. he thinks the Facebook ads must have been the ultimate needle-mover. (The first and second runners-up had roughly 1. "[They're] the only thing that could have moved her to being ahead of everyone else from being tied with every else. 6 after a brief testing window to find which performed best for different age and gender groups. by more than 30. D. he said. Her roughly 1. New Media Rockstars: Obama's Social Media Strategist Talks To NMR About Being The Voice Of The President http://newmediarockstars. Doubling down on Facebook for the final stretch was more of an accident than a strategy. Instead. McCormack's offer to represent Guantanamo detainees. during the final week of the campaign. McCormack.4 million votes apiece. "The ad could definitely have [had] a potential outcome of increasing her name identification." said Mr. Jon Hoadley. a University of Michigan law professor.com/2012/12/obamas-social-media-strategist-talks-to-nmr-about-being-the- . McCormack's campaign. and 80% of that sum was spent in the final five days with the intent of burning the candidate's name into liberal voters' brains. One other differentiator for the campaign was celebrity. Republican incumbent Stephen Markman. (It was linked to in one of the Facebook ads and racked up more than a million views. (Ms.) Ms. Hoadley estimates that 51% of the campaign's $100. McCormack had the unintended effect of causing voters to remember her in a technically nonpartisan race where name recognition was crucial.000 votes. McCormack's team was spending liberally on Facebook. managing partner of the digital agency Chong & Koster. McCormack's actress sister Mary McCormack rallied fellow former cast members from "The West Wing" to record a four-minute YouTube video on the candidate's behalf. McCormack also benefited from TV ads run by the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee to support its slate. according to Josh Koster. since candidates' party affiliations weren't presented on the ballot. McCormack had been endorsed by 10 Michigan newspapers.53 million votes edged out the other winner. However.

Having only met the president a few brief times beforehand. Tumblrs. because we knew that people getting campaign messages from their friends was so much more powerful than them getting campaign messages directly from us. but people are much more likely to share things if you ask them to share them. Olin came into the re-election campaign with the challenge of bringing the personalities and passions of the president. Olin says: “I only met *President Obama+ briefly a couple of times *and+ the day after the campaign. First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s Facebooks. each of President Obama’s posts acquired an average of 70. images will beat just text or video embeds almost every time. I felt proud of everything our team had done but mostly relieved that the president would get a second term and that we’d continue making progress on issues we can’t afford to go back on now. hire people who are not just good at their jobs. Olin enlisted a team of four to help run President Obama’s.” . Spotifys and Instagrams. 60% of voters between the ages of 18-29 voted for Obama. Titled “Four More Years. Twitters.” In a political campaign where as much of the action happened in the debates as between Twitter accounts. but who also share the sensibility you’re trying to convey with your organization. During this election. Tone is everything on social media. Obama stands at 24 million followers while Romney has a following of 1. Obama’s social media campaign trounced Romney’s. [And] three. I think political campaigns will have to find ways to become a part of the way people are having conversations online in a way people will respond to. he went around the office and hugged every single person there — and there were hundreds of us. A lot of those voters got political news and information from Facebook and Twitter. Election night was one of the happiest of my life. Laura Olin and her social media team uploaded a photo that would become one of the most memorable photos in American history.000 notes while a single Romney post averaged around 400 notes. Olin began her position as Outbound Director for the Obama for America campaign in March 2011 and has since become the driving force behind the president’s social media presence. Olin says: “Social media had a huge influence in helping us get out the vote. this is so simple. raise money and persuade people to support the president. on Tumblr. Two. Obama’s page aquired 31 million likes versus Romney’s page with 11 million likes. Just as television changed the way the public viewed politics in the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon election. In the end. We did that a lot. with the breakdowns as follows: On Facebook. when he came to Chicago HQ.” the iconic photograph of a content-looking President Obama hugging his wife Michelle has since become the symbol for the president’s re-election win. this year.7 million. on Twitter.voice-of-the-president-interview/ By Carly Lanning December 4. No matter what platforms emerge in the next four years.” So what can we take away from the success of President Obama’s campaign? Olin advises: “ One. 2012 On the night of the election. after receiving confirmation of President Obama’s victory. President Obama and Governor Romney went head to head both at the podium and online. first lady and vice president into the social media world.

because they’d figured out whom to spend money on. with states far outside the Romney ad zone learning of.) Republican super PACs raised more than their Democratic counterparts. Democrats outsmarted the Romney campaign. There was no glossy schedule. bring an alien-looking group of Americans dressed in comfy convention clothes or black suits.Now winding down after the election.html By David Weigel December 3. On the first floor.” and “Unfuck Fostercare. I sat in one of the Washington Convention Center’s dark and anonymous meeting rooms and learned just how badly that ad had failed. So. The second showed the states where media coverage informed voters that the ad was false. We can get outspent and still win.” On the third floor. 2012 Near the end of August. when it was stubbornly behind President Obama in the polls.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/12/rootscamp_meet_the_hip_geeks_who_ beat_mitt_romney_and_helped_barack_obama. The RootsCamp’s crowd.slate. Among them: “Inglorious Voters. Mitt Romney’s campaign released a TV ad about the “gutting” of welfare’s work requirements. tributes to a forever-vanquished enemy. The killer verb came from a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial: “Welfare Reform GUTTED. Purple-mountained majesty spread from coast to coast.” “#whitepeopleproblems. Media doesn’t understand how media works. On Friday. The first one showed the media markets where the “gutting” ad ran—Virginia and some spillover in Maryland and North Carolina.single. then loathing.000 strong. colored in faded purple to measure the impact. politely pleaded with reporters to keep quotes and hard numbers off the record. Why didn’t anybody else get that at the time? The titles of the next slide answered my question. he could meet with his peers from Obama for America or MoveOn and discover what cheap tricks had bested the rich guys. and how. young quants who repeatedly. They did share two maps. Democrats won anyway. an annual post-election conference of Democratic/progressive campaigners put on by the New Organizing Institute. The GOP claimed to double or triple its “voter contacts” in key states.C. The Republican had more money and won plenty of news cycles. Most mega-meetings in downtown D. MoveOn wanted to test what sort of generic-looking mail was most effective for getting a possible voter off the couch—a “best . Olin is continuing to run the President’s social media campaign and says she is currently focusing on rallying grassroots movements against raising middle class taxes and providing support in the fight over the fiscal cliff. My teachers were media trackers from the Democratic National Committee. 2.” On Saturday. any victorious activist still looking for a job could meet potential employers. they packed the room for a panel titled “This Shit Actually Works. The lesson was part of RootsCamp.” adapted and splayed across the screen in a font size usually reserved for stuff like “Nixon Resigns” or “Japan Surrenders. Activists learned of panels and breakout talks by checking a smartphone app or visiting The Wall. looked like the casting pool for a party scene on Girls.” where MoveOn revealed the results of a voter turnout experiment demo-ed in Delaware’s sleepy September primary. RootsCamp might be the first political conference I’ve been to where some people wore purely ironic buttons—Romney-Ryan swag. (He outspent Obama in every swing state except Ohio. the Romney message. a monolith decorated with 8-by-11 titles and descriptions. Slate: "The Socially Awkward Do It Better" http://www.

He spent the RootsCamp weekend flitting from panel to panel. and are our voters turning out?” The organizing was valued over the ads. The Legend of Ruffini spread on Twitter. pointing out all the tricks that worked. My colleague Sasha Issenberg has reported. As the conference ended: Takeaway from #roots12: The socially awkward do it better. Strategists for the Obama and Romney campaigns were there for a quadrennial. the Romney campaign and the Super PACs were blowing wads of cash on ads that washed right over people.” The point wasn’t really to convince new voters to choose Obama.practices” appeal to their civic duty or “social pressure” that compared a voter with his neighbors. back-slapping debriefing with reporters. and that was going to be true “in eight years.5 percent. told his Saturday audience of a plan that synched up perfectly with MoveOn and labor.8 percent. The tone of these tweets alternated between the respectful and the envious.” Featuring smiling stock-photo children. “Turnout for the control group was control 19. Standing near me. turnout was 22. dating back to the Kerry 2004 debacle. in a crowd of a hundred people. when we turn Texas blue. building the 2004 Bush campaign’s hub before going private. all year. . Daniel Mintz showed the crowd an old attempt at social pressure. the national field director for OFA. One woman raised her hand. “Turnout for ‘best practices’ was 21. Later. when there was no real science about TV ads. about the stat-geek techniques used by Democrats to tune up the standard tricks of get-out-the-vote campaigns and voter persuasion. there were really only two things that mattered. either. he saw a report from Boston. The landline wasn’t coming back. The left had evolved faster than the right had evolved. reflecting on even weightier problems. Some panelists redacted their remarks when he was in the room. and who’s turning out for the early vote? All the other stuff is inputs. Jeremy Bird. Plenty of the RootsCampers I talked to had stories from losing campaigns. said OFA’s Marlon Marshall. In the OFA session.” Then he revealed MoveOn’s “voter report card. “How many folks are registering to vote? Who are those people. Those were the two things that told us: Are we changing the electorate. They ate “chicken pot pie and mashed sweet potatoes” and said things like “we weren’t even running in the same race. Meanwhile. He derided the idea of “massive call centers” in central locations.” Ruffini had to rub it in: They weren’t even at RootsCamp.” Mintz revealed. proudly expanding their phone call outreach to voters. Among people who got the ‘social pressure’ mail. Universal takeaway: OFA state field staff are sharp. Bird called on former volunteers—alternating the genders.” Bird pointed out that the contact rate on all phones had fallen from 23 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2012. One Iowa organizer revealed that phone calls had become nearly useless for reaching college students. finding out how his movement had lost so badly. Republicans could have ripped this off. how many of them had landline phones. “As we got to the end. He recorded the sessions with tweets. just as they blacked out key data when reporters were taking notes. a list of neighbors and their scores that “looked like crap. it revealed how often the target had voted and how often his neighbors had voted. was Republican consultant Patrick Ruffini. Bird asked the crowd. all 20-somethings and 30somethings. He was one of the GOP’s original digital gurus. boy-girl-boy-girl—to get fresh anecdotes on what worked and what would no longer work.3 percent. I had a flashback to all the time I’d spent talking to Tea Party groups. In theory.” said Bird. It was to activate the soft voters who Democrats knew were out there.

2012 Last Friday in Washington. D. For example. They found that all versions of those requests did better than simply plucking a random number like $25 and asking donors for that set amount. where "you're trying to isolate one very quantifiable notion of optimization before going forward. both Evan Zasoski. to build its models. the Obama campaign did a lot of best practice testing on how much money it should ask donors for. the people sending out the e-mails.although they cautioned that there was still a lot that they weren't free to disclose.C.. Models based on recipients' past responses to past e-mail campaigns can help organizers more efficiently target their specific communications. Or there are "best practices" tests. During a session last week. as detailed by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.) and keep them on lists where they are likely to respond (maybe they just prefer to donate online. Zasoski and D'Agostino shared some of the kinds of tests that they did and models that they created -. and Michelangelo D'Agostino. and you're not e-mailing around evolving and confusing spreadsheets of e-mails. and their patterns of giving to deduce how to approach the donor. Here are a few of their points: There are different kinds of tests you can conduct on your e-mail campaigns: There's one-off testing. Use automation to score your models as much as possible. the campaign's senior analyst for digital analytics.com/news/23214/how-analytics-made-obamas-campaign-communications-moreefficient By Sarah Lai Stirland December 3. Obama for America's deputy director for data production. The campaign examined donors' highest previous donation amounts and then did tests asking them for various percentages of those highest previous donation amounts. The Obama campaign's digital analytics department used R. the open source statistical programming language. they worked to build models to analyze those subscribers and their behaviors in order to increase the impact of the digital teams' work. The campaign found that people "who tend to give a lot of money" are also very likely to be comfortable being asked for a higher percentage of their previous donation. showed their progressive peers how analytics can make online communications far more efficient. Watch out for "Frankenstein sends:" Beware of combining subject lines and content that performed well individually on their own.) D'Agostino said. For example.TechPresident: How Analytics Made Obama's Campaign Communications More Efficient http://techpresident. These models can be used to winnow out e-mails for people who are unlikely to respond to a specific kind of request (like volunteering. so they don't have to ask you repeatedly for access to the lists of e-mails. they should be . like the one that they did in June that raised $2. Give the end-users." said Zasoski.6 million. Instead of blindly sending out mass e-mails to anyone who signed up. It looked to its historical data on those donors. and so forth. direct access to the output of your models through Web forms. and then assuming that the combination when put together will generate a strong response.

"Those are the campaigns that we believe in and we run. data wranglers. And that.C. and digital strategists from Obama for America. empowered supporters.including from the Obama campaign -. gets a percentage from volunteer field. begun to replace the general consultant's gut instinct on campaign decisions. The Atlantic: Data Vs Gurus: Democrats Say Metrics Are Eclipsing The Consultant Class http://www. much of what's been learned on campaigns has traditionally been lost. win or lose..able to use the forms to access the portion of the list that is most likely to go out and volunteer. "The analytics people are getting together for happy hour at the pub up the street. the AFL-CIO. Along with that comes a change in the economics of Democratic politics.com/politics/archive/2012/12/data-vs-gurus-democrats-say-metrics-are-eclipsingthe-consultant-class/265803/ By Nancy Scola December 3. voter registration and other electioneering tasks delegated to unpaid campaign volunteers. and other organizations." . D'Agostino said. said Daniel Mintz. in part driven the accountability baked into metrics.C." Bond said. and best practices may spell the demise of know-it-all political consultants. so that it's not unusual to overhear casual comments like.the New Organizing Institute. But the left has developed organizations -. phone banking. metrics-focused. With campaigns functioning as the equivalents of businesses that shut down shortly after Election Day. and a newly. The argument: In the years since Howard Dean's quick rise and quicker fall. prized for generations on both sides of the aisle for the political wisdom kept locked away in their brains. progressive organizers -. many of them trained over the years by RootsCamp host the New Organizing Institute. distributed campaigning. last week. is making Democrats felicitously less dependent than Republicans on political "gurus" in the Karl Rove mold.say that campaigns based on numbers. There's an emerging data clique at events like RootsCamp that hangs out together and shares ideas. But they describe witnessing early signs of a cultural shift. D. functional Democratic National Committee -. referring to the door knocking. on occasion. The analytics department also used D3 for data visualization. testing. MoveOn. Democrats' focus on not only capturing online and offline data but testing it aggressively has. president of Credo SuperPAC. and send messaging to that portion by pulling that list of people up through a Web form. "No person in D. "Volunteer field isn't going to buy the summer house. Marylanders for Marriage Equality..theatlantic. and the sort of open-source information sharing that happened at the seventh annual RootsCamp conference in Washington. campaign director at MoveOn. director of digital organizing for the Obama campaign.. the left has embraced a model of campaign that's fueled by data.org. they say." Bond spoke at a press briefing on the eve of RootsCamp featuring field organizers. One practical effect is that there is a corps of progressive staffers and volunteers "poised and ready to pounce" on the next campaign. Arizona's Adios Arpaio campaign. 2012 With campaign post-mortems heavily focused on the data wizardry that delivered Democratic victories.that are acting as keepers of institutional knowledge between elections. said Betsy Hoover." said Becky Bond. and you don't make a lot of money off those types of campaigns. Bond and others described campaigns increasingly run by a generation of political professionals steeped in the practice of hands-on. Progressives at RootsCamp conceded that not every Democratic candidate or issue campaign on the left has gone all in on the tech-savvy model popularized by Obama. if arguably.

. senior staff tried to instill new technology hires with the sense that they shouldn't expect to feather their own nests while in Chicago. "To the GOP strategists crashing a Dem digital conference today." Rospars wrote. in a phone call a week and a half after Romney's defeat. "It should go without saying that your gift obviously won't help your or anyone else's application specifically. in part to create The Optimizer. Meanwhile. "You're one of very few people receiving this email because. Ruffini tweeted.and could soon bubble over from intramural grumbling into a more public rejection. got a similar email. "I was proud 10 days ago.. a task traditionally left to ad consultants." including the work of Zac Moffatt." But the pitch continued: "It won't pay very well.Another sign: In the early days of the Obama 2012 campaign." senior digital strategist Joe Rospars wrote in one such email. She suggested that the campaign techniques being increasingly practiced and shared on the left aren't simply copy-and-pasteable on the right." she tweeted. Most people who come to work here will take a pay cut. and field operations. including a detail-laden session on the Obama campaign's "outbound" team's best practice on sending and testing the emails that raised many millions of dollars for Obama's bid. a well-known conservative digital strategist has been attending RootsCamp. based on what you've told the Obama organization in the past. defended his team's performance. Upside: More people. emails went out to Obama supporters that the campaign had identified as having tech or creative abilities.commentarymagazine. There was evident glee at RootsCamp over what's seen as Romney and Republican's poor performance when it comes to technology. Downside: Me leaking. Before the conference began. "Targeting works. Romney's digital director. whose digital-advertising company Targeted Victory benefitted from millions of dollars in consulting work for the Romney campaign. Laura Olin was part of Obama's digital team and ran his Tumblr. Carol Davidsen. saying that especially given the drain of the contested Republican primary their work met expectations. In June of last year. but if you care about getting campaign up and running you really should make a donation now. is serving to unify those who are unhappy with the state of GOP campaign practices -. "In less than 12 hours. In a blog post on RedState this week.com/articles/the-gops-broken-machine/ By Benjamin Domenech December 2012 . Moffatt. and I'm proud of it today. #roots12." A postscript even asked for money. the #infiltration begins. and in particular the many millions that his American Crossroads super PAC spent on TV ads in a raft of races that Republican candidates ended up losing. The hours are terrible ." After his first day. "You realize our tactics might not work on people who deny evolution." he said. Ruffini concluded this: "Dermocrats [sic] discuss things at conferences that Republicans discuss in conference rooms. conservative commentator and activist Erick Erickson condemned "the incestuous bleeding of the Republican Party. Patrick Ruffini. data." Some on the left profess that they're not so worried. "we think you might know someone who should quit his or her job and come work on the Obama campaign's digital team for the next 18 months. a project that blended voter demographic data and network ad rates to reveal which TV commercial spaces the Obama campaign should buy.." Davidsen told me recently. a former Microsoft employee. The notes raised the possibility of jobs on the reelection bid whether or not they had any political experience. right?" Commentary Magazine: The GOP's Broken Machine http://www. But there are also signs of considerable and growing restiveness over it on the professional right. She joined the campaign. Some conservatives say simmering unhappiness over Karl Rove's performance this election cycle.

the performance among independents had Romney’s circle buzzing about victory. Volunteers who had tuned in to cheerleading conference calls with campaign staff never received their information packets on how to use it. with little office conversation and an almost eerie quiet during the day. largely hitting the marks they thought they needed to win the 2012 election. The digital equivalent of scratching thousands of voters’ names off of a gigantic list. Orca was intended to give the Romney campaign staff up-to-the-minute insight into who had and hadn’t made it to the polls. Obama’s Chicago team was housed in a gleaming spire. Instead. it was more of a murmur. The program was designed to be a 21st-century update to old-school poll watching. its offices packed with wall-to-wall whiteboards and its chief technology officer culled from the irony-clad hipster site Threadless. taken in the wake of Romney’s strong debate performances. telling National Review’s Katrina Trinko that Orca “has no relation to the outcome. While digital efforts were the primary focus of the Obama campaign from the beginning.” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse announced boldly in a staff meeting. much of the staff thought they’d done just that. twice.It was just past dawn on Election Day. The Romney campaign raised Republican turnout in seven of their eight target battleground states. “We’re f—ing gonna win this thing.” adding. Orca was a near-total operational failure. Matt Rhoades. and already the whale was dead in the water.” Given that fewer than half a million votes in four key swing states ended up being the difference between victory and defeat for Romney. so they didn’t try. this comment will provide little solace to disappointed Republicans. in the literal sense: Staffers were in two buildings. Romney needed to match Obama’s technology advantage in order to have a real chance at victory. Romney’s Boston digs were more subdued. was drowning in the deluge of thousands of attempted log-ins from volunteers across the country. to bring a chair. Project Orca. a failure of strategy and operation that left the campaign ill-equipped to battle President Barack Obama’s tech-savvy get-out-the-vote machine. repeated to his Boston staff a mantra inspired by the legendary order given at nearby Bunker Hill: “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes. Its assumptions simply turned out to be woefully inadequate. never fully stress-tested for the crunch of Election Day traffic. His latest numbers. For Republicans depressed by the election results. Campaign staff acknowledged that from the beginning they assumed they could not match Obama’s well-built machine toe-to-toe. Romney aides stepped up to defend the program. Actually. the not-sosecret high-tech weapon of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. allowing them to target their robocalling more precisely and avoid pestering those who had already voted.000 smartphone-equipped volunteers. though it did tell them. it may not have been enough. Its digital . The program had been kept under wraps to its detriment.” In the last month of the campaign. From the start of the general-election season. Orca was a symbol of their despondency at the Romney campaign’s surprising failure to even come close to matching the get-out-the-vote efforts of the 2008 McCain campaign. But even if he had. they were a relatively late addition to the Romney effort. “we achieved in a large part what we set out to do in the swing states in terms of our electorate. It was a place bursting with the youthful verve of a tech startup. But in so far as it goes. the political and digital staff separated in a fashion that led to more than a little frustration for both sides during the course of the campaign. and simple coding failures meant many people couldn’t access the application at all. The campaign’s internal polling assumed election turnout would favor the Democrats by only two or three percentage points—and in such a scenario. showed the ticket with a strong lead among independent voters. And the checklist given to volunteers had somehow failed to remind them to bring the credentials they needed to monitor the polls legally. Romney’s was also a house divided. it happens to be true. In retrospect. driven by more than 30. Orca became one last failure from a campaign that never managed to get the little things right because it couldn’t get the biggest thing right. Calls to the relevant help lines went unanswered. Romney’s national campaign manager. with data miners and tech gurus culled from Silicon Valley.

and the rest working telephones to get missing voters to the polls. sweeping panoramas of patriotism and pride—contrasted with the relative diminution of President Obama’s shrinking rallies. The quiet was deafening. But the visual contrast hid the important difference of purpose. or whether the name came to the database through a petition about health care or energy policy.” In this. Ideas for how to defend the candidate more effectively. Poll-watching is a tactic as old as Tammany Hall. then Facebook-browsing. in Loudoun County in Virginia. It amounts to a group of volunteers sitting at a precinct crossing off names as they get ballots. deploying volunteers to walk door-to-door in key precincts rather than have them sitting at a poll location unable to increase vote totals. then go around the corner to vote. even the more skeptical campaign aides felt Stevens’s strategy might work. _____________ Almost within minutes of Romney’s concession. The events were Norman Rockwell Americana for The North Face set. more innovative consultants dislike the practice. it would have been a waste of time. to the surprise of some longtime Romney staffers who found their ideas for innovation shunted aside by senior staff and consultants who were unapproachable and unresponsive. with an operation that seemed remarkably inefficient for a campaign that was supposed to do things with the rigor of Romney’s research-intensive firm. They view it as a massive opportunity cost. While Romney was packing out fields and stadiums in suburbia. Romney’s staff was politically diverse and more used to the world of business than politics—some had never worked on a political campaign before. the campaign was fulfilling the risk-averse approach of Stuart Stevens. While such operations are still deployed by some consultants. The images coming out of the campaign’s closing weeks were simply beautiful—Romney and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaking to tens of thousands of supporters at Red Rocks in Colorado. The approach Orca was trying to improve upon has become an anachronism. in West Chester in Ohio. with time on election day spent tracking votes your candidate already has instead of getting people to the polls. activate volunteers on key issues. Frustration set in. don’t rock the boat. and blanketing the airwaves with ads that blend together into one long reiteration of believing in America. After the debates. They consider it better to maximize the get-out-the-vote effort. . For digital staffers who recognized they were playing catch-up with the Obama machine that had never stopped building after 2008. But that ignores the truly bothersome part: Even had Orca worked. they felt. The polls showed his “likability” gap with the president shrinking steadily. Bain Capital. Stevens is a strategist who wins by playing small ball—shrinking information about policy to the bare minimum. Romney’s campaign didn’t even make distinctions between whether someone had given $5 or $500. Orca came to symbolize a campaign that mismanaged the operational details. There were plenty of people working on the digital side. then boredom. sticking to inoffensive bullet points. Where the Obama campaign’s content and emails were tailored to the interests of individually targeted demographic communities based on topics of interest and other data-mined priorities.operation was staffed after the rest of the campaign. the Obama campaign was holding early-voting rallies downtown—come to see the celebrities. the man at the top of the campaign who built his career out of getting relatively bland politicians elected by keeping them on script and from making gaffes. which had lower attendance and uglier backdrops. a few more volunteers translating that data. the contrasts were infuriating. but tasks were poorly assigned and hampered by restrictive approval processes. or push back harder on false attacks were met with a repeated response: “Don’t get in trouble. The campaign was also fiercely hierarchical. Romney was hitting his stride at just the right time.

with brutal attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital and his remarks on the 47 percent. And the technological network built around this narrative served as a defensive weapon. Ross Douthat of the New York Times pointed out that the real aim of these ads was to depress working-class whites. Romney’s mildmannered critique of Obama—that the president was a good man in over his head—required voters to trust Romney to do better. Instead of taking this approach. with flash points on issues prioritized by their constituents. Thanks in part to the candidate and in part to the campaign.Orca was designed to make robocalls work. The administration went to battle over student loans to activate college kids and picked fights over immigration to make Republicans look anti-Hispanic. Beginning in the spring. According to one Romney aide. Republicans have been focused on building massive databases of people. This is not a problem unique to Romney. the Obama team was crafting issue-specific video clips and shareable content for their interest groups. Again and again. Romney never developed anything approaching this straightforward narrative. The campaign trumpeted the auto bailout to unions and defended Big Bird to appeal to suburban moms. it worked: The drop in the white vote. While the negative attacks may have appeared to be an appeal to the liberal base. too. too. if only by default. Romney’s campaign wasted money and man-hours on a project that ended up giving it a half-day’s worth of incomplete data from their target counties. The White House declared war over contraception with the Catholic Church and trumpeted the life of a dependent avatar as a stand-in for single women. But it’s not as if the Romney campaign lacked the resources to use actual humans to call as many people as possible on Election Day asking them to vote—and if they already had. particularly in economically downtrodden Southeast Ohio. The Obama campaign’s antagonism was specifically targeted. Had the 30. The irony of the 2012 contest is that a candidate who ran primarily on competence stood atop a campaign that spent so much time unwittingly undercutting him on that point. On offense or defense. each designed to caricature Romney as a wealthy out-of-touch technocrat who doesn’t care about anyone who doesn’t look like him. Obama’s team drilled down with specific messages tailored to each of its target interest groups. The pragmatism and competence that were Romney’s best assets as a CEO seemed anachronistic in an era built on using key points of controversy to activate your base.000-plus Orca volunteers been deployed to target Republican districts door-to-door and by phone. counting on their vast network of digital supporters to minimize the damage. reaching people who hadn’t voted. telling them to call their friends and get them to vote. Adding insult to injury. because the campaign’s calculations about the necessary turnout targets were built into their analysis. Romney expressed his belief in America—but he could never articulate why people should believe in him. Since the legendary get-out-the-vote operation of the 2004 Bush campaign that increased his vote total 22 percent from 2000. and Obama did. the assumption that it would be a narrow turnout advantage of a few percentage points doomed them from the start. particularly in Ohio. A campaign that shot for just getting by was stunned by a Democratic turnout advantage that swept their data aside. But that model is dated. every step was built around this “destroy Romney” narrative. _____________ In the end. much of the Orca data they pulled into their election-night headquarters in Boston—before the system crashed completely—indicated the wrong result. exceeded Obama’s margin of victory. too. Obama’s team played small ball better. If that was the intent. however. Even in the wake of the campaign’s worst day. The party needs to . In an electoral race fought over slivers of the population in a handful of states with incredibly narrow ground. the overall narrative was simple: Mitt Romney didn’t have your back. following the first debate. it’s possible they could’ve made a much more meaningful difference in battleground states. Orca was an approach consistent with this assumption.

the last-minute cramming before the test. Heavy dependence on and integration of network technology was also a major feature of the campaign. 2012 In many ways the Obama campaign’s Tech Field Office. Each day for the last three weeks of the election. My understanding is that the genesis of the idea (which predates my arrival on the campaign) came when Michael Slaby (CIIO) and Harper Reed (CTO) traveled to the Bay Area just after the campaign launched to engage tech supporters and recruit engineers to move to Chicago. one of the defining characteristics of the Obama organization was the extent to which it devolved authority down the chain empowering volunteers and field organizers to be the drivers of activity. At some point it occurred: why not bring the campaign to them? We started talking about a San Francisco office even before I formally started on the campaign in June 2011. “What do winners do? They close. The logical extension of these two defining factors coming together was the establishment of a satellite office focused solely on recruiting technologists who wanted to volunteer their skills to help build the campaign’s suite of tools. The Saturday before the first debate. the risk of being so risk-averse. started moving from planning to execution a decision was made that we would go ahead and open the Obama Tech Field Office in San Francisco. in 2008. not offense. and the campaign as a whole. a grizzled veteran of the San Francisco start-up scene (he was early at Blogger and served as the first web developer at YouTube) would lead on all the engineering and technical aspects.” And. he took five .become a party of technology and data mining. The time had come for the whites of the enemies’ eyes. Rhoades stood next to Romney and predicted that the next week was going to amount to an amazing turnaround in the race. He grew up in New Hampshire working on campaigns and. it is a fitting description for the Romney plan from the beginning: conceding the momentum. sticking to your enclosed position. Angus was one of the very very few members of the Obama 2012 tech team that had any campaign experience. recognizing that precincts are now social. Rhoades would repeat to his staff a phrase borrowed from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. As a campaign mantra. “We didn’t. Near the end of 2011 as the technology team.” Braceland: My Experience Leading the Obama Campaign’s Tech Field Office http://cbracy. given that I had very close to zero experience working on software development projects. it is an odd one—an order delivered on defense. the aide said. not just geographic. which I launched and ran with Angus Durocher from February-October 2012. but other things in Chicago took precedence at that early stage. I was to be the non-technical lead and Angus Durocher. and decentralized) very closely matches the structure of the Internet itself. But it’s likely he would have made the mistake of trusting in a campaign that wagered it all on beautiful ads and beautiful toys. which makes sense when you realize that the structure of our grassroots organization (relatively flat. talk about baptism by fire). one that concedes the moment of attack to the opposition. Campaign aides I’ve talked to wonder if things would have gone differently if Romney himself had been on site at the Boston headquarters—if he would have seen the flaws in the defensive strategy. But in retrospect. I spent the first eight months on the campaign doing product management at headquarters (not a role I was at all qualified for. one aide told me. and counting on making up the gap at the end with tricks like Orca. was not a leap of the imagination even if it was the first of its kind. Since 2007.tumblr.com/post/36921516103/my-experience-leading-the-obama-campaigns-tech-field By Catherine Bracy November 30.

” Only a handful of them had ever volunteered for a campaign before. but when your volunteer is doing something like writing code it’s a particular pain in the ass when you can’t get a hold of them for days. who built a really . For one thing we’d added more lanes to the campaign’s development highway without really expanding the capacity of the DevOps team in Chicago to deploy more tools (I’m pretty sure they hated us by the end of it). in Angus’ sage words. Even in famously libertarian Silicon Valley. went to Florida to build some reporting tools. Lior Abraham took all of his vacation days for the year from his job at Facebook to come to Chicago for five weeks to build voter protection apps.weeks off from working at YouTube to volunteer full time doing digital work in New Mexico for the Obama campaign. and about fifty percent of them were solid. When we asked them why they were interested almost all of them gave some version of the same answer: “I’ve always wanted to help out but making phone calls and knocking doors wasn’t my thing (not to mention I live in California where this thing is in the bag) and I saw an opportunity to lend my skills to re-elect a president I believe in. scared this experiment would be a waste of campaign resources. we had recruited well over 100 volunteers who built over a dozen tools (not all of which are public. We certainly didn’t do everything right and I’m not even sure the office itself is something that other campaigns or organizations should try and replicate. We had a list of initial projects we needed to get built. when we were done building tools for the national campaign and turned our attention to the battleground states. Another dozen or so were absolute rock stars. went to Las Vegas to help the data director there. We got to see. but we needed some volunteers. We were pleasantly surprised at the level of interest. a few of whom put their lives on hold for the last weeks of the campaign to travel to battleground states to support our data and digital teams. in person. We experienced the fifty-fifty rule of volunteer organizing: fifty percent of the volunteers we signed up actually did some work. We secured office space (leasing desks at StackMob’s offices in SOMA) and opened for business on February 15. My main responsibility those first few weeks was balancing volunteer recruitment with making sure the products were sufficiently well specked out to allow for volunteers (people who mostly had day jobs and would be doing their work remotely/on the weekends) to be productive. another start-up vet who built out later versions of Trip Planner essentially full time. He likes to tell a story about offering his services to the Kerry campaign in 2004 and being told to head to a phone bank instead. By October. unsure even what success would look like. In many ways. We had some stressful weeks at the beginning. It’s something every campaign worker in the field has to deal with. That worry was quickly assuaged. a former Google data whiz. but I’ve linked to some examples below). Matt Douglass. what Nate Silver described in a recent post as the benefit Obama got from his support in Silicon Valley. Kevin Gates. we got hundreds of sign-ups and conducted scores of interviews with engineers and other tech professionals who were excited to help out. But when we launched our first tool and pushed through the frustrating final tweaks to make things deployable I had a sense that we were doing something that would really have an impact. 2012. Let’s just say the GOP didn’t have a tech field office in the neighborhood. And then there was the frustrating amount of volunteer flakiness. The person that’s in your face or the fire that’s currently burning the brightest is the thing that gets the most attention. And campaign’s are. Johnvey Hwang. scared we’d fail. My biggest worry at the start was that we wouldn’t be able to get enough people on board. “interrupt-driven” organizations. Since we were safely tucked away in San Francisco we didn’t have the luxury (such as it was) of going over and tapping someone on the shoulder to make sure our particular issue got addressed. opening and running this office was a fulfillment of a long-time wish of his—to offer the opportunity for people with tech skills to contribute something they’re good at to an effort they believe in. reliable contributors.

Marc Love. "is that we win these fights because Americans know that LGBT people are their neighbors. Data. Field. I’m immensely proud that I got to be the one to pull them into the campaign. say the organizers behind November 6's same-sex marriage wins in Maine. Centralizing the software development in HQ in part to avoid creation of rogue tools in the states. Pete Warden. Patrick Cullen and a bunch of others I’m forgetting were total champs. Shannon Chin. 2012 It was no secret during past decades of ballot-box pummeling that social connections help determine where people stand on LGBT rights.com/politics/archive/2012/11/my-best-friend-is-gay-where-social-networks-meetssame-sex-marriage/265793/ Nancy Scola November 30." More than that. Ops. Much was made about our pod structure: each region had “desks” they reported up to. experience told them that personal conversations on or around the significance of marriage were especially persuasive. Simply having a gay family member. Carrie Crespo. director of media efforts for the Human Rights Campaign.cool donation app that we ran out of time to launch." says Michael Cole-Schwartz. and the people they shop with at the grocery store. or colleague doubles the likelihood of support. but there’s got to be a way to distribute authority at least a little bit down the chain. might have killed an important ecosystem for bubbling up innovation. I’d follow up with all of them on their experience. Angus led a very successful late-summer volunteer recruitment effort to send techies directly to states. which had all the main departments of the campaign represented—Digital.theatlantic. Deron Aucoin. You certainly can’t run a campaign where each state has their own show technologically. Now that it’s over. Brandon Liu. Gunthar Hartwig. When I was in Colorado for the last weeks of GOTV it was stark what a disconnect there seemed to be between the tech team and the people who were using the tools. their cousins. the people they sit next to in church. Press. friend. And that stayed true when those talks happened between straight . my lasting impressions are all about how amazing our volunteers were. their aunts and uncles. Maryland. They knew the public-opinion polls. ended up in one of our small business videos because of his involvement in the tech office. Analytics—but no engineers. If I were smarter and more organized. and Washington. "The meta narrative. The ask he sent out got thousands of responses which were matched up with states who needed on-the-ground tech help in the last weeks of the campaign. I really think that model—of sending tech volunteers into the field to support data and analytics teams on the ground—is a much more sustainable model of tech volunteer engagement for the long term and for smaller campaigns. and I can’t wait to see what they do now that they’ve caught the political technology bug. Edit: Here are those tools I mentioned: Trip Planner Ecards MapMaker The Atlantic: The Social-Network Effect That is Helping Legalize Gay Marriage http://www. Minnesota. Eliza Wee. I mentioned a few earlier but Roger Hu. which is completely understandable. Why not add Tech to the pods and then have volunteer technologists on the ground working directly with that regional lead? Putting engineers directly in touch with staff in the states would have gone a long way towards bridging the divide between tech and field.

Let's say you live in Florida or New Jersey and don't want to see Maine. Yale political scientists Alan S. Where they went to high school. But there was still a conundrum. is that Americans are connected far and wide.") But you can opt to email them instead. Where they live now." Bannon says.org. The gold standard of outreach is to call them on the phone. (There is. while in "real life" Americans report having an average of two close friends. co-founder and CEO of Amicus. though. You can even send them an actual printed postcard. and it had to do with amplification. You are asked to reach out and contact those friends and friends-of-friends. First. Green wrote that "the more personal the interaction. of course. or colleague from three jobs ago now living in Bangor or Glen Echo or Minneapolis or Richland. asking for votes. "Bits and pieces of it weren't possible even a few months ago. After that. Pull up Call4Equality." In large part. he says. Human Rights Campaign and local coalitions like Washington United for Marriage and Minnesotans United for All Families say they're beginning to figure out is how to tap the billions of social connections that have emerged there over the last four election cycles. Minnesota. for the record. or Washington come down against same-sex marriage. through Amicus. Eight years later. personalized with your photo from Facebook. the harder it is to reproduce on a large scale. That combination of public and semi-public data can be startling. but it works. even when they might not know that they are. they're asked by a friend to do it.HRC. up pops a listing of your Facebook friends. say the LGBT-vote organizers. Where they were born. A pair of relevant statistics: The median "friend" count on Facebook is 190. Together the tool equipped marriage-vote organizers to operationalize their accumulated wisdom about human behavior in this election. explains Cole-Schwartz: "How do we get these conversations that happen naturally to happen more often?" It's a political challenge not limited to the question of LGBT issues. cousin's best friend. One striking revelation from Facebook. But the social effect is powerful. (Suggested language: "You got married because you were in love and wanted to start a family? Me too.) That allows the HRC to target their million-and-a-half- . says Seth Bannon. that's because Facebook has spent the last few years steadily opening its social graph to outside developers. You might have a college dormmate. a product of the New York tech scene that puts your "social graph" -.to work in raising political awareness. comes from the Latin for "friend"). Maryland." At the time. an opportunity to pull folks who aren't on Facebook into the mix using Amicus's find-a-friend feature. it's just data matching. that organization's version of Amicus. Where they went to college. Gerber and Donald P.people. HRC and its allies used a tool called Amicus. and raising money (the tool's name.a term popularized by Mark Zuckerberg to refer to the available digital knowledge on how all of us are related -. Then the organizers put that power to work. Here's how it works. You might not remember that. Facebook had barely emerged from its Harvard dorm. "You couldn't have done this five years ago. The cause now knows not only a ton about a potential new supporter but also how they fit into a current supporter's own little piece of humanity's web. and then sign onto Facebook. like the conversations with his daughters Sasha and Malia that were said to change President Obama's thinking. In their groundbreaking 2004 book Get Out the Vote!. People are twice as likely to do something political if. you identify yourself in the voter file from public records. the progressive information outfit that's only a few years old itself. but Facebook does. their identities fleshed out with the data Amicus has collected about them: When they were born. On the nuts-and-bolts level. and the voter data being matched with the graph comes from Catalist.

On raw numbers. "I hope you beat 'Eiker. Bannon has churned through campaigns. "we won't work with you. Amicus debuted at Manhattan's New York Tech Meetup just last October. like stickers. He was born into politics.2 million. more knowing. see a lot to like in Amicus. the techcentric co-working space in the Flatiron District where Amicus is now based. "I was always frustrated with the tech." Bad systems meant wasting the efforts of volunteers. Funders. the company announced it had completed a round of funding worth $3.'" Six years later. Along the way. adding a data scientist as soon as possible. too. "If you call a 32year-old woman at 3 p. he says. In April. Bannon laid out his own story for me while sitting at General Assembly. is looking to increase its staff of seven. the ruddy 28-year-old Connecticut native said. Amicus loses a lot of potential allies who come over the transom and don't engage right away. Bannon concedes. but its roots run deep. HRC puts the number of direct calls through Amicus at 7." Bannon says. Bannon met co-founder Ben Lamothe in Harvard Square over chess tables year ago. and real goods. Also important: the psychology of volunteers themselves. Topper Bowers.member supporter base to whatever political geography is relevant to the battle of the moment. telling to the challenger. "but if you're trying to take away rights. when the former was studying philosophy and government Harvard and the latter theoretical mathematics at MIT. taking a leave of absence from Harvard in 2006 for Ned Lamont's bid to unseat Lieberman. when they relocated to New York. They picked up their third co-founder. He recalled being four years old. the vote in Washington State was won by 228." In the years since. To help solve that. sitting on the shoulders of his socially aware and politically active mother during the contentious 1988 election between Republican Senator Lowell Weicker and upstart Democrat Joe Lieberman." says Bannon. .000. who might help them figure out not only who should be asked to engage in political action. a software developer who had been toiling at Snapfish.") The company is also considering taking more seriously something in which they've only been dabbling: anonymous modeling. and putting in time for Obama in 2008 and Alan Khazei's Senate campaign in 2009. volunteers who rack up participation points and thus moved up levels were rewarded with both virtual goods. A week after the election. It would be ideal to have someone schooled in sociology.m." It's valuable data that gets poured into a growing cache that could someday allow them to know that a woman of that age and job status should be called after working hours and asked for 20 bucks instead.'" says Bannon. too.000 votes. "It gives us a universe of persuadable people for the cohort already on our side to reach out to" says Cole-Schwartz. But organizers see in this early deployment signs of success. says Bannon. adding that increasing the platform's stickiness tops their to-do list. But some things are lost in the digital conversion. "we capture that. what he calls one of the more "beautiful" parts of the campaign life. (Amicus is non-partisan and the platform generally open. and drawstring bags. like Facebook badges. "I dedicated myself to being their proxies. like the the camaraderie that nudges volunteers towards picking up the phone at an inperson phone bank. Amicus. The vision driving Amicus is one of creating a more robust version of the campaign experience -. Organizers say that they would have liked to have seen more people pick up the phone. an online organizer with HRC. an explosion in their New Haven duplex on election night (of all nights) left Bannon's mother with lasting injuries that made engaging in politics difficult. but the best person in their social graph to prod them to make that leap. T-shirts. But Amicus is still in its early stages. "I realized that there were millions of people who couldn't do anything about it. on a Thursday and ask her for $30 and she says 'no. He's set himself on building a solution. "it wasn't a barnstormer" at roll-out says James Servino.more immediate.

Public information is one thing.) Bannon says that 21. "Hey. There are low-bar asks that still manage to be powerful. of course.) Amicus fits comfortably into a bigger. political tweets and posts. Amicus connects users via social media but discourages its use in practice. for example." says Bannon. perhaps. The first thing Amicus users are asked to do is act as a data refiner. Minnesota United -. says Bannon. and say.gets to keep that insight on whether or not someone is a same-sex marriage supporter. As for who owns the resulting data. Minnesota volunteers were also asked to tag their friends as supporters or opponents of same-sex marriage. the political scientist. In Minnesota. users were given the choice of tagging themselves with a discrete number of political identifiers ranging from very liberal to very conservative. In a recent post-campaign debrief. dial the number on the voter file. A few clicks to let them know where a friend stands. "it's going to tell you when someone has just been hung up on five times in a row and needs a high five. the information on whose Facebook profile matches which entry in the voter file stays with Amicus. come across as too "spammy. matching their Facebook list to their friend's correct entry in the voter file. Bannon admits there is often a "whoa" moment. pretending to know less than it does by. with . and it's not always clear which address is a current one." says Nicholas Kor. And there are also more obvious affirmations on deck.000 matches were made through the HRC. Amicus is still a fledgling technology.say." (A virtual one. in many ways is a return to the past.The gamification proved serious business. (People's names aren't unique." Of course. "If someone matches friends and leaves because they're shy.' it's pretty convincing. says Bannon. actually. Right now. they assign numbers to it. you went to college with my step-brother. Amicus is calibrated to make the most of even the squeamish.and back to actual conversations between actual humans. saved the marriage push half an hour's worth of work and about $30. they're still creating a lot of value. the Minnesota coalition told volunteers." Much of the advanced tech the campaign deployed. You pick up the phone. but this is public public. "People were willing to write an angry email when they didn't get their points. In Facebook's own early days. As part of a planned redesign. said Messina. who worked on Minnesota United's "Let Your Friends kNOw" program. and we hung out that one time at the Brickskeller your junior year. "They're enabling another volunteer to make that friend-of-a-friend call. counterintuitive trend in digital politics. and about as many in Minnesota. Amicus engineers around it." What's more. "which is a pretty good sign it works. Is that creepy? Is it too creepy? Logging onto Amicus and seeing even just your own name in the voter file can be unsettling. succeeded in making the experience of door-to-door campaigning less tedious and more efficient. How do you feel about marriage equality?" In some ways. about adding in subtle encouragements like. of course. hiding street numbers. But organizers say they're riding a technological wave where people seem to get over their squeamishness if they judge that they're trading privacy for the chance to make a stronger social connection. bumping an old buddy to the top of a volunteers call list after a few discouraging interactions with voters closer to the edges of their networks." They have been talking to Gerber. It's a kind of in-kind contribution of your social graph. combined with all that social-media data that wasn't meant to mean anything. The cause -. this is a new kind of conversation where you have far more knowledge about your neighbor at your fingertips than you did before." says Bannon. "Once we let people know that it saves us time and money to let us know that your friends are voting 'no. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina argued that "what campaigns are evolving into. The ambition of a surprising amount of political technologies is to move away from the cacophony of political TV ads and tweets and Facebook wall posts -. and a valuable one. but the ideas on peer-to-peer organizing it's tapping into run through the age of data-infused politics.

Ari Wallach. In Washington. you can study the data enough to know that Democrats tend to be more supportive of same-sex marriage than Republicans. deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said at a recent panel. People are complicated. urban voters more than rural ones. helped launch Friendfactor. The acknowledgement: when you move beyond simply Republican and Democrat in America. Just ask their friends. Jackson's pro-Obama "Wake the F___ Up" video. Obama for America Digital Director Teddy Goff said Friday. Our politics. he says.twitter Nick Judd November 30.ULkX9aSzrN0. "we found that there were a pretty remarkable number of conservative voters that ended up supporting us." It was a pattern repeated across the four battleground states. and not only is the tool not branded as Amicus when volunteers are using it. important persuadable ones. is that "20." says Zach Silk. Sarah Silverman's profane voter ID ads. broadcast brands to hyperlocal" -.and 30-year-olds don't want to take political action on behalf of organizations anymore. Tech President: Obama’s Targeted GOTV on Facebook Reached 5 Million Voters. the "political affiliation" option is a jumble of adjectives and established organizations. as practiced by real-live humans. Lowell Weicker ended up ending his career as an independent. as well as a text box for people to fill in however they wish. "It's not a clean partisan break. the 30-something campaign manager for Washington's samesex-marriage campaign. The Obama campaign realized that many of the voters they'd identified as possibly swinging their way watch Fox News. state-level organizers say. Goff Says http://techpresident. "I see in Amicus the future of political parties. 2012 The president's re-election campaign used targeted person-to-person contact on Facebook to reach five million voters. But those models are rough and incomplete. Maybe.friends. women more than men. Wallach says. For that matter. Amicus and other tools were simply packaged as Marriage Hero.apathetic also included in the mix. interests. The caused a stir when. so did Joe Lieberman. neighbors. things get messy. "To get a winning majority. "We know that as much as 20 percent of Democrats weren't going to be with us. Their brand allegiance has shifted from vertical. and 2008's The Great Schlep.6 million voters to figure out which of them were the few. it's sometimes not even branded with the name of the organization that's providing supporters with an organizing channel. co-workers. and the state's voter records are non-partisan. and friendships of the American electorate. It was a tactic borne of necessity. more than I see the future of political parties at the DNC or the RNC." Social data. maybe not. On the same-sex-marriage question. is rarely quite as clean as our partisanship suggests. .com/news/23202/obamas-targeted-gotv-facebook-reached-5-million-voters-goffsays#. in 2008. we needed to bring in as many libertarian-oriented Republicans as possible. helped narrow down a universe of some 3. One lesson he's picked up. a celebrity-celebrated political effort to make the most of the social bonds between Americans of all sexual identities. but Silk explains. The final vote breakdowns aren't in. but it's not difficult to imagine that institutions now framed around partisan dichotomies might be reshaped with fuller knowledge of the likes. many of whom were the focus of an effort to reach 18-to-29-year-old voters who not be reached by phone. the strategist known as one of the minds behind such work as Samuel L. they switched instead to a scrolling mix of international political parties. Amicus makes peer-to-peer connections possible on that level." Wallach says." says Silk. Today.

. Here’s what the nerds did. What data did they use—and were they tracking you across the web? . to measuring how “persuadable” individual swing state voters might be. we’ve been following how political campaigns use data about voters to target them in different ways. all of their friends who they knew .org/article/everything-we-know-so-far-about-obamas-big-data-operation By Lois Beckett November 29. but I hadn't heard a campaign staffer actually say how many people the campaign reached this way — until today.propublica.. and couldn't reach otherwise. His remarks do more to validate the hype around directed. members of the campaign are starting to open up about what their team actually did with all that data. So there you go. "So we had about seven million instances of people contacting about five million people. refused to say anything about how it was targeting voters. communications and the 2012 campaign during a taping for SiriusXM Left held at Rootscamp and set to air later on Friday. Just shy of 1 million people had signed up for the Obama for America Facebook app as of election day. here’s an overview of some of the campaign’s key strategies. as well as reporting elsewhere. he said. 2012 For the past nine months. which may emerge as a new core technology in much the same way campaigns embraced online advertising and SMS messaging after watching those tools work in 2008. developers. ProPublica: Everything We Know (So Far) About Obama's Big Data Tactics http://www. The problem with GOTV targets in that age group is that half of them can't be reached by phone. the Obama campaign. which had assembled a cutting-edge team of data scientists." Goff said. But 85 percent(!) of them were a friend of a friend of Barack Obama on Facebook. And it's already been well established that fewer young voters have landline phones while more people generally are communicating over the Internet. Now. During the election.Campaign officials have previously said that asking supporters to reach out to their friends had a high rate of success. Goff said supporters reached about five million people through Facebook with seven million pieces of content. from connecting Facebook data to the national list of registered voters. these were people we had to reach. but the fact that the campaign was talking about rates rather than hard numbers suggested the number of people who were actually contacted was low. Consultants I spoke with said that was all well and good. Based on our own interviews with campaign officials. especially over mobile phones and on social networks. Goff said. Obama campaign officials have already said that 20 percent of people asked by their friends to register. and digital advertising experts. person-to-person Facebook contact. vote or take another activity did as they were asked to do. "Facebook became the only place where we could reach them." Goff added later on. Goff and OfA Deputy Campaign Director Stefanie Cutter discussed technology.

It’s still not clear. Chief Innovation and Integration Officer Michael Slaby and other campaign officials said again that they relied less on consumer data, and more on public voting records and the responses that voters provided directly to campaign canvassers. They would not comment on exactly what data the campaign collected about individual people. Officials within the campaign said media reports had overemphasized the importance of online web cookie data to track voters across the web. Slaby said the campaign primarily used web cookies to serve ads to people who had visited the campaign site — a tactic called “retargeting,” which Mitt Romney’s campaign also used. The campaign also told us web cookies were useful for helping them analyze whether volunteers were actually reading the online training materials the campaign had prepared for them. (They didn’t track this on a volunteer-by-volunteer basis.) The backbone of the campaign’s effort was a database on registered voters compiled by the Democratic National Committee. It was updated weekly with new public records from state level election officials, one official said. The campaign then added its own voter data to the mix. Officials wouldn’t say exactly what information they added. What will happen to the data about millions of voters collected during the campaign? It's still not clear. As the Washington Post reported earlier this month, other Democratic candidates are eager to use Obama's voter data for their own campaigns. Some of the president's data will certainly go to the Democratic National Committee, where it can be used to help other Democrats. But both the Post and the Wall Street Journal reported that it's unclear if the DNC has the resources — technological and financial — to manage all of the voter data and analysis the campaign produced. The Wall Street Journal cited an anonymous Democratic Party official, who said that a new organization might be created to manage and update Obama's campaign data. This kind of organization "would have the potential to give the president leverage in the selection of the next Democratic presidential nominee," the Journal reported. After his 2008 win, Obama created "Organizing for America," a group that worked within the DNC to advance the president's agenda. How did the Obama campaign know which TV shows voters were watching? Did the Obama campaign really "get a big list of the names of people who watched certain things on TV," as Gawker asked earlier this month?

No. But they were able to get very detailed information about the television habits of certain groups of voters. In order to decide where to buy their TV ads, the Obama campaign matched lists of voters to the names and addresses of cable subscribers, as the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and others have reported. This allowed them to analyze which channels the voters they wanted to reach were watching. The campaign focused on swing state voters the campaign had scored as "persuadable," and voters who were supporters but needed to be encouraged to turn out at the polls, Carol Davidsen, who ran the campaign's television ad "Optimizer" project, told ProPublica. They also looked at voters who are Latino and African-American. Working with Rentrak, a data company, the campaign tracked the television viewership of these groups across 60 channels, looking at how viewership changed for every quarter hour of the day, Davidsen said. The campaign was able to identify the audience size of each group for a particular channel at a particular time — and then analyze where and when the campaign could advertise to key voters at the lowest cost. For instance, the campaign was able to identify a subset of persuadable voters who lived in households that watched less than two hours of television a day. This allowed the campaign to schedule ads during the times these voters would actually be watching TV. "Even if it's more expensive, it's worth it, because we can't catch them later," Davidsen told ProPublica. So, how was the campaign able to get all this viewership data? In Ohio, the campaign worked with FourthWall Media, a data and targeting company, to get television viewership data for individual homes, which had "anonymous but consistent" household ID numbers, Davidsen said. This allowed the campaign to track household viewing behavior over time, without knowing which exact voters they were analyzing. (FourthWall Media has yet to respond to a request for comment on how their process works.) Working with Rentrak, the campaign could follow the viewing habits of larger groups of voters in different TV markets across the country. Rentrak used a third-party data company to match lists of voters to TV operator data about subscribers — and then match that information to the anonymous ID numbers that Rentrak uses to track the usage patterns of television set-top boxes. To protect users' privacy, none of the companies involved have all the information they would need to know what shows a specific voter watched on TV, Rentrak's Chris Wilson told ProPublica. For instance, Rentrak knows viewers' ID numbers and viewing habits, but doesn't know which ID numbers correspond with which name or address. In fact, Rentrak never knows the name or address of the household, Wilson said. While commercial advertisers are beginning to do this kind of data matching and analysis, "What [the Obama campaign] did was probably on the more sophisticated side compared to a lot of folks," Wilson told ProPublica. He said the campaign had done "pioneering work" in television targeting.

Rentrak also works with large consumer data companies, including Experian and Epsilon, to match television viewer data with consumer data. According to the Federal Communications Commission privacy rules, cable operators are not allowed to disclose subscribers' "personally identifiable information" without their consent, but they can collect and share "aggregate" data. How important was the data the campaign could access through its Facebook app about volunteers and their friends? Observers noted that in the last days of the campaign, Obama supporters who used the campaign’s Facebook app received emails with the names and profile photos of friends in swing states. The e-mails urged supporters to contact their friends and encourage them to vote. It wasn’t clear how well the effort went or what the response was. Some people had been encouraged to ask their Republican friends to vote. A Romney official who had signed up for the campaign’s e-mail list was told to contact his Facebook friend Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader. What we now know is that the campaign did in fact try to match Facebook profile to people’s voting records. So if you got a message encouraging you to contact a friend in Ohio, the campaign may have targeted that friend based on their public voting record and other information the campaign had. But the matching process was far from perfect, in part because the information the campaign could access about volunteers’ friends was limited. Were privacy concerns about the campaign’s data collection justified? We’ve reported on some of the concerns about the amount of data the campaign has amassed on individual voters. Were those concerns at all justified? It’s hard to say right now, since we still don’t know where the campaign drew the line about what data they would and would not use. Obama officials did dismiss the idea that the campaign cared about voters’ porn habits. The analytics team estimated how “persuadable” voters are. What does that mean? It all came down to four numbers. The Obama campaign had a list of every registered voter in the battleground states. The job of the campaign’s much-heralded data scientists was to use the information they had amassed to determine which voters the campaign should target— and what each voter needed to hear. They needed to go a little deeper than targeting “waitress moms.” “White suburban women? They’re not all the same. The Latino community is very diverse with very different interests,” Dan Wagner, the campaign’s chief analytics officer, told The Los Angeles Times. “What the data permits you to do is figure out that diversity.”

What Obama’s data scientists produced was a set of four individual estimates for each swing state voter’s behavior. These four numbers were included in the campaign’s voter database, and each score, typically on a scale of 1 to 100, predicted a different element of how that voter was likely to behave. Two of the numbers calculated voters’ likelihood of supporting Obama, and of actually showing up to the polls. These estimates had been used in 2008. But the analysts also used data about individual voters to make new, more complicated predictions. If a voter supported Obama, but didn’t vote regularly, how likely was he or she to respond to the campaign’s reminders to get to the polls? The final estimate was the one that had proved most elusive to earlier campaigns—and that may be most influential in the future. If voters were not strong Obama supporters, how likely was it that a conversation about a particular issue — like Obamacare or the Buffett rule—could persuade them to change their minds? Slaby said that there was early evidence that the campaign’s estimate of how “persuadable” voters would be on certain issues had actually worked. “This is very much a competitive advantage for us,” he said. Wagner began working on persuasion targeting during the 2010 campaign, Slaby said — giving the campaign a long time to perfect their estimates. Did everyone on the campaign have access to these scores? No. Campaign volunteers were not given access to these individual scores, one official said. “Oh, my neighbor Lucy is a 67 and her husband is a 72—we would probably consider that a distraction.” Do other political campaigns also assign me a set of numerical scores? Yes. The use of microtargeting scores — a tactic from the commercial world — is a standard part of campaign data efforts, and one that has been well documented before. In his book exploring the rise of experimentally focused campaigns, Sasha Issenberg compares microtargeting scores to credit scores for the political world. In 2008, the Obama campaign ranked voters’ likely support of the senator from Illinois using a 1 to 100 scale. This year, The Guardian reported, Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by the Koch brothers, ranked some swing state voters on a scale from 0 to 1, with 0 being “so leftwing and progovernment” that they are “not worth bothering with,” and 1 being “already so in favour of tax and spending cuts that to talk to them would be preaching to the converted.” What’s different about what Obama’s data scientists did?

Obama campaign’s persuadability score tried to capture not just a voter’s current opinion, but how that individual opinion was likely to change after interactions with the campaign. Most importantly, Obama’s analysts did not assume that voters who said they were “undecided” were necessarily persuadable—a mistake campaigns have made in the past, according to targeting experts. “Undecided is just a big lump,” said Daniel Kreiss, who wrote a book on the evolution of Democratic “networked” politics from Howard Dean through the 2008 Obama campaign. Voters who call themselves “undecided” might actually be strong partisans who are unwilling to share their views—or simply people who are disengaged. “Someone who is undecided and potentially not very persuadable, you might spend all the time in the world talking to that person, and their mind doesn’t change. They stay undecided,” Slaby said. To pinpoint voters who might actually change their minds, the Obama campaign conducted randomized experiments, Slaby said. Voters received phone calls in which they were asked to rate their support for the president, and then engaged in a conversation about different policy issues. At the end of the conversation, they were asked to rate their support for the president again. Using the results of these experiments, combined with detailed demographic information about individual voters, the campaign was able to pinpoint both what kinds of voters had been persuaded to support the president, and which issues had persuaded them. Avi Feller, a graduate student in statistics at Harvard who has worked on this kind of modeling, compared it to medical research. “The statistics of drug trials are very similar to the statistics of experiments in campaigns,” he said. “I have some cancer drug, and I know it works well on some people—for whom is the cancer drug more or less effective?” “Campaigns have always been about trying to persuade people. What’s new here is we’ve spent the time and energy to go through this randomization process,” Slaby said. Issenberg reported that Democratic strategists have been experimenting with persuasion targeting since 2010, and that the Analyst Institute, an organization devoted to improving Democratic campaign tactics through experimentation, had played a key role in its development. Slaby said the Obama campaign’s persuasion strategy built on these efforts, but at greater scale. Aaron Strauss, the targeting director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement that the DCCC was also running a persuasion targeting program this year using randomized experiments as part of its work on congressional races. What were the persuasion scores good for—and how well did they work? The persuasion scores allowed the campaign to focus its outreach efforts—and their volunteer phone calls— on voters who might actually change their minds as the result. It also guided them in what policy messages individual voters should hear.

Slaby said the campaign had some initial data suggesting that the persuasion score had been effective—but that the campaign was still working on an in-depth analysis of which of its individual tactics actually worked. But a successful “persuasion” phone call may not change a voter’s mind forever—just like a single drug dose will not be effective forever. One official with knowledge of the campaign’s data operation said that the campaign’s experiments also tested how long the “persuasion” effect lasted after the initial phone conversation—and found that it was only about three weeks. “There is no generic conclusion to draw from this experimentation that persuasion via phone only lasts a certain amount of time,” Slaby said. “Any durability effects we saw were specific to this electorate and this race.” Bloomberg Businessweek: The Science Behind Those Obama Campaign E-Mails http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-29/the-science-behind-those-obama-campaign-e-mails By Joshua Green November 29, 2012 One fascination in a presidential race mostly bereft of intrigue was the strange, incessant, and weirdly overfamiliar e-mails that emanated from the Obama campaign. Anyone who shared an address with the campaign soon started receiving messages from Barack Obama with subject lines such as “Join me for dinner?” “It’s officially over,” “It doesn’t have to be this way,” or just “Wow.” Jon Stewart mocked them on the Daily Show. The women’s website the Hairpin likened them to notes from a stalker. But they worked. Most of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails. During the campaign, Obama’s staff wouldn’t answer questions about them or the alchemy that made them so successful. Now, with the election over, they’re opening the black box. The appeals were the product of rigorous experimentation by a large team of analysts. “We did extensive AB testing not just on the subject lines and the amount of money we would ask people for,” says Amelia Showalter, director of digital analytics, “but on the messages themselves and even the formatting.” The campaign would test multiple drafts and subject lines—often as many as 18 variations—before picking a winner to blast out to tens of millions of subscribers. “When we saw something that really moved the dial, we would adopt it,” says Toby Fallsgraff, the campaign’s e-mail director, who oversaw a staff of 20 writers. It quickly became clear that a casual tone was usually most effective. “The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your in-box from other people,” Fallsgraff says. “ ‘Hey’ was probably the best one we had over the duration.” Another blockbuster in June simply read, “I will be outspent.” According to testing data shared with Bloomberg Businessweek, that outperformed 17 other variants and raised more than $2.6 million. Writers, analysts, and managers routinely bet on which lines would perform best and worst. “We were so bad at predicting what would win that it only reinforced the need to constantly keep testing,” says Showalter. “Every time something really ugly won, it would shock me: giant-size fonts for links, plain-text links vs. pretty ‘Donate’ buttons. Eventually we got to thinking, ‘How could we make things even less attractive?’ That’s how we arrived at the ugly yellow highlighting on the sections we wanted to draw people’s eye to.”

Another unexpected hit: profanity. Dropping in mild curse words such as “Hell yeah, I like Obamacare” got big clicks. But these triumphs were fleeting. There was no such thing as the perfect e-mail; every breakthrough had a shelf life. “Eventually the novelty wore off, and we had to go back and retest,” says Showalter. Fortunately for Obama and all political campaigns that will follow, the tests did yield one major counterintuitive insight: Most people have a nearly limitless capacity for e-mail and won’t unsubscribe no matter how many they’re sent. “At the end, we had 18 or 20 writers going at this stuff for as many hours a day as they could stay awake,” says Fallsgraff. “The data didn’t show any negative consequences to sending more.” After a pause, he offered a qualification: “We do know that getting all those e-mails in your in-box is at least mildly irritating to some people. Even my father would point that out to me.” The bottom line: Obama’s e-mail fundraising team tested hundreds of grabby subject lines. The most successful—“Hey”— brought in millions of dollars. Tech President: He’s Back! Alan Grayson Shares His Thanksgiving Wal-Mart Escapade on Facebook and YouTube http://techpresident.com/news/23183/hes-back-alan-grayson-shares-his-thanksgiving-wal-mart-escapadefacebook-and-youtube Sarah Lai Stirland November 27, 2012 Congressman-elect Alan Grayson hasn't even been sworn in yet, but he's already engaging the public and putting issues on the radar with his signature use of social media. The "blogosphere's man in Congress" was one of two documented members of the House to publicly associate themselves with the Labor-backed Wal-Mart protests this Thanksgiving. (The other was California Representative George Miller, the top Democrat on the House Education and Labor Committee, reports The Nation.) Grayson attended a protest at one of the stores in Orlando, posed for a photo with an associate, and in a Saturday Facebook posting lambasted Wal-Mart for its low wages and for mooching off the taxpayer by forcing employees onto public assistance. He also recounted his experience, and explained that he was marched off Wal-Mart's premises by its security guards. That drew attention. On Tuesday, he appeared on CNN's Newsroom with Carol Costello, where he reiterated most of the points made in his Facebook post, which were essentially many of protest organizer OUR Walmart's points -- that Wal-Mart is a profitable corporation, and that they can afford to pay their associates more, and treat them with more respect. Congressman-elect Alan Grayson hasn't even been sworn in yet, but he's already engaging the public and putting issues on the radar with his signature use of social media. The "blogosphere's man in Congress" was one of two documented members of the House to publicly associate themselves with the Labor-backed Wal-Mart protests this Thanksgiving. (The other was California Representative George Miller, the top Democrat on the House Education and Labor Committee, reports The Nation.) Grayson attended a protest at one of the stores in Orlando, posed for a photo with an associate, and in a Saturday Facebook posting lambasted Wal-Mart for its low wages and for mooching off the taxpayer by

forcing employees onto public assistance. He also recounted his experience, and explained that he was marched off Wal-Mart's premises by its security guards. That drew attention. On Tuesday, he appeared on CNN's Newsroom with Carol Costello, where he reiterated most of the points made in his Facebook post, which were essentially many of protest organizer OUR Walmart's points -- that Wal-Mart is a profitable corporation, and that they can afford to pay their associates more, and treat them with more respect. He also threw in some startling statistics: "In state after state," he wrote, "The largest group of Medicaid recipients is WalMart employees. I’m sure that the same thing is true of food stamp recipients. Each WalMart “associate” costs the taxpayers an average of more than $1,000 in public assistance." Grayson didn't cite the source for his statistics, nor the time frame for this alleged $1,000 in public assistance. Wal-Mart didn't respond to a request for comment at the time of this post. When Costello noted what many other people have noted over the past few days -- namely that there appeared to be very few actual Wal-Mart employees amongst the ranks of the protestors, Grayson responded: "The protests aren't meant to stop people from shopping. The protests are meant to inform workers of their rights to organize under the law, and under the constitution, and to make sure that they understand that they are not alone, and they will be protected if they exercise their rights. It's not meant to raise prices, or to interfere with shopping, it's meant to organize people who desperately need to be organized to make a better life for themselves." He also told Costello that the federal minimum wage needs to be higher. Then he promptly uploaded the clip to YouTube, where he has almost 8,000 subscribers. Grayson has previously shared his thoughts about how he deliberately uses YouTube to communicate directly with the public on issues that he cares about. In 2010, he told Mother Jones that he routinely delivered short, YouTube-friendly (in Nick Baumann's words) speeches. Grayson also used Facebook during his campaign to communicate with the public. The Walmart posting, along with others, such as November 4's "Idiot Wind: 'A Socialist Nightmare Hellscape,'" ridiculing his Republican opponent's hyperbole, illustrate that the congressman-elect fully intends to use these channels to bring attention in his own unique way to both mainstream issues as well as others that might not be on the political radar or on the Congressional to-do list. NJ.com: How I won an election by only using Facebook http://www.nj.com/south/index.ssf/2012/11/how_i_won_an_election_by_only.html#incart_river Jim Cook November 22, 2012 My campaign lasted less than 24 hours. It didn’t cost me a cent. All I used was a few Facebook status updates saying “Write me in for Woodstown-Pilesgrove School Board candidate.”

Sure enough, there is power in social media. After nearly three weeks of counting over 500 write-in ballots, a quick call to the Salem County Clerk’s office confirmed I won. Let’s take a walk back and see how this transpired. Monday, Nov. 5 was my brother Joey’s birthday. My parents and I sat around our kitchen table late at night finishing up our cake and tossing away the wrapping paper when we came across our sample ballots. The next day, we all would vote. Since this was my brother’s first presidential election in which he would vote, we all had a good discussion about the various public questions, defining the likes of words such as “bond referendum,” and how taxpayers would be affected by the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ votes. Anyway, we noticed that there were two openings on the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Board of Education. That’s when the fun started. I pulled out my iPhone half-jokingly and typed in: “Hey everyone! I noticed you need to vote for 2 for W-P school board. But there’s only one candidate. Write-in ‘Jim Cook Jr.’ !!!” It was a presidential election, so I expected my post to be lost in the flurry of Obama/Romney posts. It wasn’t. Twenty of my friends commented that they would vote for me. I posted again, urging friends to write me in. More comments and confirmations of votes. The more support I received, the more of a wake-up call it was to take this more seriously — so I did. My first post went up around 10:30 p.m. Monday night, and my last went up less than 24 hours later. Eight posts total, asking for votes. When the count came in that night to our editorial desk, 261 write-in votes were reported in Pilesgrove Township for the vacant seat. Nearly every day for 15 days, I called the Salem County clerk’s office to find out if I had won. Over 200 other votes were cast in Woodstown, as well, with nearly 600 total write-ins cast for the vacant seat. The delay in finalizing the votes was due to superstorm Sandy, according to the clerk's office. Wednesday, Nov. 21, came along and I called Salem County Clerk Gilda Gill and she asked me my full name and my address. It was a match. I won a three-year term to Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School Board. Next, I hopped up and down and had a mild chain of outbursts in our office, proclaiming I had won. It was an exciting moment. I called my parents. I texted some friends. Then I posted on Facebook the news of winning and almost instantly got flooded with congratulatory messages — many of them saying I would bring a fresh perspective. That meant the most to me, hearing that. It was even better than winning — hearing from friends I hadn’t heard from in years. I’m sad to say, however, I cannot accept the position on Woodstown-Pilesgrove Board of Education. I wish I could, but I have to take the ethical route here and make the best decision for my career and the South Jersey Times — a job and company too close to my heart to put in jeopardy. In my field of work, it is of the utmost importance that a reporter or editor does not serve on any elected position in politics. Objectivity is the basis of our dedication to local journalism in South Jersey. That can’t be

hindered. If I accepted the position, I would have to resign from a job that I worked too hard to get and feel too passionate about to give up. With that said, all I have left to say is thank you. Thank you for writing in my name, even if I was somewhat unorthodox in my campaign method of only using Facebook. Thank you for trusting me — a proud 2006 graduate of Woodstown High School — leading in one of the most difficult local elected positions that exist. I feel the Woodstown-Pilesgrove love. There’s nothing like it. What can we say we learned from this? Its a reminder that if we stick together, 'we the people' still have a voice that strongly impacts our community. I've learned — and hope my friends have learned — that as young people, we play a vital role in that voice. I hope I haven't let you down, and I'm sorry I cannot accept this position. I can, however, throw a victory party. And you’re all invited. POLITICO: Jim Messina at the Politico Playbook Breakfast http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2012/11/jim-messina-at-politicos-playbook-breakfastevent.html 11/21/12 JIM MESSINA, Obama for America campaign manager, gave his first on-camera interview before a standingroom-only crowd at Playbook Breakfast: “What Targeted Sharing was -- and I think it's one of the most important things we did -- was a Facebook app that allowed you to go and match your Facebook world with our lists, and we say to you, ‘Mike, here are five friends of yours that we think are undecided in this race. Click here to send them a piece of viral content. Click here to send them a factsheet. Click here to ask them to support the President.’ … *I+t took us a year of some amazing work of our talented technology team to figure out how to do it. But we were able to contact over 5 million people directly through their Facebook worlds, and people that they knew. So, they're going to look if their friend … sends them something. They're going to look at it because they know that person. POLITICO: Jim Messina: What I learned in the election http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/84103.html#ixzz2DLt1pdEA Ginger Gibson November 21, 2012 Jim Messina, fresh off running the victorious Obama reelection campaign, oversaw the most technologyheavy campaign in history. But he insists it wasn’t just number-crunching that led to victory. It was the convergence of 21st-century data and old-fashioned on-the-ground door-knocking that left Messina confident before Election Day that Barack Obama would be victorious over Mitt Romney. “It’s about the candidate. It’s about the message. It’s about where they’re going to lead this country with a vision,” Messina said at POLITICO’s Playbook Breakfast on Tuesday in his first on-camera interview since the election. “Because that’s why millions of Americans went online and signed up for Obama for America. It wasn’t because they got a sexy T-shirt…It wasn’t because of the great bumper sticker. It was because they deeply believed in Barack Obama.” Here are 10 things about campaigning Messina learned along the way: 1. Public polls missed the mark

Public polls took a beating from Republicans this year, most of whom insisted they were inflating Obama’s numbers to discourage GOP voters. (VIDEO: Messina: Cell phones fouled polling) But in the end, many of the public polls showed a very tight race nationally, although some of public surveys did show Romney leading in the final weeks of the campaign. And Messina isn’t letting the pollsters off easy. “Most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous,” Messina said. “A bunch of polling is broken in the country.” With the data-heavy operation, Messina said the campaign could consistently see where the public polls were going wrong. The campaign calculated the early vote split within 1 percentage point and the Florida results with .2 percentage points, Messina said. He pointed most squarely to the lack of cellphone users included in most public polls. Federal regulations prohibited using an automated dialer to contact cellphone users for polling. Instead, a live person must dial and talk to the potential voter being polled and that makes conducting polls with cellphone users more expensive. As a result, many public polls leave cellphone users out of their samples. Messina said the growing popularity of cellphones as the only point of contact for young voters and minorities left key constituencies for Obama out of the polls and skewed the numbers for Romney in some samples. “Cellphone usage has changed the industry,” Messina said. Messina suggested that pollsters should look to actual state-generated voter registration rolls to identify voters and contact them instead of using their own samples. “That’s why some polls looked so difficult for the president, because they were under-polling the electorate for the president,” Messina said. 2. Hire smart people Messina got a piece of advice from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt: Hire smart people. And not necessarily political types. “You want smart people, who you are going to draw what you want and they’re going to build it. Messina said Schmidt, who served as a campaign adviser, told him. So Messina set out to lure data-savvy campaign workers like chief technology officer Harper Reed, who had never worked on a campaign before. As a result, the 60-member tech team was able to build new tools such as Narwhal, which let it unify all kinds of information about voters and volunteers. “It would start with hiring really smart people regardless of their age, [giving] them a budget and support and hold them accountable to deadline and they will build you some really great things,” Messina said of the book he would write about running a technology-driven campaign.

” Messina said. “I think it already is for young voters out there. including running thousands of statistical models to track polling information. door-knocking.The data crew crunched numbers. Now. the average voter got most of their information from the evening news. 3.” The shift to online was even more dramatic between 2008 and 2012. Spend early before the flood takes over One of the biggest missteps Republicans have pointed to in Romney’s campaign was the flood of attack ads during the summer months that eviscerated the GOP nominee’s business record and went unanswered. On Election Day in 2008. A decade ago. In 2012.” a program that allowed the campaign to track a number of metrics. $200 million more than the previous election. The biggest undertaking was a system that would allow people to identify their Facebook friends who were potential swing voters and personally encourage them to go to the polls or volunteer. a remarkable difference when every dollar in the campaign matters. Messina said. spending and advertising. as well as additional online social media presence. whoever has my job the next time. the average voter gets their news from 15 different sources. “I complained about how expensive it was and then we went and built it. The data-driven fundraising appeal outperformed the other by 14 percent. is going to have to decide what percentage you spend online. Mass marketing is over The Obama campaign reduced some of the mass marketing of candidates that was a hallmark of previous campaigns. Messina said. Messina said. And it put all of the data at Messina’s fingertips. The technology team was able to build “Dashboard. The first response was that such an undertaking would be expensive. but I think online will catch up very quickly. an arena that provided more targets and a wealth of specific users. The campaign shifted some of its resources to online advertising. “Analytics was a department in the campaign that used data across the campaign to make everyone’s job easier. the Obama campaign sent out one tweet on the social networking site Twitter. 4. To convert those into cash. . he said. Messina said. two fundraising appeals were sent: one using traditional direct mail requests and another with a tailored data request. Like the individually targeted fundraising appeals. the campaign not only had a Twitter team but also had a Facebook and Tumblr. And the online engagement paid off: The campaign raised $700 million online this year.” he said. the Dashboard system also allowed them to generate tailored voter appeals. The next presidential. The tech folks also used data points to model the most effective fundraising appeals.” Messina said. “Television is still the dominant media.

” Messina said. “This has to be about the grass roots. individual issues and how they historically vote. to keep the base involved in the conversation. It launched a barbershop and beauty shop engagement effort in important places like Ohio. “We built the biggest grass-roots campaign… We built the kind of campaign that made people want to volunteer. That was possible because of the size of Obama’s grass-roots operation. But Messina insists those days are over. He explained his friend was able to help get the absentee ballot in the mail. Romney’s campaign frequently insisted that voters weren’t paying attention and that they would spend where it counted — that is. 5. Messina told a story about a friend in Wisconsin who used Dashboard to target just two voters in his neighborhood. Messina insisted that the most important element of any campaign is old-fashioned door-knocking. Door knocking is the voter contact of the future Despite all the gee-whiz gadgets drawing media buzz. why they should get out and vote. even those who weren’t likely to support Romney. and after using the specific talking points walked away feeling encouraged he had won another voter over. Independents are not swing voters The old adage is that independents truly swing between the parties. Meanwhile.” Messina said. But Messina points out the flood of advertisements. even if that meant being outspent at the end of the campaign. “It was a crutch for them.” 6. Messina gave credit to Romney’s campaign for a fundraising operation that raised more big-dollar checks. “You must have an ongoing conversation about why they should support the president. “Too many Democrats just put Barack Obama’s picture on a piece of paper. more heavily at the end. And Romney relied more on his the super PACs than Obama did. The campaign found that it was important to engage supporters. we have to go back and run a campaign about the grassroots. but cautioned that also meant most of the Republican’s money was tied up with the national party. And that if they haven’t made their mind up by Election Day.Messina said the Obama campaign made the calculated decision to spend early.” The campaign found that the best way to contact voters wasn’t through out-of-state workers but via local residents who know their neighbors. where African-American turnout was up 4 points from 2008 and held the key to victory.” Messina said.” Messina said Obama told him. “We believed that late TV didn’t matter as much as early TV and it turns out we were right. they’ll be more likely to go to the challenger. one to chase after a stray absentee ballot and another that provided specific talking points. The negative images stuck. Messina said. fueled by heavy spending from Democratic-aligned super PACs. Messina said. . “There is a magical place that you can reach every voter: the door.” Messina said. allowed Democrats to define Romney before he could define himself.

Messina said. Much of the data used for scoring was based on door-knocking (“How fast did they slam the door?”) and phone calls by the campaign. he added.” Messina said. Message matters Through all of the lauding of Obama’s precision voter micro-targeting and reams of data. it was because they supported Obama. and we had a better messenger. like Hispanics.” Messina said of the Republicans.” Messina said. Messina said part of the Republican post-election soul-searching will involve looking at those groups.The campaign went through and individually scored every voter in swing states based on their voting history. it wouldn’t matter if the campaign couldn’t reach them. Messina said. Messina argued that the new swing voter is truly a moderate. rendering the date potentially useless. “What campaigns are evolving to is the campaigns of the past.” Messina argued. “The messenger matters. First. Early voting is important Messina knew Obama was going to win a few days before Election Day. that the GOP lost. Because of that. “We ran a huge field campaign on the ground to do this. we’re going to be OK. And many of the unaffiliated independents are former Republicans who left the party unhappy with the tea party takeover. “We could see our electorate early voting at the rates needed. not some data program.” Messina said. Messina said. 7.” 8. Instead. . Messina insisted that none of that would have mattered without a compelling message and messenger. past support and likelihood to support Obama again.” he said. Then it set out to have historic early voting turnout. Early voting totals confirmed Obama was the favorite. the campaign set out to register thousands of new voters. He said that it doesn’t make sense to just sell a campaign’s data to the next candidate — or the party — because that candidate wouldn’t have the same connection to voters. “You can build a whole suite of analytics… but it all comes back to the campaign. it all comes back to having a message that matters. Messina said. “We ended up being able to build support scores for every voter in battleground states from 1 to 100. “The future demographics in this country are changing in a way that’s going to make their current electoral math difficult for them if they don’t. We started to say if that’s true. And for each voter who used the Dashboard system or encouraged their friends to vote through Facebook. and pre-Election Day ballots are going to be increasingly crucial as more states adopt them. That fact makes figuring out how to most effectively use data in the future more complicated. door-knocking is going to be more important than ever. Even with the most sophisticated voter outreach programs in the world that can identify that one voter who might be sympathetic to Obama in one town in Ohio.

Messina said. pointing out that Obama won the Republican congressman’s hometown. you can’t just hand it to the next candidate. the campaign held online town hall meetings to get a similar sense of what supporters wanted and Messina said some of the results pushed them to enter fights that he was otherwise inclined to stay out of.” Messina said. “I do think he added something to the national ticket Romney didn’t have. The campaign conducted a survey of supporters to ask what they would like to see the operation focus on. Messina didn’t cite the Romney campaign’s failure to answer the summer attack ads as the biggest mistake made by the Republican. By law. Instead. he said. he’s a good guy. It’s likely such an operation would try to use its organizational strength to back the president’s agenda. But he left open the possibility of remaining with a Chicago political operation. and I think Jon Huntsman would have been a top-tier election candidate. “We learned this to our surprise in 2010. and day after day they had to answer for their ad. 10. Messina appeared to dismiss heading back to the White House.” 9. Messina answered: “I think we were honest about our concerns about Huntsman. they have to their own connection. the campaign itself has to be dismantled and campaign funds can’t be spent for non-campaign expenses. .” Messina said. As for picking Paul Ryan. “I don’t think the president is in the business of selling things. “I thought he was a committed American who would serve our country well and he did. After the 2008 election. Asked who he thought would have been the strongest general election foe against Obama.S. most importantly with the candidate himself. “They ended up spending the last 14 days of the election on the defense. “As someone who helped manage his nomination for ambassador.” Messina said. ambassador to China and briefly ran for the GOP nod before dropping out after the New Hampshire primary. When asked by POLITICO’s Mike Allen if political reasons helped motivate Obama’s appointment of him as ambassador. Obama for America has a future The future of Obama for America — the official name of the campaign — remains a question mark.The Obama campaign tried to transfer their organization to congressional candidates in the 2010 midterm races but found that it didn’t work.” Messina said.” Messina said. Messina insisted that the vice presidential nominee did little to help the candidate in states where it mattered. But Messina envisions a world where the campaign apparatus still plays a role.” Huntsman served Obama as U. where he already served as deputy chief of staff. Romney wasn’t the best GOP candidate Messina cited a number of problems with the Romney campaign. he pointed to the television ad they ran in Ohio claiming Jeep was sending jobs to China. Messina demurred.

com/business/economy/democrats-push-to-redeploy-obamas-voterdatabase/2012/11/20/d14793a4-2e83-11e2-89d4-040c9330702a_story. along with scores estimating how likely they were to cast ballots for his reelection. I’m much more doubtful it can happen by 2014..html Craig Timberg and Amy Gardner November 20. “It can be done by 2016.“Like get involved in local elections and recall elections in Wisconsin because our people wanted us to. And although the election is over.washingtonpost. To maintain their advantage. had their files updated with lists of their Facebook friends. he sees a future for the grass-roots operation. the Obama campaign’s chief integration and innovation officer. Democrats say they must navigate the inevitable intraparty squabbles over who gets access now that the unifying forces of a billion-dollar presidential campaign are gone. It could record hundreds of pieces of information for each voter. But regardless. has inquired about the data for his gubernatorial campaign next year.” Messina said. say campaign officials and others familiar with the operation.” said Michael Slaby. car registrations. the database recorded that. Tests of whether Obama’s database can be successfully redeployed will come even sooner.C. a party insider who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Virginia in 2009. “You can’t run two presidential campaigns from the grass roots and say now we’re going to run this from D. Democrats are pressing to expand and redeploy the most sophisticated voter list in history. Terence R. beginning with next year’s gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey and extending to campaigns for years to come. on the phone. If their last names sounded Hispanic. McAuliffe. a key target group for the campaign.” Messina said. “It’s always hard to play catch-up. too. His vast campaign database includes information on voters’ magazine subscriptions. Obama’s database is just getting started. 2012 If you voted this election season. Mitt Romney.” The database consists of voting records and political donation histories bolstered by vast amounts of personal but publicly available consumer data. who collected less data and deployed it less effectively. officials from both parties say. along with scores measuring the intensity of those relationships and whether they lived in swing states. I think it will be a wasted opportunity. “If this is all we do with this technology. via e-mail or through visits to the campaign’s Web site. The result was a digital operation far more elaborate than the one mounted by Obama’s Republican rival. Washington Post: Democrats Push to Redeploy Obama’s Voter Database http://www. a Republican direct marketer who worked on Rick Santorum’s presidential primary campaign. Campaign workers added far more detail through a broad range of voter contacts — in person. . housing values and hunting licenses. The prospect already has some Republicans worried. Those who used its Facebook app. for example.” said Peter Pasi. President Obama almost certainly has a file on you. say those familiar with the conversations.

“They’re going to be loath to regulate those companies if they are relying on them to target voters. he said. said the database in the near term could be used to organize support for the president’s legislative agenda but eventually might go to the Democratic National Committee or Obama’s presidential library committee once it is established. Slaby said the campaign took great care with the data it collected and will ensure that whoever takes it over will protect it. identifying likely supporters and urging them to vote. What Obama’s database adds are the more fine-grained analyses of what issues matter most to voters and how best to motivate them to donate. Such efforts. Privacy advocates say the opportunity for abuse — by Obama. since Virginia has a 2013 election. The short time frame may make a full data set. But there are serious logistical challenges to keeping updated a database as large and as detailed as Obama’s. Or. Voters who willingly gave campaigns such information may not have understood that it would be passed on to the party or other candidates. the campaign official. Chris Soghoian. “A lot of this will rest on him and what he wants his legacy and the legacy of this organization to mean. volunteer and vote. even more valuable. as is the danger of hackers stealing the data. All Democratic candidates have access to the party’s lists. Building the campaign’s technological . the outgoing chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. many in the party say individual candidates should receive access to such data only after winning the nomination — something that in Virginia can’t happen before the June primary. which is why campaign officials are debating how to proceed even though there is wide agreement on the desire to help fellow Democrats and like-minded independent groups. which has investigated the handling of personal data by Google.” he said. he said. he said. making legal restrictions of data collection less likely. even though disclosures on Web sites and Facebook apps warn of that possibility. Slaby said of Obama. including fundraising. leaving only a few months before the November general election. This resulted in an operational edge that helped a candidate with a slim margin in the overall national vote to trounce Romney in the state-by-state electoral college contests.“We have been communicating to Obama for America all along about the importance of receiving that data. Romney or any other politician’s campaign — is serious. though. Obama was able to collect and use personal data largely free of the restrictions that govern similar efforts by private companies. said voters should worry that the interests of politicians and commercial data brokers have aligned. which include voting and donation histories along with some consumer data. Although McAuliffe is the early Democratic front-runner. Neither the Federal Trade Commission. Slaby.” The database powered nearly everything about Obama’s campaign. an analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union and a former FTC technologist. Facebook and other companies. nor the Federal Election Commission has jurisdiction over how campaigns use such information. officials at those agencies say. take unusual resources.” said Brian Moran. it could go to a group created to nurture and deploy the database most effectively. should McAuliffe get it. No existing group has the technical resources to manage the data.

finned unicorn — that consolidated lists of voters and donors. With the benefit of four years of lead time. the campaign was determined to make better use of increasingly sophisticated technology.time. Bush in 2004. enriching the database with e-mail addresses. information about what issues most concerned them. After Sen. and used Amazon Web Services to host the voter database on its cloud servers. Republicans once held the edge in using technology to identify and motivate voters. The most important information. Kerry (D-Mass. Although it was often described as “micro-targeting. effectively immune to traditional get-out-the-vote efforts. in person or online. involved about 120 paid employees working with data provided by hundreds of thousands of volunteers. often collected over years by state party officials and campaigns.systems took nearly two years and. Narwhal allowed related pieces of software.” Slaby said the most important element was what he called “micro-listening.” he said. campaign officials acknowledge that the operation fell far short of its hype.com/2012/11/20/friended-how-the-obama-campaign-connected-with-youngvoters/?iid=sl-main-lead Michael Scherer November 20. for example. such as those used by field organizers and call center workers. The campaign invested heavily in engineers and technologists. Jim Messina.” “If people tell us they’re interested in cats. 2012 In the final weeks before Election Day. crucially. Among his mentors was Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Driving this was Obama’s data-minded campaign manager. personal information from those sources was made anonymous and did not flow back into the voter database. Time: Friended: How the Obama Campaign Connected with Young Voters http://swampland. Democrats invested in building better voter lists and developing a new generation of political operatives skilled in the science of persuasion and motivation. at their peak.) lost to President George W. They lived in the cellular shadows. was provided by voters themselves whenever they had contact with the campaign. we probably took that down. to draw on the information in the voter database and continually update it. Although Obama’s 2008 election was hailed for its technological advances. including many who had never worked in politics. This allowed the campaign’s analysts to test the effectiveness of messages aimed at narrow demographic slices — single women in their 30s worried about health care. Slaby and others from the campaign said that although it relied on detailed analyses of cable television viewing habits and Web traffic. . John F. a scary statistic emerged from the databases at Barack Obama’s Chicago headquarters: half the campaign’s targeted swing-state voters under age 29 had no listed phone number. The key was a program the campaign built — called Narwhal after a predatory whale whose single tusk makes it look a bit like a fat. officials said. who was a regular visitor to what many have said resembled an Internet start-up company within the Chicago campaign headquarters. cellphone numbers and.

” explains Dan Wagner. this sort of campaign-driven sharing over social networks is almost certain to be the norm. Facebook offered an ideal way to reach them. But the Obama team had a solution in place: a Facebook application that will transform the way campaigns are conducted in the future. vote or look at a video designed to change their mind.000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts. for instance. “Who do they trust? Their friends.” says James Fowler.For a campaign dependent on a big youth turnout. In an instant. through one person. A geek squad in Chicago created models from vast data sets to find the best approaches for each potential voter. connects one person to a campaign. were more likely to do so than similar potential voters who were not contacted. Bush’s 2004 campaign. A phone call or knock on the door from someone who lives in your neighborhood is far more effective than appeals from out-of-state volunteers or robo-calls. Campaign pros have known this for years. the Obama campaign’s digital director. What’s more. In 2008. ArsTechnica: How Team Obama's Tech Efficiency Left Romney IT In Dust http://arstechnica. give money. But to the Windy City number crunchers. “We are not just sending you a banner ad. Tell your friends. it was deployed only in the campaign’s homestretch. By 2016. for example.” Early tests of the system found statistically significant changes in voter behavior. Facebook can connect the campaign. it was a game changer.” says Goff. A study of 61 million people on Facebook during the 2010 midterms found that people who saw photos of their friends voting on Election Day were more likely to cast a ballot themselves. who helped oversee the project. Because it took more than a year to build the system. “We are starting to see. Roughly 85% of those without a listed phone number could be found in the uploaded friend lists. For supporters. who co-authored the study. the campaign had a way to see the hidden young voters.com/information-technology/2012/11/how-team-obamas-tech-efficiency-left-romney-it- . “It is much more effective to stimulate these real-world ties.” says Teddy Goff. “People don’t trust campaigns. That’s because the more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the app gave the campaign permission to look at their Facebook friend lists.” The campaign called this effort targeted sharing. Email. this could have been a crisis. the Obama campaign’s 29year-old head of analytics. And in those final weeks of the campaign. a Republican digital strategist who worked on George W. to 500 or more friends. The Romney team used a far less sophisticated version of the technology. Political strategists on both sides say that in the future they intend to get the system working sooner in primaries in key states and with more buy-in from supporters.S. a professor at the University of California at San Diego. Twitter was a sideshow and Facebook had about one-sixth its current reach in the U. “I think this will wind up being the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for this campaign. People whose friends sent them requests to register to vote and to vote early.” And the technology is moving fast. however. That confirmed a trend already noted in political-science literature: online social networks have the power to change voting behavior. More than 600. the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button. connecting a supportive friend to a would-be voter was a challenge.” says Patrick Ruffini. “We are giving you relevant information from your friends. the app appeared to be just another way to digitally connect to the campaign. who will have a greater understanding of their role in the process. asking their friends to register to vote. They don’t even trust media organizations. “Campaigns are trying to engineer what the new door knock is going to look like and what the next phone call is going to look like. Before social networks like Facebook.

Hackers can thrive in an environment like that. Just how much emphasis the Obama campaign put on IT is demonstrated by the fact that the campaign's most highly paid staff member was its Chief Integration and Innovation Officer. at least for internally developed applications. the Romney campaign spent $23. Michael Slaby. eliminating a lot of the financial burden of infrastructure management. the Romney campaign's Director of Technology. not a technology expert—was number five. Targeted Victory. Ruby. was barely in the top 20 salaries of the Romney campaign. putting the money instead into building an internal tech team. not perfect. Kevin Rekowski. Romney's Digital Director —a social media planner. at $175. not perfect The strategy the Obama campaign's DevOps team used to manage the ever-growing number of applications deployed by the campaign was to "choose the lowest cost route to get us the most results—basically. and when you have a team that is unfazed by limitations. the Obama campaign. agile. Everything is over far too quickly to get boring.000. 99. The bottom line is that the Obama campaign's emphasis on people over capital and use of open-source tools to develop and operate its sophisticated cloud-based infrastructure ended up actually saving the campaign money.000. "Someone counted nearly 10 distinct DBMS/NoSQL systems. "For the applications built by the OFA [Obama for America] technology team.in-dust/ By Sean Gallagher November 20. President Barack Obama's campaign under-spent Romney's on IT products and services by $14. and Node. It outsourced most of its basic IT operations. "We did a lot of work to make things simple. Linux—particularly Ubuntu—was used as the server operating system of choice. with an annualized salary of $80. lead DevOps for Obama for America put it in an e-mail interview with Ars. PHP. to handle much of the Romney campaign's digital strategy. Based on an Ars analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.js. relied almost exclusively on Amazon Web Service for its infrastructure.999 percent . spent $9." VanDenPlas said. Java. and hiring its own IT department. all-inclusive. As Scott VanDenPlas. you get some really amazing and creative solutions.3 million on technology services and consulting and under $2 million on internal technology-related payroll. to a point where I'm not sure anyone else really can. while the Obama campaign did the opposite— buying hardware and software licenses. and short—an 18 month. 2012 Despite running a campaign with about twice the money and twice the staff of Governor Mitt Romney's presidential bid." It also helped that the campaign. essentially disposable organization.5 million. "We were technology agnostic.000 a year. But the advantage of having a personal army of coders wasn't just financial. and we wrote something like 200 apps in Python.6 million on outside technology services—most of it on outside "digital media" consulting and data management." VanDenPlas said." VanDenPlas explained. with an annualized salary of about $130. "Campaigns are serious tests of your creativity and foresight. and used the right technology for the right purpose. some of which I hope to see come out as open sourced projects here shortly. "They are unpredictable. "A lesson which we took to heart from 2008 [was that] operational efficiency is an enormous strategic advantage." Key in maximizing the value of the Obama campaign's IT spending was its use of open source tools and open architectures. By comparison. in addition to whatever he earned from hiring his own firm." Smart. Zac Moffatt." As we revealed in our recent analysis of the Romney team's tech strategy. $1 billion. be smart.

There are countless incidents where (OFA User Support Director) Brady Kriss notified us of pending problems derived from community help tickets." VanDenPlas said." VanDenPlas said. three facility processor capable of a per . "Using this. "purely because it was the best fit for what we were doing. the team built a lightweight plugin for Nagios (the opensource basis of Opsview) in Python based on boto (the Python programming interface to AWS's services) and dotCloud's ZeroRPC messaging interface. The centerpiece of the whole Obama campaign was its fundraising capabilities. "Akamai also provided very useful statistics and logging. "but these were mostly contextual rather than actionable." VanDenPlas explained. VanDenPlas said. "We built out a triply redundant. As the number of applications and the scale of the campaign's AWS infrastructure use climbed. That allowed the Obama team's application deployments to use "regionless" generic configuration settings. and some DNS trickery. PHP) as well as the frameworks (Flask." The system configurations for the campaign's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances were created using the Puppet configuration management tool and were built as Debian packages kept in the campaign's own Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) repository—both for internally developed and third-party applications." VanDenPlas said. CloudOptimizer.were AWS hosted. making deployments much simpler. without which all of the other applications may have been moot. I believe everything was 'cloud. As the election approached and the infrastructure demands surged. the engineering team took advantage of Amazon's multiple availability zones within its Virgina data center. "consisting of Cacti." But." While AWS's tools were used for performance monitoring and to trigger automatic scaling-up of capacity." VanDenPlas said. The human factor in monitoring is huge. the OFA technology team used New Relic. As a whole.' even down to our development environments running inside of Vagrant on our laptops. "They support the major languages we used (Python. the DevOps team shifted to using Asgard—an open-source tool developed by Netflix to manage cloud deployments. VanDenPlas said. he added. geolocated." VanDenPlas said. much of the monitoring was handled by a suite of commercial and open source tools and home-grown code. "using a combination of OpenVPN. the most heavily used monitoring system was "our community of internal and external supporters. "It is really a fantastic tool that increases your visibility into where your applications are spending time. "a multi-region. Opsview. Kohana). Ruby. and compressed WAN optimized tunnel between AWS regions. and a number of custom applications that continued to evolve right up until Election Day. "we could constantly query thousands of nodes for near real-time statistics and feed them right back into the same alerting and monitoring system (Nagios) we used elsewhere. a tool also used by the Romney campaign. encrypted. The 2012 campaign's online donation system was a complete rebuild from the 2008 effort. To get better aggregated alerting and metric data. Graphite. if you include privately hosted virtualized environments in the cloud architecture definition. and Seyren. StatsD. Rails." The team shifted its domain name service to Amazon's Route 53 service. which uses latency-based routing to direct users to the host running in the AWS availability region with the shortest network trip time. To help optimize applications." Other performance monitoring and user experience data was collected using Chartbeat and Google Analytics." The armor-plated cloud The OFA engineering team also did a lot of work to ensure that they got the most out of Amazon's cloud architecture in terms of resiliency.

"This is the difference. who 'don't know what they don't know. posing in true Rumsfeldian fashion. where the Obama campaign outspent Romney by a factor of 5 to 1. including its own database and every vendor. The campaign ran its own data analysis shop and had its own army of Web designers and administrators. All of that redundancy was given an extra workout in the week before the election as Hurricane Sandy approached the East Coast. as well as other intangibles that may have contributed to leading an efficient campaign. the stakes for the next time—the mid-term elections in 2014. however. Insourcing gave the campaign a strategic flexibility that the Romney campaign lacked.' I would be shocked if such a chasm exists next cycle between the parties—these aren’t mistakes to be repeated if you want to do things like win elections. in the event of a Web server failure. VanDenPlas said that a "complete hot replica of our entire infrastructure" was deployed to Amazon's primary West Coast data center in under 24 hours as a precaution.210 worth of software licenses to the campaign—which averages out to just under $500 per staffer. based outside of Chicago. the deciding factor wasn't what the Obama campaign spent money on. advertising company Blue State Digital and campaign software provider NGP VAN provided the largest chunks of Obama for America's technology consulting. That meant buying a lot of hardware and software. the IT team had a lot of tech to support for an organization that had essentially a 24-month lifecycle. CDW. or buy The tech team wasn't the only internal IT operation at Obama for America. As mentioned in our previous coverage of the Obama campaign. "between a well run professional machine and a gaggle of amateurs. the Obama campaign's Web hosting costs were much higher than Romney's." The Obama campaign's websites were also hosted on Amazon and hardened." VanDenPlas said. And then there was the Obama campaign's outside technology help.second transaction count sufficiently high enough that we failed to be able to reach it in load testing. Build. and are most directly comparable to the over $14 million paid out by the Romney campaign to its digital firm. the social media and interactive advertising agency. . It could also operate if every other dependent service had failed. but what it did with all that money. requests would be instantly directed to the latest snapshot. the cost for hosting the internally developed applications in the Amazon cloud was a quarter of that. It's doubtful they'll ignore the lessons learned this campaign season. Microsoft also sold $522. the Obama campaign spent a seventh of what the Romney campaign spent on digital and an even smaller fraction of what Romney spent on voter and donor contact.000 people. borrow. And with a payroll of over 1. The largest cost. And the reduced reliance on outside consultants allowed the Obama campaign to direct capital toward places where it had a bigger impact—such as in advertising. With its investment in the cloud." Given the response from Republican partisans to the failure of Romney's campaign and to the apparent failure of its technology investments. The campaign's engineers built an application that created static HTML snapshots of the sites stored in Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3). was content hosted by Blue State Digital. Return on investment In the end. and the next presidential race in 2016—will be that much higher for Republican campaigns. Targeted Victory. was the go-to supplier for much of the campaign's computer equipment and boxed software purchases. Even taken with the software and Web hosting expenses.

digital. says Obama for America analytics chief Dan Wagner. In a campaign year full of hype and flashy social media toys. the application flooded its users with notifications asking them to reach out on the campaign's behalf. 2012 People involved in Obama for America's digital and technology operations say one of the biggest takeaways from the 2012 campaign is the success of a new kind of peer-to-peer digital persuasion tool referred to internally as "targeted sharing. But anyone who opted to use Facebook single sign-on for an Obama for America web property was prompted to authorize the OfA Facebook application to connect to their account. Obama for America could use it over and over again to make it more likely that people fitting certain profiles would be likely to see content targeted to them spilling into their newsfeeds.Tech President: How Obama for America made its Facebook friends into effective advocates http://techpresident. Single sign-on users also gave OfA permission to glean all the data it needed to decide which content that user should be asked to share and guess who that user should share it with." Well before the campaign reached fever pitch. and tech — the campaign had developed a tool that staff believe delivered empirically higher results for the re-elect using social media. the campaign had already decided what approach to existing voter turnout or new voter registration it needed in order to win each swing state. from the campaign. the click-through rate on a targeted share was more than twice as high as the rate for a banner ad. Applying the same principles to get out the vote. The campaign could use the merged data to create arbitrary scores that indicated which of a user's Facebook friends the campaign would like to present with a given piece of content. While the campaign hasn't shared how many . OfA chief data scientist Rayid Ghani and analyst Matt Rattigan brought the technology team a prototype piece of software. vote or take another activity went ahead and did it.com/news/23159/how-obama-america-made-its-facebook-friends-effective-advocates Nick Judd November 19. Officials told Time's Michael Scherer that a staggering 20 percent of people asked by their friends to register. Obama for America asked its supporters who had been signed up for the OfA Facebook application to pick potential voters from among their friends in swing states and urge them to get to the ballot box or register to vote. Obama for America planned digital campaigns based on what it needed to accomplish whatever the task at hand would be. through their friends' Facebook posts. that's a big. People in techPresident headquarters in New York saw advertisements on NYTimes. In part because it linked the two. For example. In the final days before the election and on election day. OfA developers went to work. OfA was able to build up a user base of nearly 1 million people for its Facebook app by election day — making the potential gains for targeted sharing well worth some time and effort. Thanks to a convergence of three different teams — analytics. By the end of 2011. The only problem was that the prototype could not work at the necessary scale. The prototype produced by Ghani and Rattigan would allow OfA Digital to be far more precise about what kind of content they were asking supporters to share around the web as well. and by midsummer the tech team had targeted sharing working in production and in real time. By the end of the campaign. those above-the-fold ad buys on the front page of the the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's or Columbus Dispatch's websites to drive the early voting that the campaign believed was crucial to victory in Wisconsin and Ohio.com that were most likely intended to convert viewers into donors. The prototype used a script to check a given supporter's Facebook friends list against what the campaign knew about those friends. Ghani and Rattigan's script took 45 minutes to run per person — not nearly fast enough. bold claim.

Democrats now seem to be weighing the cost of keeping some aspects of their new codebase maintained and functional against its potential utility in the election cycles to come. It's unclear what happens next for this code or any of the other innovations built in-house for the Obama campaign. whose face is relaxed.C. stands with her back to the camera. in theory. for example. too. taken by a campaign photographer just a few days into the job in mid-August. That photo. says it captures the Obamas’ “deep love and respect for one another. She was completely exhausted. has broken all sorts of Internet records. too. on election night—just as it became clear the president had won a second term. studied politics at school. It was chosen by a 31-year-old digital operative who had been up since 4 in the morning. Her arms are wrapped around her husband. it’s the most shared picture in the history of Twitter. “Four more years. the success rate is high enough to raise eyebrows. Michelle Obama. beating out entries from Justin Bieber and the fast-food chain Wendy’s. And it’s sure to be the photo most everyone with an Internet connection will remember seeing as they heard that Barack Obama—for better or for worse—would reside for four more years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.5 million “likes” since Election Day.com/articles/2012/11/19/the-story-behind-the-most-viral-photo-ever. As the first digital staffer there. 2012 You've probably seen it by now.html Brian Ries November 19. The photographer. Laura Olin grew up outside Washington.000 retweets as of Sunday. and then went off to graduate school to study even more politics. Scout Tufankjian.” But. Behind the Facebook application driving get out the vote was the same targeted sharing code. the blog. After two years working at Blue State Digital.C.-based tech consultancy that’s served as a farm team for Barack Obama the past five years. The software belongs to Obama for America. his eyes closed. It's also the mostliked photograph ever to be shared on Facebook. Clair. and could. where she was one of those kids who just fell into politics. Olin joined the Obama campaign in March 2011—“before anything actually had started. the hints of a smile lingering on the edges of his lips. she started out doing everything—editing emails. and this is only remarkable if enough people participated to help close the distance for OfA in voter registrations and turnout where it had those goals. the D. and the socialmedia work. and Alex Wall—who . Tech team member Will St.” she says. With more than 816. amassing almost 4. who worked on the code. wearing a red-and-white patterned dress..thedailybeast. perhaps surprisingly for a campaign with a deep love for data. D. which was posted on the Obama campaign’s Facebook and Twitter accounts around 11:15 p.” reads the text accompanying the photograph. where even the subject lines of emails were formulated based on intense rounds of numbers-backed analysis. the selection of the “four more years” photograph was a decision made on the fly. Jessi Langsen. as OfA's email list was moved to Organizing for America after 2008 and made part of the DNC. Eventually she was joined by three others—Abby Aronofsky. says that it was a piece of back-end infrastructure. Targeted sharing was for more than just Facebook. The piece he worked on retrieved those voter scores and made them available to different departments — any department — so it could be used to inform a targeted email. be transferred to the Democratic National Committee.people elected to press the case for Obama on Facebook in this way. The Daily Beast: The story behind the most viral photo ever http://www.m.

which I think was probably most susceptible to really embarrassing and silly mistakes. blue-collar workers. As for her team’s reaction to ‘Amercia’ gaffe? “There were definitely dances being danced. who led the new social-media team. stuff like that. actually. on Nov. no day would be as momentous. meant the young staffers who sat with their fingers on the proverbial triggers lacked a plan for when they got . With Tumblr. and the first lady. So when they would get reports of voting irregularities or polling place changes in key states. We didn’t ever really have one.m. as Election Day. in her first extensive interview since Obama’s victory.” As things came up. the digital staffers would work to spread the messages in the voices established for each of the accounts.” But being that close to the megaphone. "I'm kinda superstitious. just because you know. It got to be exhausting. or as exhausting for the young digital staffers at Obama’s Chicago headquarters. It was a good day. you know. a lot of. No one expected a result before 2 a.' as The West Wing goes. the others dealing with breaking developments. and Spotify accounts for Barack Obama. Obama’s team had their own close calls.m. “It was picking and choosing where we thought people would respond best.” Of course. After months of hard-fought 14-16 hour days—and six. or pin. Instagram.” Whereas on Facebook. too. Olin says. Joe Biden." of course.or seven-day weeks—Obama’s digital team gathered at campaign headquarters starting at 4 a. “Michelle Obama was a lot about education. for example. or when they knew something big was going to happen.” Olin says. with the election perhaps remaining undecided until late in the evening—or worse. too. 'the wrath from high atop the thing." Olin explains.” referring to the iPhone app produced by the Romney campaign that invited users tp snap a photo of themselves in Romney’s “Amercia”—leading to days and days of mockery. because of their age. they could target a post to users over the age of 55 who had “liked” Barack Obama's page and. Tumblr. obviously women. detailing the “dry runs” the campaign underwent in the weeks before Election Day to make sure they had the entire process down pat.together oversaw the Facebook. My team ran the Barack Obama Twitter handle.” Olin explains of the Facebook posts and tweets they would send.” but who were also diligent and fanatical about fact-checking and accuracy. “Weeks of planning went into that. Twitter. which I still can’t believe WE pulled off.” Olin credits a rigorous process of choosing people who not only “knew their socialmedia shit. “All of our decisions were made in-house. first responders. “We weren't getting direct directives from the White House. You’re one grammatical error away from a news cycle’s relentless mockery. “But I’m really proud that we avoided a really embarrassing ‘Amercia’ situation. And no one had planned what their victory messaging would be. Staffers prepared themselves for what many believed was going to be a long night. middle-class families. Pinterest. where millions of people—and a ravenous press—await your every tweet. for example—where Obama’s blog has been called “the best campaign Tumblr the world will probably ever see”—the campaign targeted younger people who “don't care about Social Security. Half the team would be focusing on pre-planned strategy. and nutrition.” The medium mattered. 6." But avoiding the "wrath.” says Olin. health. post.” Olin explained. "I refused to think about victory stuff. one must have an astute sense of caution and careful footing. were presumably interested in Social Security. “Joe Biden did lots of veterans stuff. Olin says. “We would take advantage of that a lot. “It was kind of terrifying. she says. but nothing that got published. they could launch a series of targeted Facebook posts or tweets encouraging people to stay in line or find their new polling place.

‘Yes!’” “I had no idea the response was going to be like this. and "four more years" was chosen as the winner. ‘Remember when Michelle was wearing that checkered dress in Iowa?’ And she was like." But. It wouldn't be until the next morning when they realized just how well it had been received." she admitted to Boston. ET. So my boss Teddy Goff made the very good point that we should see the president's face.com/politics/how-obama-s-tech-team-helped-win-the-election-20121116 Alexis Madrigal November 16. CNN called Iowa at 11:10 p. out there that get it. those are two things on the list. ‘No way. everyone loves the president and his first lady together. so. remembered that there was an amazing photo of the president and first lady hugging at the president's very last campaign rally in Des Moines. young Republicans." The Republican Party. 'Yes!'" Goff approved." National Journal: How Obama’s Tech Team Helped Win the Election http://www. "One of my team members. The whole thing is incredible." she says. and it's this really beautiful photo at night of them. None of us looked at how the posts were doing until I opened my laptop the next morning.nationaljournal. and the only thing is that Michelle was facing forward and the president was facing away from the camera. "My friend emailed me on election night to tell me and I didn’t believe her. Olin says Republicans need to get better at communicating on social media.” She'll be there until January. "needs to be brave enough to just let people who know their shit do what they do. about 3 million likes. she says. Plus. ‘Wow. “and just kinda lucking into a photo that people loved that I think showed the emotion and the relief. and Olin is still in the campaign’s Chicago headquarters.com.Laura Olin describes the process that led to the now famous photograph.’ I had no idea about the Facebook thing until the next day. They're kind of on the side of the photograph. "If I were them I would get better at talking to people like people. “I was like. It had. She suspected that might be a new record. The Obama tweet was posted six minutes later.’ and I looked it up and was like. at that point. "I'm sure there are people.” she says now." They’re focused on Congressional lame-duck initiatives and “just making sure people know the president's all in to prevent middle-class tax hikes. Jessi Langsen." Olin says of the Facebook post. the team wrote a couple of captions.” It’s been two weeks since Barack Obama was reelected President of the United States. Like her counterparts at the campaign. "I went to our photo editor and I was like. That's when she remembered the campaign photographer had taken a series of great hug photographs at another Iowa rally earlier in the summer." Asked if she had any words of wisdom for her defeated counterparts at the Romney campaign. 'Remember when Michelle was wearing that checkered dress in Iowa?' And she was like. had no idea of the photograph’s popularity until well after its first million likes. Olin says. I said. camped out with a small skeleton crew working on what the campaign is calling "the wind-down. After that? "I know that I'm moving to Brooklyn and getting a dog. 2012 .m. Tufankjian. The last remaining staffers then ran off to the victory party at McCormick Place to catch the president's speech. it’s "totally fine if they don't. "I think it was just a combination of the moment. that’s crazy. the photographer." A good point indeed. she adds.

and this was a live action role playing (LARPing!) exercise that the campaign's chief technology officer. had just been informed that they'd lost another one of the services powering their software. so would everything else. to make sure that you not just know what you're doing. and some of Chicago's own software companies such as Orbitz and Threadless." Reed said. "but you're calm because you know you can handle your sh--. "We did three actual all-day sessions of destroying everything we had built. 29. They didn't have time. Earlier that day.up in the hubris department. Something could have happened. for tech. the day after the Oct. I was incredibly confident it would work. They had been working 14-hour days. Google. "You ran firefighting drills over and over and over. Thayer was ready to kill Nick Hatch. trying to reelect the president. an engineer who Reed hired after he left Twitter. senior talent--by which I mean that most of them were in their 30s--from Twitter. Quora. six or seven days a week. Oct. That was bad: Narwhal was the code name for the data platform that underpinned the campaign and let it track voters and volunteers. this. But even these people. "We worked through every possible disaster situation. their East Coast servers. They were talking with people at Amazon Web Services. "Game day" was Oct. If it broke. I was betting a lot on it.The Obama campaign's technologists were tense and tired. where Reed had been CTO. calling out devilishly complex scenarios that were designed to test each and every piece of their system as they entered the exponential traffic-growth phase of the election. "We created a hot backup of all our applications to U. was fixing databases but needed to rebuild the replicas. and their memcache clusters.S. He said they reminded him of his time in the Navy." The New Chicago Machine vs." he said. The election was still 17 days away. you do this." Reed said. Harper Reed. We had time." In fact. saw a couple of game days. and now everything had been broken at just the wrong time. "I know we had the best technology team I've ever worked with. Facebook. threatening the campaign's whole East Coast infrastructure. And that was the point. Josh Thayer." Reed said. "I think the Republicans f----. We had done what we thought would work. but we didn't know if it would work. "We had a runbook that said if this happens. the Grand Old Party . It was going to take time. Mark Trammell. Craigslist. and it still could have broken. knew enough about technology not to trust it. "We knew what to do." Hatch was playing the role of dungeon master. but all they knew was that they had packet loss." The team had elite and.-west in preparation for U. They did not do that with Orca. the lead engineer of Narwhal. Hurricane Sandy hit on another game day. 21. they lost their databases. Amazon services--on which the whole campaign's tech presence was built--went down." Reed told me. Hatch said. was inflicting on his team. Another of their vendors. 21 game day. maybe especially these people. We had resources. StallionDB. It was like someone had written a Murphy's Law algorithm and deployed it at scale. "We didn't have any downtime because we had done that scenario already. no matter what the scenario was. It was game day and everything was going wrong.S. and this. a DevOps engineer who was the official bearer of bad news.-east to go down hard." Reed maintained.

6 would have been neither charming nor funny. and the other battleground states. engineers might become as enshrined in the mechanics of campaigns as social-media teams already are. drove the 2012 Obama team to bring technologists in-house. who worked for Twitter during its period of exponential growth. That would supposedly allow them to deploy resources more efficiently and wring every last vote out of Florida. Ohio. a Romney spokesperson told NPR. of course. In the days leading up to the election. It was called Gordon.m. And yet they had to accommodate much more strain on the systems as interest in the election picked up toward the end. or comparing a GPS device to an engine. Of course. But while the problems of scaling both technology and culture quickly might have been similar. after the man who killed Houdini. and phone-bankers. "YOLO. the team's only real goal was to elect the president. the Romney campaign pushed its (not-so) secret weapon as the answer to the Democrats' vaunted ground game.Orca was supposed to be the Republican answer to Obama's perceived tech advantage. A fail whale (cough) in the days leading up to or on Nov. Houdini's rollout went great until about 9:30 a. It was like touting the iPad as a Facebook killer. So little went wrong that Trammell and Reed even had time to cook up a little pin to celebrate. But the 2008 failure. . as it always does. they couldn't snicker too loudly. it was with more than a hint of schadenfreude that Reed's team hears that Orca crashed early on Election Day. in the scheme of a campaign. a game changer. the stakes were much higher. but it's not. If Reed's team succeeded. It's just a nice thing to have." short for "You Only Live Once. In 2012. The product got its name. If they failed. It said. But the secondary impact of their success or failure would be to prove that campaigns could effectively hire and deploy top-level programming talent. Democrats had a new version. "We have to elect the president. a digitized strike list is cool. it could have cost the president the election. Mark Trammell. We now know what happened. Narwhal wasn't an app for a smartphone. among other needs. From the descriptions of the Romney camp's software that were available then and now." with the Obama Os. As detailed in Sacha Issenberg's groundbreaking book. canvassers. by whom the arena had long been handled. they knew they could not go down. event-goers. The billing the Republicans gave the tool confused almost everyone inside the Obama campaign. because orcas are the only known predator of the one-tusked narwhal. So. it would be evidence that this stuff might be best left to outside political technology consultants." Reed told his team. In a race that at least some people thought might be very close. Orca was going to allow volunteers at polling places to update the Romney camp's database of voters in real time as people cast their ballots. Later reports posted by rank-and-file volunteers describe chaos descending on the polling locations as only a fraction of the tens of thousands of volunteers organized for the effort were able to use it properly to turn out the vote. Narwhal unified what Obama for America knew about voters. Orca was not even in the same category as Narwhal. Obama's campaign had created a similar app in 2008 called Houdini. The grand technology experiment worked. and it did it in real time. built by the vendor NGP VAN. And besides. Then it crashed in much the same way that Orca did. We don't need to sell our software to Oracle. Victory Lab. It was the architecture of the company's sophisticated data operation. With Election Day bearing down on them. like. And. thought it would have been easy for the Obama team to fall into many of the pitfalls that the social network did back then. on the day of the election.

Harper Reed is an easy guy to like. too. I'd even say that this clash of cultures was a good thing: The nerds shook up an ossifying Democratic tech structure. the manager. You could call out nouns. He. "By the end of the night. a skinny Reed sits in a bathtub with a beer in his hand. Singularity. it was clear: Reed had not f----. the quantified self. but the b-roll they shot of darkened rooms and typing hands could not convey the sense of exhilaration he felt when he built something that works. He gets you and where you came from. YOLO: Meet the Obama Campaign's Chief Technology Officer If you're a nerd. too. since Harper Reed was the crazy guy you can see on his public Facebook photos. made unprecedented progress in voter targeting. He wrote his first programs at age 7. Reed's team came in as outsiders to the campaign and. But it wasn't easy. when we walk into the place early on the Friday after the election. Harper Reed read Steven Levy's Hackers as a kid. (At this point I'm thinking. the field organization was more entrenched and experienced. Harper Reed knows the DJ. who is tall and handsome with rock 'n'-roll hair flowing from beneath a red beanie. Sure. Yet Reed has friends. Of course. and analytics team never quite got resolved. self-organizing systems.When Obama campaign chief Jim Messina signed off on hiring Reed. Harper Reed got the city of Chicago to create an open and real-time feed of its transit data by reverse engineering how they served bus location information. says. Rails. light from a chunky monitor illuminating his face. Because he is a nerd. Why? Because it made his wife Hiromi's commute a little easier. the Facebook Blaster. He. And Hiroki grabs us another shot. The tech team's key products--Dashboard. by most accounts. and he'd be right there with you: BBS. They are really growing up. and the club starts to fill up. and built everything atop the most stable technical infrastructure of any presidential campaign." Surprisingly. the Call Tool. The campaign had turned out more volunteers and gotten more donors than in 2008. in early 2012. Because it was fun to extract the data from the bureaucracy and make it available to anyone who wanted it.") Hiroki's been DJing at Empire for years.it up. another friend approached us: DJ Hiroki. either I pass out or Reed tells me something good. Unsurprisingly. fingers flying across a keyboard. Harper Reed is a chilled vodka kind of guy. They raised hundreds of millions of dollars online. Surprisingly." As Election Day ended and the dust settled. who was spinning that night. the PeopleMatcher. As the night rolls on. In one shot from 2006. he figured something out. and the politicos taught the nerds a thing or two about stress. digital. and the significance of elections. phenomena. The divisions among the tech. and Narwhal--made it simpler and easier for anyone to engage with the president's reelection effort. but the difference stemmed in large part from better technology. "Let me grab you a shot. the cultural differences between tech and everybody else threatened to derail the whole grand experiment. has a memory that all nerds share: Late at night. They've known each other for a long while.it up. such as the manager of the hip-hop club Empire who. To go a step further. TV news segments about cybersecurity might look lifted straight from his memories. two thick band tattoos running across his chest . warez. he told him. remained that way. and learned to code because he just could not help himself. even if the end product has salved the sore spots that developed over the stressful months. played with computers when they weren't cool. At their worst. By the end. returns to show Harper photographs of his kids. the campaign produced exactly what it should have: a hybrid of the desires of everyone on Obama's team. small-p politics. "Welcome to the team. He's brash and funny and smart. games that his mom typed into their Apple IIC. Don't f--.

he's got plugs in his ears and a shock of gloriously product-mussed hair and hipster glasses and he doesn't own a long-sleeve dress shirt. That might be part of his brand. "Lots of guys who know how to spit out code. "He knows how to pull people together. "Stop staring. it's not there i swear!" What makes Harper Reed different isn't just that the photo exists. has the kind of self-awareness that faces outward. Colo. Harper is responsible for a huge percentage of the people who went over there. "Harper Reed? I think he's wicked smart." After all. I have to step up. but he also juggles better than you. he may actually be at 10. He is not wearing any clothes. He says fuck a lot. and is wilder than you. I think that was probably what attracted the rest of the people there. he might grow a beard and put on a little potbelly. The caption reads.. we're talking about a group of people who had Eric Schmidt sitting in with them on Election Day. Sure. I have to be at 10 because I have this stupid mustache. around San Francisco. Terry Howerton. more fun than you. One testament to that is several startups might spin out of the connections people made at the OFA headquarters. And my father took me aside and was like.and shoulders. 'I don't know. "I had this experience where my dad hired someone to help him out because his network was messed up and he wanted me to watch. And if I'm going to do this. He supports open source. "And it was amazing how many incredibly well regarded hackers that I follow on Twitter rejoiced and celebrated [when Reed was hired]. their reporter. around BBSs." Reed's own team found their coworkers particularly impressive. 'Why do you look like an a------?' And I was like. a well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist and major Obama bundler who brought a team of more than a dozen technologists out for an Obama campaign hack day. He gets profiled by Mother Jones even though he couldn't talk with Tim Murphy. I don't have an answer. around startups." said Chris Sacca. Sacca said that with technical people. you have to be really good. but he wouldn't tuck in his T-shirt. He goes to hipster bars that serve vegan Mexican food. such as Optimizely. He's a cool hacker." It was a lesson he learned early out in Greeley. cooler than you. in fact. where he grew up." And. The tech world was watching. for his part. in case you were wondering." Howerton said. And this was at a very unfortunate time in my life where I was wearing very baggy pants and I had a Marilyn Manson shirt on and I looked like an a------. the head of the Illinois Technology Association and a frank observer of Chicago's tech scene. but that he kept it public during the election." Reed recalled. "And if you look like an a------. You had to be good." By the time Sacca brought his Silicon Valley contingent out to Chicago. Instead. He's what a king of the nerds really looks like. it's one thing to look at their resumes and another to see how they are viewed among their peers. He may be like you. around Burning Man devotees. He likes Japan. Harper Reed probably makes sense to you. (Sacca's actually an investor in that one. a tool for website A/B testing.' But I realized I was just as good as the guys fixing it. which spun out of Obama's 2008 bid. too. "And they didn't look like me and I didn't look like them. and where a quarter of the staff and clientele have mustaches. he called the technical team "top notch.) . He is not that kind of nerd. had only glowing things to say about Reed. Yet if you've spent a lot of time around tech people. Reed." Sacca said. and look like an idiot. around Reddit. they really bought that.idiot. "I always look like a f-----. Like if we're all at zero. "Harper is an easy guy to underestimate because he looks funny." Reed told me. His self-announced flaws bristle like quills.

"The primary responsibility is getting good engineers. brought a different worldview. and as much as everyone I spoke with loved it. Though they hired a couple. affairs. however." said Teddy Goff. it was not as heavily digital or technological as it is now remembered. and he got them. had been "opportunistic users of technology" who "brute forced and bailing wired" different pieces of software together. "The real innovation in 2012 is that we had world-class technologists inside a campaign. He wanted dozens of engineers inhouse. "It's funny to hear you call it risky."A CTO role is a weird thing. The job security. my. the '08 campaign had Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes." The Nerds Are Inside the Building The strange truth is that campaigns have long been low-technologist. Things worked (most of the time). Slaby especially. Their old photos on Facebook show them canvassing for local politicians and winning cross-country meets. if not low-technology. not the technology of the thing. but they were not under the hood. Think about the killer tool of that campaign." And yet the technologists." Slaby said. The websites might have looked like solid consumer Web applications. who left Microsoft to become the product manager for Narwhal. campaign tech has been dominated by people who care about the politics of the thing. You have very little time. And there really was no one else like him that could have assembled these people that quickly and get them to take a pay cut and move to Chicago. even Howard Dean's famous 2004 Internet-enabled run at the Democratic nomination. is nonexistent. Sure. The deadlines are hard and the pressure would be enough to press the T-shirt of even the most battle-tested start-up veteran. strange rigors and schedules." Slaby told me. You can't afford to pay very much. but everyone. digital director of Obama for America and a veteran of both campaigns. For all the hoopla surrounding the digital savvy of President Obama's 2008 campaign. Think of them as a weird kind of niche start-up and you can see why." said Carol Davidsen. So. maybe a year. did not hire a bunch of technologists. Slaby told me. I asked Michael Slaby. they bought technology from outside consultants. knew that they needed a more stable platform for 2012. Twitter was a nothing burger for the campaign.com. no one gets to exit and make a bunch of money. like Clay Johnson. It wasn't a core or even peripheral part of our strategy. if it wasn't risky to hire this wild guy into a presidential campaign. "Facebook was about one-tenth of the size that it is now. "The traditional technology stuff inside campaigns had not been at the same level. by design. They have their own culture and demands. It borrowed the "my" from MySpace. set of personalities.barackobama. And even though you need to build a massive "customer" base and develop the infrastructure to get money and votes from them. For 2012. Political people wear khakis. . not its technical guy. the very things that make Reed an interesting and beloved person are the same things that make him an unlikely pick to become the chief technology officer of the reelection campaign of the president of the United States. Campaigns are not just another Fortune 500 company or top 50 website. no matter how good they were. Obama's 2008 chief technology officer and the guy who hired Harper Reed this time around. but Hughes was the spokesman for the company." And yet. it seems obvious to me. The '08 campaigners. Slaby wanted to change all that. "It seems crazy to hire someone like me as CTO when you could have someone like Harper as CTO. and expectations. They only own long-sleeve dress shirts. Campaigns. really.

designed some of the consumer-facing pieces of BarackObama. perhaps BSD's tech business would begin to seem less attractive. The goal was to reelect the president. and those guys were responsible for coming up with ways of finding and targeting voters they could persuade or turn out." There's one other interesting component to the campaign's structure. So. Of course. specifically: "He's the Karl Rove of the Internet. one of the largest ad agencies in the world. One other thing to know about Rospars. regardless of the technology stack. were paid staffers of the Obama campaign. "Yeah. Just make what we ask for.com. from an industry perspective knew what he was doing. video. and ran the campaigns' most-excellent accounts on Facebook. Blue State Digital. BSD's biggest client was the Obama campaign and has been for some time. Jeremy Bird ran Field. He and Goff are the brains behind Obama's unprecedented online fundraising efforts. and Clay Johnson cofounded. his team was composed of the people who sent you all those e-mails. And yet between 2008 and 2012. he ran some user interrupt tests on the website to determine how people were . we elected the president and we know how to win. Tumblr. BSD was purchased by WPP. it would be difficult to say where one ended and the other began. Jason Kunesh was the director of UX for the tech team. perhaps the tech team was bound to butt heads with Rospars's digital squad. What Rove was to direct mail--the undisputed king of the medium--Rospars is to e-mail. If all campaigns started bringing their technology in house. in a campaign or at least this campaign or perhaps any successful campaign. Let us do this. "Campaigns aren't traditionally that collaborative. "Digital" was Joe Rospars's kingdom. that the organizational styles of the two operations were very different. What had been an obviously progressive organization was now owned by a huge conglomerate and had clients that weren't other Democratic politicians. and Digital teams do their jobs better." Looking at it all from the outside. They're the preeminent progressive digital agency. well. the on-theground operations of organizing voters at the community level that many consider Obama's secret sauce . After all. he'd be "Google Boy." And the digital team could say. Tech was Harper Reed's domain. The most obvious is the firm that Rospars. The goal was not to build a product. The complex relationship between BSD and the Obama campaign adds another dimension to the introduction of an inside team of technologists. The tech for the campaign was supposed to help the Field. Analytics was run by Dan Wagner. Slaby would note. They are organized kind of like disaster response--siloed and super hierarchical so that things can move very quickly.To really understand what happened behind the scenes at the Obama campaign. too. if the campaign were Moneyball. They know what they were doing and had proven that time and again. the company's principals. Analytics. "Hey. Twitter. you need to know a little bit about its organizational structure. particularly if many of the tools that such an inside team created were developed as open source products. both the digital and tech teams had really good. we've done this kind of tech before at larger scale and with more stability than you've ever had. "Departments tend to be freestanding. mission-oriented reasons for wanting their way to carry the day. too." someone who knows him very well told me. he wouldn't be Billy Beane. has to play a supporting role. both Goff and Rospars. He had many years of consulting under his belt for big and small companies like Microsoft and LeapFrog." he said. Jascha Franklin-Hodge. As Reed put it. The tech team could say. Tech. So. and the like." The way that the conflict played out was over things like the user experience on the website. BSD and Obama for America were and are so deeply enmeshed. And that's the presence of two big tech vendors interfacing with the various teams--Blue State Digital and NGP Van. and a decent chunk--maybe 30 percent--of their business comes from providing technology to campaigns. He.

* The sorts of moves they had learned how to make had made a difference of tens. It's looking ugly and I go out on this field call." but perhaps in more words. else. that they would release a version of Dashboard just a few months after the team arrived." As the tech team struggled to translate what people wanted into usable software.' " While the responsibility for their early struggles certainly falls to the tech team. everyone got funneled into the fundraising "trap. but there were differences in the way field offices in some states did things and how campaign HQ thought they did things. Tech wasted time building things that it turned out people didn't need or want. falling down and getting patched. some of which turned out to be surprisingly arcane and difficult. you see a beautifully polished product that let you volunteer any way you wanted. "A lot of the software is kind of late. "Aug.. but they were going to build solid products. that was going to be the public launch. But that wasn't how the first version of Dashboard looked.com. no one had ever done what they were attempting to do. "Duh. you couldn't show it to anyone. all the way through a campaign. though.. The tech team did not want that. By Februrary 2012. The first version was not impressive. if not hundreds of millions of dollars. 'I'm gonna get another margarita. trust in the tech team-already shaky--kept eroding. Why was this Kunesh guy coming around trying to tell them how to run a campaign? From Kunesh's perspective. we should fire your bosses man. It looked as if you could the things you needed to do. But I'd only been there 13 weeks and most of the team had been there half that time. the Field people were used to software that looked complete but that was unreliable under the hood. And from the Goff/Rospars perspective. . iterate. there were mitigating factors. What he found was that the website wasn't even trying to make a go at persuading voters. Per Kunesh's telling. The tech team's plan was to roll out version 1 with a limited feature set. the online outreach tool. "It was freaking horrible.' I'm sitting there going.experiencing www. anybody." Kunesh remembered. Rather. It's secure and intuitive and had tremendously good uptime as the campaign drew to a close. think about it: the system they'd developed could raise $3 million *from a single email." When he raised that issue with Goff and Rospars.. but the software would keep falling down and getting patched." Kunesh told me. Now STFU. Not only that.barackobama. wanted. We gotta get the guys from the DNC. Reed's team began to trickle into Chicago beginning in May 2011. roll out version 2. 2011. They promised. 'Man. there was no reason to think that you had to run this campaign the same as you did the last one. we were supposed to have a prototype out of Dashboard. They don't know what the hell you're doing. over-optimistically. For one. "And people are like. If you look at Dashboard at the end of the campaign. iterate. The outsider status that the team both adopted and had applied to them gave them the right to question previous practices. Kunesh started to get word that people on both the digital and field teams had agitated to pull the plug on Dashboard and replace the tech team with somebody. he got a response that I imagine was something like. Narwhal had to connect to a bunch of different vendors' software. a hallowed group within the campaign's world. Tech sometimes had difficulty building what the Field team. They might be slower. my birthday. and so on and so forth until the software was complete and bulletproof. 29. Most of that related to the way that they launched Dashboard.

It provided a safe way for Dashboard. and the Twitter Blaster to pull data. In fact." The API allowed people to access parts of the data without letting them get at the SQL database on the backend. in true product-manager form. First. Narwhal really got on track. various field offices. While the dream had been for all applications to run through Narwhal in real time. "The second part is an API portion. Reed and Slaby sent some product managers packing and brought in more traditional ones like former Microsoft PM Carol Davidsen. By the very end. "One is vendor integration: BSD. "The stuff we told you about for a year is actually happening. It will. You have all this data coming in from all these places -. Narwhal wasn't really one thing. and it's all just gonna work. Dashboard got solid. this has to work." Then. in the late spring. And then they provided a separate way for the Analytics people. they split things into real-time applications like the Call Tool or things on the web. the Call Tool (which helped people make calls). Other smaller products rolled out. the website. what actually happened was Obama campaign chief Jim Messina would come by Slaby's desk and tell him. even before Obama's big win. What Narwhal fixed was a problem that's long plagued campaigns. "I know. "You're going to have one log-in and have all these tools. "Those two groups of people couldn't talk to each other. mobile stuff. . Davidsen. Just getting all of that data into the system and getting it in real time as soon as it goes in one system to another. "You very much have to understand the campaign's hiring strategy: 'We'll hire these product managers who have campaign experience. some front-end designers who were technically on the digital team had embedded with the tech squad to get work done faster. VAN [the latter two companies merged in 2010]. it had three components. You didn't have to log in a bunch of times if you wanted to do different things on the website. She credited a weekly Wednesday drinking and hanging-out session that brought together all the various people working on the campaign's technology. Tech might not have been fully integrated. Narwhal was just an initially helpful brand for the bundle of software." Kunesh recalled telling the field team. who had very specific needs. she said. and all previous races." she said. how much better would it be if you could sync that data in real time across the entire campaign? That's what Narwhal was supposed to do. But from an infrastructure level. the lead engineer who arrived in April. then hire engineers who have technical experience--and these two worlds will magically come together. Davidsen thought all the teams' relationships had improved. In 2008. "Dude. it turned out that couldn't work. Then. but it was fully operational. but several.' That failed." Davidsen said." Perhaps most important. NGP." and then go back to work. the numbers changed once a day. whatever they came up with was fed back into Narwhal. thanks no doubt to Davidsen's efforts as well as Josh Thayer's. It wasn't real-time. So. But in reality. High fives were in the air. broke down precisely how it all worked. all the products that the tech team had been promising started to show up. some shake-ups were necessary." Slaby told me. there's probably a meeting where I'm about to get fired and I throw myself on the table. And the last part was the presentation of the data that was in the system. You don't want a million consumers getting data via SQL. By the end. the analytics people. And the people looking to hit their numbers in various ways out in the field offices-number of volunteers and dollars raised and voters persuaded--were used to seeing that update happen like that. In reality.the voter file."In the movie version of the campaign. to get the data in a different form." And Slaby would respond.

000. helped build a tool that could specifically target individual users with direct messages. but the Obama campaign itself aired more than 550. either. They just want to have a meaningful experience. With Twitter. They didn't have to buy the traditional stuff like the local news. So. The genius of the campaign was that it learned to stop sending poor performers.000 Redditors registered to vote after president dropped in a link to the Obama voter registration page. This occurred through a third party called Epsilon: the campaign sent its voter file and the television provider sent their billing file and boom. with typical pragmatism. The digital team. Obama became the first presidential candidate to appear on Reddit. I would also note that Laura Olin. a list came back of people who had done certain things like. it's just hard. With Davidsen's help. he really did type in his own answers with Goff at his side. Having that data allowed the campaign to buy ads that they knew would get in front of the most of their people at the last cost. and correlated it with the campaign's own data. the Obama's campaign's cost per ad was lower ($594) than the Romney campaign ($666) or any other major buyer in the campaign cycle. It's not complicated. the Analytics team built a tool they called The Optimizer. And it wasn't just about cost. either. it had been tested on 18 smaller groups and the response rates had been gauged. Oh. battleground states." Meanwhile. the teams also built an . Navik Networks. ran the best campaign Tumblr the world will probably ever see. Let's just run through some of the things that actually got accomplished by the tech. One fascinating outcome of the AMA is that 30. for example. if a good performer could do $2. they could run ads targeted to specific types of voters during reruns or off-peak hours. The campaign thought all the letters had a good chance of succeeding. They created the most sophisticated e-mail fundraising program ever. They took set-top box (that is to say.5 million. a former strategist at Blue State Digital who moved to the Obama campaign. Instead. You have to develop new trust with people. They could see that some households were only watching a couple hours of TV a day and might be willing to spend more to get in front of those harder-to-reach people. one of the company's former employees. "That took some time. which allowed the campaign to buy eyeballs on television more cheaply." What They Actually Built Of course. Mark Trammell. that sort of stuff. So we have to do the work on our side to look integrated and have our shit together. but the worst-performing letters did only 15 to 20 percent of what the best-performing e-mails could deliver. and analytics teams beyond of Narwhal and Dashboard. According to CMAG/Kantar. It was meant to be used by the organizers in the field and the analysts in the lab. It's just change management. the massive popular social networking site. a poor performer might only net $500.Slaby. We promise them they can play a meaningful role in politics and they don't care about the departments in the campaign. watched the first presidential debate. under Rospars leadership. That difference may not sound impressive. put it like this. The digital and tech teams worked to build Twitter and Facebook Blasters. And yes. took their data-driven strategy to a new level. Any time you received an e-mail from the Obama campaign. "We built an influence score for the people following the [Obama for America] accounts and then cross-referenced those for specific things we were trying to target." he said. a project that had the code name Täärgus for some reason. Not bad. "Our supporters don't give a shit about our org chart. digital.000 ads. and the campaign also officially has the most tweeted tweet and the most popular Facebook post. the tech didn't exist for its own sake. your cable or satellite box or DVR) data from Davidsen's old startup.

'Yeah. where he first met Slaby. Exit Music That next most technically advanced CTO. Reed cracks that it's like Reddit come to life. "Text back with how much money you'd like to donate. wild clubbing. "It was only towards the end." Part of that process was Reed. "Your friend. and hanging out. It essentially brought the ease of Amazon's one-click purchases to political donations. We could lose. It's an impressive array of accomplishments. that's as innovative as we needed to be. The success of it was out of my hands. They learned what it was like to have--and work with people who had-." as his personal Web page is titled. Dave in Ohio. "But that's true of every CTO of every campaign every time." "I spent a lot of time hacking doing all this stuff. Reed playing the role of hipster. essentially. Both of them remember the meeting the same way: Slaby playing the role of square. "In terms of fundraising. a technologist's technolgoist. "After the last campaign. you have the digital team's Quick Donate. "Teddy [Goff] would tear up talking about the president. rather. in 2016. or people were scared and they didn't adopt the technology or whatever.' " Reed said." .opt-in Facebook outreach program that sent people messages saying." Storing people's payment information also let the campaign receive donations via text messages long before the Federal Elections Commission approved an official way of doing so. when we realized the gravity of what we were doing. They could simply text people who'd opted in a simple message like. something could go awry." Goff described the Facebook tool as "the most significant new addition to the voter contact arsenal that's come around in years. Reed looks happy." Or." he told me. sitting with his wife at Wicker Park's Handlebar." Goff said. "It's the absolute epitome of how you can make it easy for people to give money online. What you can do with data and code just keeps advancing. eating fish tacos. and DJs. "I remember at one point basically breaking down during the campaign because I was losing control. since the phone call. And two minutes later. it's true of one campaign CTO every time. What began 18 months ago in that very spot was finally coming to an end. the middle of 2012. I would be like. and I believe him. hasn't voted yet. they were ready to work together. Reed could stop being Obama for America's CTO and return to being "Harper Reed. and drinking a Daisy Cutter pale ale. working all the time. probably one of the coolest guys ever. building communities. A few days after the election. building websites. And I had to choose when to do which. Wormhole. He regaled us with stories about his old performance troupe. "I felt like the people I hired were right. I got introduced as the CTO of the most technically advanced campaign ever. will not be Harper Reed. the resources we argued for were right. Jugglers Against Homophobia. "And there was a lot of doing that on the Internet." Slaby said.a higher purpose than building cool stuff. " Reed said." Sometimes people texted much larger dollar amounts back than the $10 increments that mobile carriers allow. And because of a stupid mistake. "It was this whole world of having fun and living in the moment. he and his whole team of nerds were changed by the experience. Go tell him to vote." Reed said. But of course. that guy's cool. learning the limits of his own power." We left Handlebar and made a quick pit stop at the coffee shop. partying. He had told me earlier in the day that he'd never experienced stress until the Obama campaign." Last but certainly not least. "and then a lot of time drinking.

"In this.from Twitter. We do it because we can create. the control we all enjoyed about technology was gone. their East Coast servers." he said." Reed said. was fixing databases. Another of their vendors." Reed told me. Quora. "I think the Republicans fucked up in the hubris department. and their memcache clusters. to make sure that you not just know what you're doing. "You ran firefighting drills over and over and over. But even these people. "I just saw someone buy Hennessy. Madrigal November 16. Harper Reed." Then. but all they knew was that they had packet loss. Mark Trammell." We finished our drinks. Hatch said. That was bad: Narwhal was the code name for the data platform that underpinned the campaign and let it track voters and volunteers. "I know we had the best technology team I've ever worked with. I can handle all of the parameters going into the machine and I know what is going to come out of it. The election was still 17 days away. It was like someone had written a Murphy's Law algorithm and deployed it at scale. Craigslist. Earlier that day." The team had elite and. "Game day" was October 21. they felt more and more deeply as the campaign went on.com/technology/archive/2012/11/when-the-nerds-go-marching-in/265325/ Alexis C. would mean horrible things for the country. He said they reminded him of his time in the Navy. for tech." Hatch was playing the role of dungeon master.And losing. "but you're calm because you know you can handle your shit. "We worked through every possible disaster situation. Facebook. "There is the egoism of technologists. and some of Chicago's own software companies such as Orbitz and Threadless. "We did three actual all-day sessions of destroying everything we had built. It was going to take time. 2012 The Obama campaign's technologists were tense and tired. and this was a live action role playing (LARPing!) exercise that the campaign's chief technology officer. where Reed had been CTO.by which I mean that most of them were in their 30s -. six or seven days a week. It was game day and everything was going wrong. but needed to rebuild the replicas. was inflicting on his team. so would everything else. an engineer who Reed hired after he left Twitter." Reed said. calling out devilishly complex scenarios that were designed to test each and every piece of their system as they entered the exponential traffic-growth phase of the election. senior talent -. had just been informed that they'd lost another one of the services powering their software. They started to worry about the next Supreme Court justices while they coded. they lost their databases. but we didn't know if it would . The Atlantic: When the nerds go marching in http://www. and now everything had been broken at just the wrong time. Thayer was ready to kill Nick Hatch. The last thing my recorder picked up over the bass was me saying to Harper. the lead engineer of Narwhal. And that was the point. They were talking with people at Amazon Web Services. Google. and headed to our first club. a DevOps engineer who was the official bearer of bad news. saw a couple game days. PalominoDB. Josh Thayer. all I can hear is that music. ready for what was almost certainly going to be a long night. They didn't have time. They'd been working 14-hour days.theatlantic. knew enough about technology not to trust it. maybe *especially* these people. I've never seen someone buy Hennessy. If it broke. trying to reelect the president.

it could have cost the President the election. and this. a Romney spokesperson told NPR PBS . the Romney campaign pushed its (not-so) secret weapon as the answer to the Democrats' vaunted ground game. That would supposedly allow them to deploy resources more efficiently and wring every last vote out of Florida. and the other battleground states. Ohio. event-goers. "We created a hot backup of all our applications to US-west in preparation for US-east to go down hard. or comparing a GPS device to an engine. among other needs. The billing the Republicans gave the tool confused almost everyone inside the Obama campaign. In 2012. With election day bearing down on them. I was betting a lot on it. Orca was going to allow volunteers at polling places to update the Romney camp's database of voters in real time as people cast their ballots. they couldn't snicker too loudly. THE GRAND OLD PARTY Orca was supposed to be the Republican answer to Obama's perceived tech advantage. Then it crashed in much the same way Orca did. canvassers. We had done what we thought would work.on which the whole campaign's tech presence was built -. no matter what the scenario was. they knew they could not go down. Hurricane Sandy hit on another game day. Later reports posted by rank-and-file volunteers describe chaos descending on the polling locations as only a fraction of the tens of thousands of volunteers organized for the effort were able to use it properly to turn out the vote. In the days leading up to the election. The product got its name. We had resources. I was incredibly confident it would work. It was called Gordon. They did not do that with Orca. because orcas are the only known predator of the one-tusked narwhal. Of course. A fail whale (cough) in the days leading up to or on November 6 would have been neither charming nor funny. Amazon services -. And besides. who worked for Twitter during its period of exponential growth. as it always does. Narwhal unified what Obama for America knew about voters. like. It was like touting the iPad as a Facebook killer. but it's not. NGP VAN. And yet they had to accommodate much more strain on the systems as interest in the election picked up toward the end. The Victory Lab. Orca was not even in the same category as Narwhal. and phone-bankers. built by the vendor. Narwhal wasn't an app for a smartphone. Houdini's rollout went great until about 9:30am Eastern on the day of the election. this." Reed maintained. in the scheme of a campaign. From the descriptions of the Romney camp's software that were available then and now. . and it did it in real time. the stakes were much higher. It was the architecture of the company's sophisticated data operation. But the 2008 failure. October 29." Reed said. drove the 2012 Obama team to bring technologists in-house.went down." Reed said. a digitized strike list is cool. thought it would have been easy for the Obama team to fall into many of the pitfalls that the social network did back then. it was with more than a hint of schadenfreude that Reed's team hear that Orca crashed early on election day. "We had a runbook that said if this happens. Mark Trammell. "We didn't have any downtime because we had done that scenario already. Obama's campaign had created a similar app in 2008 called Houdini. Something could have happened. the day after the October 21 game day. and it still could have broken. Democrats had a new version. a gamechanger. "We knew what to do. So. you do this. It's just a nice thing to have." In fact. As detailed in Sasha Issenberg's groundbreaking book. We had time. In a race that at least some people thought might be very close. after the man who killed Houdini.work." THE NEW CHICAGO MACHINE vs. But while the problems of scaling both technology and culture quickly might have been similar. threatening the campaign's whole East Coast infrastructure.

too. in early 2012. Unsurprisingly. remained that way. "YOLO. digital. but the difference stemmed in large part from better technology. When Obama campaign chief Jim Messina signed off on hiring Reed. "Welcome to the team. and built everything atop the most stable technical infrastructure of any presidential campaign. TV news segments about cybersecurity might look lifted straight from his memories. Harper Reed got the city of Chicago to create an open and real-time feed of its transit data by reverse engineering how they served bus location information. At their worst. the manager." Reed told his team. He. self-organizing systems. We don't need to sell our software to Oracle." short for "You Only Live Once. the PeopleMatcher. They raised hundreds of millions of dollars online. the field organization was more entrenched and experienced. he told him. Surprisingly. YOLO: MEET THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN'S CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER If you're a nerd. The grand technology experiment worked. and Narwhal -. and learned to code because he just could not help himself. warez. phenomena. small-p politics. But the secondary impact of their success or failure would be to prove that campaigns could effectively hire and deploy top-level programming talent. Harper Reed is a chilled vodka kind of guy. He wrote his first programs at age seven. Harper Reed is an easy guy to like.Dashboard. engineers might become as enshrined in the mechanics of campaigns as social-media teams already are. The divisions among the tech. By the end. He gets you and where you came from. So little went wrong that Trammell and Reed even had time to cook up a little pin to celebrate. Because he is a nerd." Surprisingly. fingers flying across a keyboard. I'd even say that this clash of cultures was a good thing: The nerds shook up an ossifying Democratic tech structure and the politicos taught the nerds a thing or two about stress. It said. Because it was fun to extract the data from the bureaucracy and make it available to anyone who wanted it. Harper Reed read Steven Levy's Hackers as a kid. Don't fuck it up. If they failed." As Election Day ended and the dust settled. and he'd be right there with you: BBS. Yet Reed has friends like the manager of the hip-hop club Empire who. who is tall . The campaign had turned out more volunteers and gotten more donors than in 2008. Sure. by whom the arena had long been handled. he figured something out. The tech team's key products -. We now know what happened. has a memory that all nerds share: Late at night. Rails. says. but the b-roll they shot of darkened rooms and typing hands could not convey the sense of exhilaration he felt when he built something that works. and analytics team never quite got resolved. But it wasn't easy." with the Obama Os.And of course. the team's only real goal was to elect the President. "We have to elect the President. it would be evidence that this stuff might be best left to outside political technology consultants. when we walk into the place early on the Friday after the election. Singularity. and the significance of elections. You could call out nouns. the Facebook Blaster. Why? Because it made his wife Hiromi's commute a little easier. the campaign produced exactly what it should have: a hybrid of the desires of everyone on Obama's team.made it simpler and easier for anyone to engage with the President's reelection effort. too. the Call Tool. made unprecedented progress in voter targeting. He. played with computers when they weren't cool. To go a step further. Reed's team came in as outsiders to the campaign and by most accounts. "Let me grab you a shot. light from a chunky monitor illuminating his face. games that his mom typed into their Apple IIC. even if the end product has salved the sore spots that developed over the stressful months. it was clear: Reed had not fucked it up. the quantified self. the cultural differences between tech and everybody else threatened to derail the whole grand experiment. He's brash and funny and smart. If Reed's team succeeded.

but he wouldn't tuck in his t-shirt." said Chris Sacca. "Stop staring. for his part. He may be like you.") Hiroki's been DJing at Empire for years. "Harper Reed? I think he's wicked smart. he may actually be at 10. Harper Reed knows the DJ. who was spinning that night. it's not there i swear!" What makes Harper Reed different isn't just that the photo exists. in case you were wondering. returns to show Harper photographs of his kids. and where a quarter of the staff and clientele have mustaches. He likes Japan. Yet if you've spent a lot of time around tech people. Sacca said that with technical people. around San Francisco. Terry Howerton. but that he kept it public during the election." Howerton said. (At this point I'm thinking. He's what a king of the nerds really looks like. "And it was amazing how many incredibly well regarded hackers that I follow on Twitter rejoiced and celebrated [when Reed was hired]." And in fact. their reporter. around startups. "By the end of the night. And this was at a very unfortunate time in my life where I was wearing very baggy pants and I had a Marilyn Manson shirt on and I looked like an asshole. "I had this experience where my dad hired someone to help him out because his network was messed up and he wanted me to watch. In one shot from 2006. two thick band tattoos running across his chest and shoulders. the head of the Illinois Technology Association and a frank observer of Chicago's tech scene. either I pass out or Reed tells me something good. where he grew up. 'Why do you look like an asshole?' And I was like. I have to be at 10 because I have this stupid mustache." Reed told me. I have to step up. he might grow a beard and put on a little potbelly. had only glowing things to say about Reed." By the time Sacca brought his Silicon Valley contingent out to Chicago. a well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist and major Obama bundler who brought a team of more than a dozen technologists out for an Obama campaign hack day. and is wilder than you. He's a cool hacker. His self-announced flaws bristle like quills. As the night rolls on. we're talking about a group of people who had Eric Schmidt sitting in with them on Election Day." It was a lesson he learned early out in Greeley." After all. and the club starts to fill up. Of course. He is not wearing any clothes. Reed. "Lots of guys who know how to spit out code. cooler than you. he called the technical team "top notch. They are really growing up. The caption reads. They've known each other for a long while. Like if we're all at zero. And my father took me aside and was like. Sure. he's got plugs in his ears and a shock of gloriously product-mussed hair and hipster glasses and he doesn't own a long-sleeve dress shirt. "I always look like a fucking idiot. more fun than you." Sacca said. around Reddit. it's one thing to look at their resumes and another to see how they are viewed among their peers. and look like an idiot. around BBSs. And if I'm going to do this. He is not that kind of nerd. "And if you look like an asshole. Harper Reed probably makes sense to you. He supports open source. "And they didn't look like me and I didn't look like them. 'I don't know. The tech world was watching. but he also juggles better than you. You had to be good. Instead. has the kind of self-awareness that faces outward. they really bought that. That might be part of his brand. around Burning Man devotees.' But I realized I was just as good as the guys fixing it. another friend approached us: DJ Hiroki. He gets profiled by Mother Jones even though he couldn't talk with Tim Murphy. a skinny Reed sits in a bathtub with a beer in his hand. you have to be really good. Colorado. "Harper is an easy guy to underestimate because he looks funny. "He . He goes to hipster bars that serve vegan Mexican food.and handsome with rock-and-roll hair flowing from beneath a red beanie. I don't have an answer. And Hiroki grabs us another shot. He says fuck a lot." Reed recalled. since Harper Reed was the crazy guy you can see on his public Facebook photos.

. Political people wear khakis." Slaby said. For all the hoopla surrounding the digital savvy of President Obama's 2008 campaign. like Clay Johnson. Think of them as a weird kind of niche startup and you can see why. a tool for website A/B testing. set of personalities. Harper is responsible for a huge percentage of the people who went over there. Slaby especially. even Howard Dean's famous 2004 Internet-enabled run at the Democratic nomination. "The primary responsibility is getting good engineers. if it wasn't risky to hire this wild guy into a presidential campaign. You can't afford to pay very much. not its technical guy." And yet the technologists. brought a different worldview. One testament to that is several startups might spin out of the connections people made at the OFA headquarters. "The real innovation in 2012 is that we had world-class technologists inside a campaign. the '08 campaign had Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes." said Carol Davidsen. Slaby told me. such as Optimizely. which spun out of Obama's 2008 bid. It wasn't a core or even peripheral part of our strategy. campaign tech has been dominated by people who care about the politics of the thing. Things worked (most of the time). not the technology of the thing. You have very little time.barackobama. it was not as heavily digital or technological as it is now remembered. my. It borrowed the my from MySpace. He wanted dozens of engineers inhouse. the very things that make Reed an interesting and beloved person are the same things that make him an unlikely pick to become the chief technology officer of the reelection campaign of the President of the United States. "It seems crazy to hire someone like me as CTO when you could have someone like Harper as CTO. by design. no one gets to exit and make a bunch of money." Reed's own team found their co-workers particularly impressive. Obama's 2008 chief technology officer. it seems obvious to me. knew that they needed a more stable platform for 2012. And even though you need to build a massive "customer" base and develop the infrastructure to get money and votes from them. "The traditional technology stuff inside campaigns had not been at the same level. did not hire a bunch of technologists. and the guy who hired Harper Reed this time around. however. and expectations. The '08 campaigners. who left Microsoft to become the product manager for Narwhal. So." Slaby told me. but everyone. Slaby wanted to change all that. "Facebook was about one-tenth of the size that it is now. and he got them. Twitter was a nothing burger for the campaign. but they were not under the hood." THE NERDS ARE INSIDE THE BUILDING The strange truth is that campaigns have long been low-technologist." said Teddy Goff.com. if not low-technology.) "A CTO role is a weird thing. maybe a year. really. no matter how good they were. Think about the killer tool of that campaign. they bought technology from outside consultants. Sure. I think that was probably what attracted the rest of the people there. Digital Director of Obama for America and a veteran of both campaigns. They only own long-sleeve dress shirts. but Hughes was the spokesperson for the company." And yet. The websites might have looked like solid consumer web applications. The job security. And there really was no one else like him that could have assembled these people that quickly and get them to take a pay cut and move to Chicago. Campaigns. For 2012. Their old photos on Facebook show them canvassing for local politicians and winning cross-country meets.knows how to pull people together. and as much as everyone I spoke with loved it. (Sacca's actually an investor in that one. too. Though they hired a couple. I asked Michael Slaby. "It's funny to hear you call it risky. had been "opportunistic users of technology" who "brute forced and baling wired" different pieces of software together. is nonexistent. affairs.

it would be difficult to say where one ended and the other began. The goal was not to build a product." There's one other interesting component to the campaign's structure. To really understand what happened behind the scenes at the Obama campaign. "Yeah. and Digital teams do their jobs better. Blue State Digital. Let us do this.Blue State Digital and NGP Van. If all campaigns started bringing their technology in house. he'd be "Google Boy. and a decent chunk -. well. "Departments tend to be freestanding. in a campaign or at least this campaign or perhaps any successful campaign. Tumblr. one of the largest ad agencies in the world. What Rove was to direct mail -. mission-oriented reasons for wanting their way to carry the day. designed some of the consumer-facing pieces of BarackObama." The way that the conflict played out was over things like the user experience on the website." And the digital team could say. has to play a supporting role. Analytics. we elected the president and we know how to win." someone who knows him very well told me. And that's the presence of two big tech vendors interfacing with the various teams -. strange rigors and schedules. and ran the campaigns' most-excellent accounts on Facebook. and those guys were responsible for coming up with ways of finding and targeting voters they could persuade or turn out. What had been an obviously progressive organization was now owned by a huge conglomerate and had clients that weren't other Democratic politicians. regardless of the technology stack. he wouldn't be Billy Beane.maybe 30 percent -. Jeremy Bird ran Field. "Campaigns aren't traditionally that collaborative. both the digital and tech teams had really good. Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "Digital" was Joe Rospars' kingdom. Of course. the on-theground operations of organizing voters at the community level that many consider Obama's secret sauce . He had many years of consulting under his belt for big and small . They are organized kind of like disaster response -. The goal was to reelect the President. "Hey. Twitter. BSD's biggest client was the Obama campaign and has been for some time.the undisputed king of the medium -. After all.siloed and super hierarchical so that things can move very quickly. They have their own culture and demands. that the organizational styles of the two operations were very different. and the like. So. Slaby would note. Tech. too. the company's principals. The most obvious is the firm that Rospars. As Reed put it." Looking at it all from the outside." he said. video. The complex relationship between BSD and the Obama campaign adds another dimension to the introduction of an inside team of technologists. his team was composed of the people who sent you all those emails. we've done this kind of tech before at larger scale and with more stability than you've ever had.of their business comes from providing technology to campaigns. He and Goff are the brains behind Obama's unprecedented online fundraising efforts. Tech was Harper Reed's domain. And yet between 2008 and 2012. They're the preeminent progressive digital agency. The tech team could say. Analytics was run by Dan Wagner. you need to know a little bit about its organizational structure. were paid staffers of the Obama campaign.Campaigns are not just another Fortune 500 company or top-50 website. Jason Kunesh was the director of UX for the tech team. specifically: "He's the Karl Rove of the Internet. and Clay Johnson co-founded. They know what they were doing and had proven that time and again. if the campaign were Moneyball. both Goff and Rospars. BSD and Obama for America were and are so deeply enmeshed.com. The deadlines are hard and the pressure would be enough to press the t-shirt of even the most battle-tested startup veteran. One other thing to know about Rospars. The tech for the campaign was supposed to help the Field. BSD was purchased by WPP.Rospars is to email. perhaps BSD's tech business would begin to seem less attractive. perhaps the tech team was bound to butt heads with Rospars' digital squad. Just make what we ask for. particularly if many of the tools that such an inside team created were developed as open source products.

companies like Microsoft and LeapFrog. iterate. and so on and so forth until the software was complete and bulletproof. The outsider status that the team both adopted and had applied to them gave them the right to question previous practices. And from the Goff/Rospars perspective. he ran some user interrupt tests on the website to determine how people were experiencing www. The first version was not impressive.com.* The sorts of moves they had learned how to make had made a difference of tens.kept eroding. It's secure and intuitive and had tremendously good uptime as the campaign drew to a close. else. It looked as if you could do the things you needed to do. He.'" While the responsibility for their early struggles certainly falls to the tech team. there were mitigating factors. "August 29. though. It's looking ugly and I go out on this Field call. anybody. wanted." but perhaps in more words. We gotta get the guys from the DNC. that they'd release a version of Dashboard just a few months after the team arrived. but there were differences in the way field offices in some states did things and how campaign HQ thought they did things. that was going to be the public launch. roll out version 2. the Field people were used to software that looked complete but that was unreliable under the hood. "It was freaking horrible. Rather. but they were going to build solid products. Tech wasted time building things that it turned out people didn't need or want. from an industry perspective knew what he was doing. falling down and getting patched. over-optimistically. For one. What he found was that the website wasn't even trying to make a go at persuading voters. 2011." Kunesh told me. Now STFU. there was no reason to think that you had to run this campaign the same as you did the last one. you couldn't show it to anyone. no one had ever done what they were attempting to do. iterate." Kunesh remembered. you see a beautifully polished product that let you volunteer any way you wanted.. Why was this Kunesh guy coming around trying to tell them how to run a campaign? From Kunesh's perspective. he got a response that I imagine was something like.. But I'd only been there 13 weeks and most of the team had been there half that time. a hallowed group within the campaign's world. . Most of that related to the way that they launched Dashboard. The tech team's plan was to roll out version 1 with a limited feature set. trust in the tech team -already shaky -. Kunesh started to get word that people on both the digital and field teams had agitated to pull the plug on Dashboard and replace the tech team with somebody.barackobama.' I'm sitting there going. So. if not hundreds of millions of dollars." As the tech team struggled to translate what people wanted into usable software. Not only that. my birthday. we should fire your bosses man. 'I'm gonna get another margarita. too. everyone got funneled into the fundraising "trap. They don't know what the hell you're doing. Reed's team began to trickle into Chicago beginning in May of 2011. But that wasn't how the first version of Dashboard looked. The tech team did not want that. They promised. "And people are like. some of which turned out to be surprisingly arcane and difficult. but the software would keep falling down and getting patched. "Duh. Narwhal had to connect to a bunch of different vendors' software. the online outreach tool. "A lot of the software is kind of late. They might be slower. By Februrary of 2012. 'Man." When he raised that issue with Goff and Rospars. Per Kunesh's telling. If you look at Dashboard at the end of the campaign. all the way through a campaign. think about it: the system they'd developed could raise $3 million *from a single email. we were supposed to have a prototype out of Dashboard. Tech sometimes had difficulty building what the Field team.

In fact."In the movie version of the campaign. In 2008. So we have to do the work on our side to look .the voter file. in the late spring. whatever they came up with was fed back into Narwhal." And Slaby would respond. They just want to have a meaningful experience. even before Obama's big win. Other smaller products rolled out. But in reality. some shakeups were necessary. to get the data in a different form. Just getting all of that data into the system and getting it in real time as soon as it goes in one system to another. how much better would it be if you could sync that data in real time across the entire campaign? That's what Narwhal was supposed to do. What Narwhal fixed was a problem that's long plagued campaigns. But from an infrastructure level. And the people looking to hit their numbers in various ways out in the field offices -number of volunteers and dollars raised and voters persuaded -. You have all this data coming in from all these places -.were used to seeing that update happen like that. they split things into real-time applications like the Call Tool or things on the web. Reed and Slaby sent some product managers packing and brought in more traditional ones like former Microsoft PM Carol Davidsen. it turned out that couldn't work. this has to work. In reality. then hire engineers who have technical experience -." The API allowed people to access parts of the data without letting them get at the SQL database on the backend. the Call Tool (which helped people make calls). "You very much have to understand the campaign's hiring strategy: 'We'll hire these product managers who have campaign experience. "Dude. While the dream had been for all applications to run through Narwhal in real time.and these two worlds will magically come together. various field offices. in true product-manager form. thanks no doubt to Davidsen's efforts as well as Josh Thayer's. "Those two groups of people couldn't talk to each other. "The stuff we told you about for a year is actually happening. Davidsen. And then they provided a separate way for the Analytics people. We promise them they can play a meaningful role in politics and they don't care about the departments in the campaign. By the end. "One is vendor integration: BSD. Then." Kunesh recalled telling the Field team. "You're going to have one login and have all these tools and it's all just gonna work. "I know. the analytics people. "Our supporters don't give a shit about our org chart. mobile stuff. So. and all previous races." Then. some front-end designers who were technically on the digital team had embedded with the tech squad to get work done faster. Tech might not have been fully integrated. And the last part was the presentation of the data that was in the system. By the very end. but it was fully operational. Dashboard got solid." and then go back to work. but several. Narwhal wasn't really one thing. who had very specific needs. the lead engineer who arrived in April. all the products that the tech team had been promising started to show up. NGP. "The second part is an API portion. You don't want a million consumers getting data via SQL. broke down precisely how it all worked. Slaby. Davidsen thought all the teams' relationships had improved. it had three components.' That failed. and the Twitter Blaster to pull data. It provided a safe way for Dashboard. there's probably a meeting where I'm about to get fired and I throw myself on the table." Perhaps most importantly. she said. It wasn't real-time. High fives were in the air." Slaby told me. put it like this. what actually happened was Obama's campaign chief Jim Messina would come by Slaby's desk and tell him. Narwhal was just an initially helpful brand for the bundle of software. the website. Narwhal really got on track. with typical pragmatism. First." Davidsen said." she said. the numbers changed once a day. VAN [the latter two companies merged in 2010]. She credited a weekly Wednesday drinking and hanging out session that brought together all the various people working on the campaign's technology. It will. You didn't have to log in a bunch of times if you wanted to do different things on the website.

either. watched the first presidential debate. he really did type in his own answers with Goff at his side. They could see that some households were only watching a couple hours of TV a day and might be willing to spend more to get in front of those harder-to-reach people. And yes. it had been tested on 18 smaller groups and the response rates had been gauged. under Rospars leadership. the Analytics team built a tool they called The Optimizer. Instead. It's not complicated. The genius of the campaign was that it learned to stop sending poor performers. since the phone call.000 Redditors registered to vote after President dropped in a link to the Obama voter registration page. Navik Networks. essentially.integrated and have our shit together. either. Goff described the Facebook tool as "the most significant new addition to the voter contact arsenal that's come around in years. for example. "That took some time. Mark Trammell. With Twitter. Clair. With Davidsen's help. and analytics teams worked to build Twitter and Facebook Blasters. That difference may not sound impressive. Obama became the first presidential candidate to appear on Reddit. digital. And it wasn't just about cost. which allowed the campaign to buy eyeballs on television more cheaply. took their data-driven strategy to a new level. Let's just run through some of the things that actually got accomplished by the tech. They didn't have to buy the traditional stuff like the local news. Oh. but the worst-performing letters did only 15 to 20 percent of what the best-performing emails could deliver. ran the best campaign Tumblr the world will probably ever see. that sort of stuff. "Your friend. hasn't voted yet." Meanwhile." The digital. but the Obama campaign itself aired more than 550 thousand ads. the tech didn't exist for its own sake. and the campaign also officially has the most tweeted tweet and the most popular Facebook post. Having that data allowed the campaign to buy ads that they knew would get in front of the most of their people at the least cost.000. One fascinating outcome of the AMA is that 30. "We built an influence score for the people following the [Obama for America] accounts and then cross-referenced those for specific things we were trying to target. The campaign thought all the letters had a good chance of succeeding." WHAT THEY ACTUALLY BUILT Of course. It was code named Täärgus Taargüs for some reason. So. It's just change management. one of the company's former employees. They took set-top box (that is to say. a list came back of people who had done certain things like. if a good performer could do $2. the massive popular social networking site. Dave in Ohio. helped build a tool that could specifically send individual users direct messages. Not bad. and analytics teams beyond of Narwhal and Dashboard. your cable or satellite box or DVR) data from Davidsen's old startup. a poor performer might only net $500. they could run ads targeted to specific types of voters during reruns or off-peak hours. and correlated it with the campaign's own data. battleground states. They ran on a service that generated microtargeting data that was built by Will St. it's just hard. You have to develop new trust with people. I would also note that Laura Olin. The digital team. ." he said. They created the most sophisticated email fundraising program ever. the teams also built an opt-in Facebook outreach program that sent people messages saying. Any time you received an email from the Obama campaign. It was meant to be used by the organizers in the field and the analysts in the lab. a former strategist at Blue State Digital who moved to the Obama campaign.5 million. tech. According to CMAG/Kantar. the Obama's campaign's cost per ad was lower ($594) than the Romney campaign ($666) or any other major buyer in the campaign cycle. This occurred through a third party called Epsilon: the campaign sent its voter file and the television provider sent their billing file and boom.

since the phone call. . something could go awry. learning the limits of his own power. "It was only towards the end. Jugglers Against Homophobia. the middle of 2012. "But that's true of every CTO of every campaign every time. "Teddy [Goff] would tear up talking about the President. when we realized the gravity of what we were doing. and I believe him." Storing people's payment information also let the campaign receive donations via text messages long before the Federal Elections Commission approved an official way of doing so. We could lose. But of course." Slaby said." Or." "I spent a lot of time hacking doing all this stuff. Wormhole. They started to worry about the next Supreme Court Justices while they coded. Reed cracks that it's like Reddit come to life. He'd told me earlier in the day that he'd never experienced stress until the Obama campaign. "and then a lot of time drinking. you have the digital team's Quick Donate.'" Reed said. that guy's cool.Go tell him to vote. he and his whole team of nerds were changed by the experience. they felt more and more deeply as the campaign went on. rather. "I felt like the people I hired were right." We left Handlebar and made a quick pitstop at the coffee shop." Sometimes people texted much larger dollar amounts back than the $10 increments that mobile carriers allow. a technologist's technologist. " Reed said. wild clubbing and DJs. It essentially brought the ease of Amazon's one-click purchases to political donations. working all the time.a higher purpose than building cool stuff. He regaled us with stories about his old performance troupe. they were ready to work together." Reed said. EXIT MUSIC That next most technically advanced CTO. building communities. "In terms of fundraising. The success of it was out of my hands." Goff described the Facebook tool as "the most significant new addition to the voter contact arsenal that's come around in years. It's an impressive array of accomplishments.and work with people who had -. "It was this whole world of having fun and living in the moment. will not be Harper Reed. building websites. They could simply text people who'd opted in a simple message like. partying. that's as innovative as we needed to be. Reed looks happy. And because of a stupid mistake." And losing. Both of them remember the meeting the same way: Slaby playing the role of square. "After the last campaign. it's true of one campaign CTO every time." as his personal webpage is titled. "I remember at one point basically breaking down during the campaign because I was losing control. and drinking a Daisy Cutter pale ale. "It's the absolute epitome of how you can make it easy for people to give money online. What you can do with data and code just keeps advancing. in 2016. eating fish tacos. the resources we argued for were right. "Text back with how much money you'd like to donate. and hanging out. What began 18 months ago in that very spot was finally coming to an end. I would be like. Reed could stop being Obama for America's CTO and return to being "Harper Reed. They learned what it was like to have -. or people were scared and they didn't adopt the technology or whatever." Part of that process was Reed. I got introduced as the CTO of the most technically advanced campaign ever. And I had to choose when to do which. A few days after the election. probably one of the coolest guys ever. Reed playing the role of hipster. where he first met Slaby." Goff said. 'Yeah. would mean horrible things for the country. "And there was a lot of doing that on the Internet. sitting with his wife at Wicker Park's Handlebar. And two minutes later." Last but certainly not least." he told me.

voting has the same amount of gender imbalance as we see in other forms of communication.” This is illustrated in the following graph Facebook posted: Self-declared Facebook voters were also more Democratic and more likely to support Obama Facebook released the following graph of voter turnout of its U. The turnout among conservatives was just over 12 percent. I can handle all of the parameters going into the machine and I know what is going to come out of it.S. likes and status updates. the control we all enjoyed about technology was gone. But what’s surprising is how large the age window was. We do it because we can create. members during the election according to party affiliation: The highest turnout was for Obama supporters at 18. Facebook kept track of self-declared users who voted through posts and through an “I’m Voting” app it worked on with CNN. connect with each other. Clearly. Younger voters dominated The following two graphs show the breakdown of age and 1) overall voter participation on Facebook by political identification 2) voter participation on mobile devices. ready for what was almost certainly going to be a long night.php Carl Franzen November 16. and for what purposes."There is the egoism of technologists. On Friday. Compared to comments." Then. “women are disproportionately more likely to share in general on Facebook. "I just saw someone buy Hennessy.talkingpointsmemo. Facebook posted a roundup of results from its 2012 Election-themed user activity on its Data Science page. The last thing my recorder picked up over the bass was me saying to Harper. which might be expected. I've never seen someone buy Hennessy. younger voters were the most likely to share that they voted on Facebook. TPM: Facebook’s election 2012 roundup: big bird. 2012 Facebook was more than just a place to share political opinions during the 2012 U. as Facebook Data Science researcher Eytan Bakshy wrote in the post Friday. "In this. One academic study even found Facebook may have responsible for boosting turnout among young voters. and the turnout among those identified as “very conservative” was just over 14 percent.2 percent. followed closely by self-identified Democrats at 18 percent. Here’s some of the more interesting findings about Facebook users and the 2012 Election: Women shared that they were voting more than men However. ‘binders full of women’ won big http://idealab." We finished our drinks. and keep track in real time of who said they voted and where around the country.com/2012/11/facebooks-election-2012-roundup-big-bird-binders-full-ofwomen-won-big. all I can hear is that music. general election. with top activity of those self-identified voters . But now Facebook itself is revealing some of its own internal measures of just how many people and what types used Facebook on Election Day.S." Reed said. with the company itself releasing a suite of tools and apps to help voters find their polling place. and headed to our first club.

The reminder offered up a button labeled “I’m a voter”. led the study. with “Big Bird” and “Binders Full of Women” leading the pack: TPM has reached out to Facebook for further comment on its Election 2012 participation and will update when we receive a response. while only about 15 percent of those identifying as “Republican” or “Independent” did so. nine million people clicked it. James Fowler. Gawker: How The Obama Campaign's Data-Miners Knew What You Watched On TV http://gawker.000 voters to the polls in 2010. So.” as Bakshy put it. because this is Facebook — election-themed memes were a large predictor of voter turnout. Research published in the prestigious journal Science in September told us that in 2010 a version of the voting reminder similar to that used this month drove an additional 340. a political scientist at the University of California. while exit polls tell us that overall Obama led with female voters.com/view/507606/how-facebook-boosted-obamas-vote-tally/ By Tom Simonite November 16. Meanwhile. Twice as many women as men did so.000 voters to polls nationwide. That’s something my colleague David Talbot suggested could happen in advance of the election (see “Facebook’s Plans Could Affect the Election”). “the majority of people age 22-38 shared their vote on a mobile device. In a new blog post. the new figures suggest that Facebook’s decision to implement the feature directly boosted president Obama’s vote tally. and showed the names and faces of friends that had already clicked it. we know that the “I voted” reminder that shows a person which of their friends also clicked can turn out votes that would otherwise not be cast. 2012 . Paul Ryan (R-WI) who predicted the most votes. Also. Meanwhile. almost 20 percent of people who stated their political affiliation as “Barack Obama”.technologyreview. which involved matching public voter records with Facebook’s data (see “How Facebook Drove Voters to the Polls”). it was First Lady Michelle Obama and Mitt Romney’s VP candidate Rep. However.basically plateauing between ages 18 and 44 for those who said they voted across the site. The two Presidential candidates weren’t even at the top of Facebook’s ticket Surprisingly. 2012 Facebook just revealed some interesting figures about who responded to its reminder to vote this recent presidential election day. “Democratic” or “Very liberal” clicked Facebook’s “I’m a voter” button. when it came to how well “Likes” predicted voter turnout on Facebook. Facebook’s get out the vote reminder would clearly have boosted the number of votes cast for Obama. Many of those people would have voted anyway. if the same effect was at work this time around. and it seems clear that more of them would have voted for Barack Obama than Mitt Romney. San Diego. Technology Review: How Facebook Boosted Obama's Vote Tally http://www. Facebook data scientist Eytan Bakshy. tells us about the people most likely to have clicked that button on November 6.com/5961202/how-the-obama-campaigns-data+miners-knew-what-you-were-watching-on-tv By Adrian Chen November 16. Combined with evidence that a similar widget sent an extra 340. Although many more will have seen the “I’m a voter” button.

which gathered an unprecedented amount of data on potential voters. Over the last four years. A major drawback with TV advertising—for politicos and businesses alike—has always been in the pricing.Since the campaign is done. a list came back of people who had done certain things like. ultimately. Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic has written a fascinating profile of Obama's tech team. individually. Post-election. So the campaign looked for a way. the Obama campaign's massive. operating out of a side room half-jokingly dubbed "The Cave. but in the sense of whether you. Navik Networks. "Narwhal. According to Kantar Media's post-election tally of 2012 spending. 2012 Mitt Romney's top strategists don't have to look very far to see where things went terribly wrong.com/politics/2012/11/inside-obama-campaign-tech-operation By Tim Murphy November 15. director of integration and media targeting for the Obama campaign. supersecret tech operation has finally been opened up for the world to marvel at. the Obama campaign has sought to turn the art of campaigning into something closer to a science. They took set-top box (that is to say. for use in determining campaign strategy." then sifted through the data in search of efficiencies. One key part of Obama's Narwhal was an analytics department five times larger than the 2008 team. watched the first presidential debate. the conservative base has focused much of its ire on Team Romney's failed voter-turnout tool (code name: Project ORCA). so I won't have to hear about it any more? MotherJones: Under the Hood of Team Obama's Tech Operation http://www. for example. and. . whose much-touted "Orca" system pooped out on election day.motherjones. They had so much data. the election. It was no accident. Is this a common marketing tactic? Why would a billing file show what people watched on TV. The Obama campaign's sophisticated technology platform. which allowed the campaign to buy eyeballs on television more cheaply. had tuned into a certain program: Madrigal explains: With [project manager Carol Davidsen's] help the Analytics team built a tool they called The Optimizer. "It's not like the stock market where you can just plug it in and you know the rate. to predict the future. This occurred through a third party called Epsilon: the campaign sent its voter file and the television provider sent their billing file and boom." is being credited with giving Obama a significant edge over Romney. your cable or satellite box or DVR) data from Davidsen's old startup. All they have to do is check the bottom line. The solution was a program called Optimizer: A team of software engineers at Obama HQ in Chicago headquarters developed a system that collected reams of data on the pricing of TV ads. they even knew what people were watching on TV—and not in a ratings sense. An analytics team. the Romney campaign spent an average of $666 per television spot—$72 more than its Democratic rival. as best it could. But the gap in per-ad spending is perhaps more illustrative of the technological chasm between the rival campaigns—a gap that Team Obama leveraged into an edge in fundraising. when it was most needed. anyway? And can we use this data to round up everyone obsessed with Homeland and put them on an island until the series is done. So the Obama campaign's data-mining team could get a big list of the names of people who watched certain things on TV. I have a lot of questions about this. Buried in it is the fairly unsettling fact that the Obama campaign's data-mining operation could use their databases to determine what you were watching on TV. in fact. messaging." says Carol Davidsen. Local stations can substantially change the price of a time slot even after it has been reserved. and correlated it with the campaign's own data.

it had a ripple effect in Chicago. (The campaign hasn't released its final online fundraising tally. as the Republican primaries were in their last throes. what else are they watching?" The results prompted the Obama campaign to seek bargains outside of the usual local newscasts. "The most important part of the data story that doesn't get told is a phrase that [Team Obama CTO Harper Reed] uses a lot and we sort of stole from [tech entrepreneur] Tim O'Reilly. (Normally. The campaign also got better at using its tools to understand and respond what was going on in the field. Using digital analytics. Quick Donate netted the campaign an extra $60 million. the geeks had a pretty good idea of where to look. the campaign had begun using A/B testing—sending variations of an email or a web page to different groups of people to measure the relative effectiveness of each. they just had young kids and were too busy to tune in." Davidsen adds. the Obama campaign's digital division worked with the Democratic firm Blue State Digital to develop a fundraising shortcut called Quick Donate. campaign staffers estimate. Its edge allowed Chicago to build the most prolific online fundraising machine ever— and spend the cash it raised more effectively. but staffers expect that it will exceed the $500 million brought in four years ago. voting history. The team used the same approach for voters tagged as non-news consumers or who watched fewer than two hours of television per day. the analytics team discovered that a large number of registered voters who had avoided watching the debates weren't apathetic after all. "So then it's like. "It was kind of like a secret weapon. it had a ripple effect in Chicago. Now if an organizer tapped his tablet in Cuyahoga. the campaign's director of integration and innovation. All told. In the latest election cycle. managed by Davidsen."Okay. the campaign boosted fundraising from its donations page by 15 percent. it gave donors the option of saving their credit card information on the donation website.' . 'Okay. A simple hack. Over the last decade. Early in the process. from fundraising emails (sent out in 26 varieties and then analyzed for patterns) to the online donation landing page. giving became as easy as sending a text. for example." says Michael Slaby. Quick Donate netted the campaign about $60 million more than it would have raised with email blasts alone. By turning its donation process into four steps instead of a single long form. and online profile—so that they could be updated and accessed in real-time. of Bain and the 47 percent. For instance. here are the households that watch Spongebob.) A simple hack. Team Obama was likewise able to squeeze every last cent out of supporters in ways unimaginable only four years ago. what else are they watching?'" Davidsen says. In 2008. Their disparate databases were often incompatible. so that an online phone banker. President Obama was reelected last Tuesday in no small part thanks to the work of an unprecedented political tech operation. might waste resources by calling a person who'd already told in-person canvassers that he or she had voted early. The solution was a project called Narwhal. as campaigns acquired more and more data—everything from voters' shopping habits to their caucus attendance record—they ran into a bit of a Babel problem. with the help of a Google alum named Dan Siroker. that ethos extended to pretty much everything the campaign did. party file. Narwhal integrated all of the various data sets—consumer data. Now if an organizer tapped his tablet in Cuyahoga. An armory might be the better analogy: For all the talk of debates and strategy. here are the households that watch Spongebob. "It's called 'microlistening. And thanks to data it had already collected on likely voters. subsequent fundraising pitches—there were dozens each week—would include a one-click donation button for various small-dollar amounts. supporters would have to be routed through the website to provide their credit information again. If people consented.) If the pre-approved donors also signed up for SMS alerts.

and it trickled up information. mobile and its website during the final months of the race than initially projected. "After 72 hours. if you were a volunteer and you knocked on a bunch of doors and you had a particularly bad day. TIME: Exclusive: Obama’s 2012 digital fundraising outperformed 2008 http://swampland. Dashboard also increased the "stickiness" of the campaign's contacts with supporters. In total. and networking—it transformed how volunteers and staff interacted. I'm having a particularly bad day specifically on health care. at the time. just a few weeks after he had signed on with the campaign following a long stint at the T-shirt retailer Threadless. particularly about health care.Last June." Reed recalls him saying. you could say. That's the day the campaign blasted out a fundraising email bearing the president's name and an ominous subject line: "I will be outspent. at HQ. breaking the 10-figure milestone for the first time in history.” Messina said.” And he meant it. join a Veterans for Obama group or sign up to help at their local precinct. 'We need to send this person more information. But when the final numbers are counted. say. Reed traveled to Foo Camp. “That’s bull—-. As Reed expounded on the problems the campaign was encountering as it sought to get its mojo back. "What it did was it listened. up from about $500 million in 2008. In short. And so. to arm them." Slaby says." One 261-word email plea." netted Team Obama $2.4 million in a little more than a day—more than double what the campaign had ever raised in a single email push. Reed took it to heart. they'd hear back from a real person within three days. Obama’s aides now expect more than $1 billion dollars to have been raised by the 2012 campaign and its affiliated party committees. "So like. it made the flow of information bidirectional. . 261-word pitch brought in $2." Reed told me." The brief. social media. the likelihood that someone's going to engage drops precipitously.com/2012/11/15/exclusive-obamas-2012-digital-fundraising-outperformed-2008/ Michael Scherer November 15. invitation-only technology conference held in the San Francisco Bay Area. “People have speculated that this is a billion dollar campaign. When the campaign rolled out Dashboard—a one-stop site for phone-banking. the Obama team raised about $690 million digitally in 2012. After the GOP primaries wound down in May and June. according to a senior campaign adviser. 'I'm in a very red area. an annual. Barack Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina took to YouTube with an expletive-laden post-holiday message for supporters. Team Obama's online registration drive was signing up just a few dozen new voters per day and digital fundraising was floundering—a large part of the reason why the campaign was considering dramatically scaling down its final fundraising marks.'" As Slaby explains. so it can be less depressing. and respond accordingly. If someone used the platform to. "And they need to start thinking about listening.4 million in a little more than a day.' So that trickles up. you're able to say. eventplanning. according to new campaign calculations acquired exclusively by TIME. But their fortunes reversed on June 26. O'Reilly approached with some advice: "I think the campaign needs to get over targeting. 2012 Nearly a year ago. The reason is simple: the campaign brought in more small-dollar fundraising through email. The new platform allowed OFA to collect feedback from the ground on an enormous scale.time. titled "I will be outspent. It's not like there weren't some scary times. They never looked back.

the Facebook photo has more than 4. In all. and has been shared more than 582. including email.4 million likes.000 times. organized more than 358.95 million in 2008. And in October 2012.com/information-technology/2012/11/built-to-win-deep-inside-obamas-campaign-tech/ Sean Gallagher November 14. –The campaign’s new social network for supporters. As of today. was a better month than September 2008 online. . which allowed the campaign to overlay its own voter files with the friend networks of its supporters. In all. the campaign used this information to ask its supporters to directly contact their friends who were targeted voters in key swing states via Facebook. social media. and more engaged than the competition. for instance. mobile and the website. became the most shared pieces of content in both social networks’ histories. 2012 The reelection of Barack Obama was won by people. increased from 19 million to 45 million over the course of the race. President Obama’s interview on the social site Reddit gave the aggregator the biggest traffic spike in its history. not by software. including some donations that were generated by high-dollar fundraisers but logged through the website. up from 3. This success runs counter to the conventional wisdom. and the campaign’s digital team. according to the senior adviser who spoke with TIME: –The number of likes on Facebook pages for the campaign. however.1 million RSVPs for those events. the adviser said. Here are some other digital milestones that the 2012 campaign has been celebrating. Partly as a result. 4. up from $403 million in 2008. There were 1.4 million individuals gave to the Obama re-election bid. the 2012 campaign raised $504 million. traffic on the system was so high on Election Day that logs of voter activity were taken offline to free up server space. instead of decreasing as it did in 2008.That number includes all contributions that were given electronically. when there was significant voter excitement and anxiety generated by the presidential debates. September 2012. including Messina. is not known. When counting only fundraising that was initially generated by digital efforts. digital fundraising increased on a month-over-month basis. with specific requests for everything from voting early to watching a specific persuasion video.000 offline events over the course of the campaign. which was tweeted and shared over Facebook on Election Night. an image of President Obama embracing his wife. which held that Obama’s re-election campaign would struggle mightily to approach the enormous grassroots enthusiasm of his first presidential run. ARS Technica: Built to win: Deep inside Obama's campaign tech http://arstechnica. more than 600. It is also a testament to the campaign’s leadership. The total number of donors to the campaign also increased in 2012. software may have given the Obama for America organization's people a tiny edge—making them by some measures more efficient. run by Teddy Goff. better connected. In the final weeks of the campaign.000 supporters shared items with an estimated 5 million individual targets through this system. It may also suggest that American voters over the last four years have become more comfortable with the idea of giving small amounts of money to a presidential campaign online. Much of that digital campaign cash came in the final months of the campaign. The exact number of people reached. Dashboard. –More than 1 million people downloaded the campaign’s Facebook App. including everyone from the President to Michelle Obama to Joe Biden. who invested heavily in digital efforts early. But in a contest as close as last week's election. The number of Twitter followers increased from 7 million to 23 million. who were able to fine-tune their tactics and techniques for raising money electronically. Marie Ewald and Blue State Digital’s Joe Rospars.

" said Obama for America's Chief Technology Officer Harper Reed." he added. At its peak. Project Houdini—a get-out-the-vote system that was supposed to revolutionize the Election Day ground game. a tool developed to "microtarget" voters based on sentiments within text. And there's Dashboard. deploy. senior engineer for Obama for America (and an Ars Technica alum). #madops But the tech had not always worked so well. relying on vendors and field volunteers to pull much of the weight. making it possible to quickly develop new applications and to integrate existing ones into the campaign's system. They communicated over Google groups or simple e-mail lists. the 2008 Obama campaign lacked an internal IT team. and cloud computing power. But it was clear that the system hadn't been ready for the wave of data it was supposed to handle. 180TB and 8.000 nodes." said Clint Ecker. the "virtual field office" application that helped volunteers communicate and collaborate." "Reed wanted to wire the campaign with its own application programming interface. To pull it off. coming out of the primaries with only a short amount of time in which to pull together a national campaign. Harper Reed. "One of the biggest problems in the last campaign was that you had all these people who are out in the field who are volunteering who start building their own versions of these rogue tools to do the same thing over and over again. because for a period of time we were buying up most of the available smaller Elastic Compute Cloud instance types in the East data center.That edge was provided by the work of a group of people unique in the history of presidential politics: Team Tech. 2. 3 datacenters. Web services. the Obama team built Narwhal—a set of services that acted as an interface to a single shared data store for all of the campaign's applications. The result was the sort of numbers any startup would consider a success. 10k requests per second. the watchers were supposed to dial in the code to Houdini's automated hotline. Those apps include sophisticated analytics programs like Dreamcatcher. leveraging a combination of open source software. and the campaign had to fail over either to texting or to calling the codes back into local field offices. Four years ago. the Obama camp was in much the same position as Romney found himself in 2012. "We actually had to start using beefier servers. As Scott VanDenPlas. the Obama team relied almost exclusively on Amazon's cloud computing services for computing and storage power. we're going to need a bigger boat. . the IT infrastructure for the Obama campaign took up "a significant amount of resources in AWS's Northern Virginia data center. "It was. Design. where the data was re-entered into a webpage manually. Every field office assembled its own patchwork of tools using spreadsheets or a hacked Web application to track operations. 'Oh my God. "It made it hard to keep everyone on the same page. Houdini's database stayed up. and it still played a role in the Obama campaign's efforts on Election Day 2008. when poll watchers recorded the voters arriving. But the load on the hotline brought it down. put it in a tweet: 4Gb/s. Then there was the much-vaunted secret weapon." So they began to build one.5 billion requests. "2008 was the 'Jaws' moment. dismantle in 583 days to elect the President. the head of the Obama technology team's DevOps group." Atop Amazon's services. Despite having some people with tech expertise." said Ecker. Each voter in each swing-state voting precinct was assigned a numeric code. a dedicated internal team of technology professionals who operated like an Internet startup.

" The resulting platform gave Obama for America tools that helped "force-multiply" volunteers." Reed added." But to build Reed's "bigger boat" meant adopting a startup-like strategy in more ways than just architecture. and other digital media presence). the choices Reed made were informed by the 2008 campaign—but also by the mentality of Internet startups. Reed wanted to wire the campaign with its own application programming interface (API)." Reed said."Being able to decouple all the apps from each other [by using Narwhal] has such power. and it had to integrate with the systems of vendors (such as Blue State Digital and NGP VAN). When Reed was brought onboard by Obama campaign Chief Integration and Innovation Officer Michael Slaby in June 2011. It needed flexibility. "I looked at a lot of architectures. It needed to handle the needs of volunteers in the field and in the campaign's "Team Digital" (responsible for the campaign's Web presence. social. and it really saved us a lot of time. and having watched what Amazon and other large organizations had done—and how powerful these API platforms have become—it was obvious that the best path forward was to follow services oriented architecture (SOA) principles and build a services architecture that allowed for all of our apps to connect together and share one common data store. Twitter. he looked to the cloud to make it scale. "You're looking for engineers who understand APIs—engineers that spend a lot of time on the Internet building platforms. "When you put down the constraints you have." . we knew we weren't going to have everything we wanted. In other words. When you talk about SOA." They did have the incumbent's advantage." Reed said. a dedicated staff of engineers willing to work long hours for a rapid ramp-up to the ultimate payout: reelecting the president. Facebook. told Ars. they're not just going to laugh at you and say you're talking about Java. allowing developers with any level of experience who joined the campaign to work in and be productive with whatever language they preferred. "We needed to architect [the campaign's IT infrastructure] in such a way that it actually worked. though: time to prepare. "All these guys have had experience working in startups and experience in scaling apps from nothing to huge in really tight situations like we were in the campaign. He needed to build a team within the Obama campaign that behaved like an Internet startup. The architecture Reed envisioned had to scale up rapidly. The team Reed went out and recruited people who already knew the territory. like many Internet startups. while also feeding the "big data" machine of Team Data (the campaign's analytics department). it's pretty easy to figure out who you're hiring." Ecker said. "I don't think we would have been able to [build Narwhal] if we had to deal with the primaries. And. "Coming out of [previous employer] Threadless. "We knew we were going to go big." Reed said. And we also knew we were going to be resource-constrained—whether it was money or people. "It allowed us to scale each app individually and to share a lot of data between the apps." Harper Reed. snapping up both local talent (such as Ecker) and people from out of town with Internet bona fides—veterans from companies like Google. giving them organizational and communication tools that made the Obama "ground game" even more effective. and TripIt. the chief technology officer for the Obama campaign.

Rather than focusing on creating something significantly new, Reed said, the team focused on taking what they already knew worked and fitting the pieces together. "We aggressively stood on the shoulders of giants like Amazon, and used technology that was built by other people," he said. "We had a pretty good culture of using not-invented-here technologies. And we weren't scared about it." In some cases, he added, it was just the opposite—if something came up as a solution and had never been used at that scale by someone else, it was "super scary" and usually avoided. The Democrats were going to play it conservative. The "glamour" of working in a campaign's office. The first recruits started rolling in soon after Reed joined, giving the team 583 days to do their work. "It really became apparent that there needed to be a centralized place for all this data to flow into from all our vendors and for the new applications," Ecker said. "We needed a standard RESTful API that any project could talk to using any programming language and any Web framework, whatever people are most comfortable in so that they can hit the ground running." “We aggressively stood on the shoulders of giants and used technology that was built by other people." That meant Narwhal. Written in Python, the API side of Narwhal exposes data elements through standard HTTP requests. While it was designed to work on top of any data store, the Obama tech team relied on Amazon's MySQL-based Relational Database Service (RDS). The "snapshot" capability of RDS allowed images of databases to be dumped into Simple Storage Service (S3) instances without having to run backups. Even with the rapidly growing sets of shared data, the Obama tech team was able to stick with RDS for the entire campaign—though it required some finesse. "We definitely bumped up against some limitations with RDS but they were largely self-inflicted," Ecker said. "We were able to work around those and stretch how far we were able to take RDS. If the campaign had been longer, we would have definitely had to migrate to big EC2 boxes with MySQL on them instead." Not having to switch off RDS meant that the Obama campaign saved "a shitload of money" on hiring additional database administrators, Ecker added. Ecker says the team also tested Amazon's DynamoDB "NoSQL" database when it was introduced. While it didn't replace the SQL-based RDS service as Narwhal's data store, it was pressed into service for some of the other parts of the campaign's infrastructure. In particular, it was used in conjunction with the campaign's social networking "get-out-the-vote" efforts. The integration element of Narwhal was built largely using programs that run off Amazon's Simple Queue Service (SQS). It pulled in streams of data from NGP VAN's and Blue State Digital's applications, polling data providers, and many more, and handed them off to worker applications—which in turn stuffed the data into SQS queues for processing and conversion from the vendors' APIs. Another element of Narwhal that used SQS was its e-mail infrastructure for applications, using worker applications to process e-mails, storing them in S3 to pass them in bulk from one stage of handling to another. Initially, Narwhal development was shared across all the engineers. As the team grew near the beginning of 2012, however, Narwhal development was broken into two groups—an API team that developed the interfaces required for the applications being developed in-house by the campaign, and an integration team that handled connecting the data streams from vendors' applications.

The apps As the team supporting Narwhal grew, the pace of application development accelerated as well, with more applications being put in the hands of the field force. Perhaps the most visible of those applications to the people on the front lines were Dashboard and Call Tool. Written in Rails, Dashboard was launched in early 2012. "It's a little unconventional in that it never talks to a database directly—just to Narwhal through the API," Ecker said. "We set out to build this online field office so that it would let people organize into groups and teams in local neighborhoods, and have message boards and join constituency groups." An Obama campaign video demonstrating how to use Dashboard. Enlarge / The Dashboard Web application, still live, helped automate the recruitment and outreach to wouldbe Obama campaign volunteers. Dashboard didn't replace real-world field offices; rather, it was designed to overcome the problems posed by the absence of a common tool set in the 2008 election, making it easier for volunteers to be recruited and connected with people in their area. It also handled some of the metrics of running a field organization by tracking activities such as canvassing, voter registration, and phone calls to voters. The Obama campaign couldn't mandate Dashboard's use. But the developer team evolved the program as it developed relationships with people in the field, and Dashboard use started to pick up steam. Part of what drove adoption of Dashboard was its heavy social networking element, which made it a sort of Facebook for Obama supporters. Enlarge / Call Tool offered supporters a way to join in on specific affinity-group calling programs. Call Tool was the Obama campaign's tool to drive its get-out-the-vote (GOTV) and other voter contact efforts. It allowed volunteers anywhere to join a call campaign, presenting a random person's phone number and a script with prompts to follow. Call Tool also allowed for users to enter notes about calls that could be processed by "collaborative filtering" on the back end—identifying if a number was bad, or if the person at that number spoke only Spanish, for instance—to ensure that future calls were handled properly. Both Call Tool and Dashboard—as well as nearly all of the other volunteer-facing applications coded by the Obama campaign's IT team—integrated with another application called Identity. Identity was a single-sign-on application that tracked volunteer activity across various activities and allowed for all sorts of campaign metrics, such as tracking the number of calls made with Call Tool and displaying them in Dashboard as part of group "leaderboards." The leaderboards were developed to "gamify" activities like calling, allowing for what Ecker called "friendly competition" within groups or regions. All of the data collected through various volunteer interactions and other outreach found its way into Narwhal's data store, where it could be mined for other purposes. Much of the data was streamed into Dreamcatcher and into a Vertica columnar database cluster used by the analytics team for deep dives into the data. DevOps on the campaign trail A great deal of the Obama IT team's efforts were focused on redundancy—in terms of how Narwhal and the apps that used it were deployed, how the various instances of Amazon services that supported them were provisioned, and even in the development of additional code. For example, the engineering team developed its own credit card payment API to help handle donations.

"In the past, we relied wholly on vendors to take payments," Ecker said. "But this time around, we had engineering bandwidth to build backup payment bridges so that we could load balance between vendors' payment processor endpoints and ours." While the infrastructure for Narwhal and the other applications resided primarily in Amazon's Northern Virginia data center, the Obama DevOps team kept systems deployed across at least two availability zones. And when Hurricane Sandy threatened, the team prepared a contingency plan—about 500 of the campaign's EC2 instances were replicated and waiting to go live in Amazon's West Coast data center. "We really took no chances, and we basically replicated our entire infrastructure over to the West Coast data center over the course of a couple of days," Ecker said. Other than the threat of Sandy, most of the scaling needs for the infrastructure were fairly predictable— events like the debates and mass e-mails to supporters drove spikes in contributions and were handled without much fuss. Some of the many groups that the tech team enabled. Voting begins The Narwhal API could have easily been used to drive computerized "robocalls" to voters, but the philosophy of applications like Dashboard and Call Tool was that "you can't just make a difference through tech alone," Ecker said. "You can't just send e-mails and make robocalls and do stuff on Facebook—the real persuasion is going to happen when a real person is talking to a real person." And with the tools provided through Dashboard, real people could be just as effective as any robot at reaching thousands of real voters. During the final days of the campaign, Call Tool made it possible for volunteers outside of swing states to help volunteers in those states by placing calls to voters, augmenting their get-out-the-vote efforts. The tool was so effective, Ecker says, that "in some cases we ran out of people to call. We had so many volunteers using it, in some states we just called everybody." As early voting began and Election Day grew close, Narwhal demonstrated its flexibility further as more tools started pushing data into it. In addition to NGP VAN's get-out-the-vote tool—an updated, smartphone friendly system analogous to Houdini and the Romney campaign's Orca in its function but based instead on social media inputs—the Obama campaign deployed a "voter incident tracker tool" based on an open-source PHP framework called Ushahidi. Originally developed for tracking humanitarian incidents, Ushahidi was the basis for an app used by pollwatcher volunteers to submit geo-tagged reports of potential problems, such as illegal electioneering or ballots being handled improperly. As reports came in, they were shown on a map in the Obama campaign's "boiler room," and the data was pushed to another application—a lawyer-assignment app—to dispatch volunteer lawyers if required to handle the situation or to gather resources for a possible court challenge. While the data collected ended up not mattering on a national level, Ecker said that it was being passed to statewide and other campaigns where it might have an impact. Adjustments to the apps were made right up until the end. Ecker says that on Election Day, the team observed that some of the open-source applications were causing "loads on our database that were making us a little uneasy," so the engineers assigned to the apps went in and hacked out unnecessary code that was causing the problem.

Through it all, the campaign's systems suffered less than 30 minutes of downtime over the course of the campaign. By 9:00 PM on Election Night, most of the staff was already at the McCormick Center in Chicago, awaiting Obama's victory speech. Tech was not the product Reed doesn't take credit for the success of the campaign. "I truly believe that the Obama campaign could have won without us," he said. "It would have been slower and would not have been efficient as it was in making voter contact. But we were a multiplier, not the cause." Nor does Reed see anything that the group did as truly groundbreaking from a technology standpoint. "When you break it down to programming, we didn't build a data store or a faster queue," he said. "All we did was put these pieces together and arrange them in the right order to give the field organization the tools they needed to do their job. And it worked out. It didn't hurt that we had a really great candidate and the best ground game that the world has ever seen." It also helped that Reed assembled people on his team who were willing to take point. Much of the success of the teams' efforts, he said, "is because of people like Clint, [Director of Engineering] Dylan Richard, and all these people that we hired—they all know what they're doing. Being able to delegate that authority to them and say, hey guys, you've done this before, the conversation became 'here's how I did this' rather than 'how do we do this?' From there, all you're doing is fitting the puzzle pieces together." That doesn't mean that the team doesn't have reason to brag. "Looking back at all the stuff we produced, and the sophistication of the tools we produced," said Ecker, "we were able to build so much stuff that on the whole operated very well in just 20 months. If you look at a normal job, 20 months is what you spend on just one big project." But this is politics, and that means surprises are always possible. Despite all the planning, the team remains aware that it had a bit of luck on its side. "You could have the best technology team in the world, and add a bad product, and it won't work," Reed said. "Or your adoption is down, or for whatever reason it just doesn't catch on. Or a cloud provider goes away for a weekend, or you have what happened in 2008 when a guy hit a utility pole with a van and all of Rackspace went down in Dallas-Fort Worth. You never know." Washington Post: Obama Campaign Took Unorthodox Approach To Ad Buying http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-influence-industry-obama-campaign-took-unorthodoxapproach-to-ad-buying/2012/11/14/c3477e8c-2e87-11e2-beb2-4b4cf5087636_story.html By T.W. Farnam November 14, 2012 When President Obama’s campaign strategists tried to squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of their $300 million television advertising budget, they chose to do something un-or-tho-dox: They stopped worrying about which shows featured their commercials. Most campaigns buy airtime based on television ratings for different demographic groups, selecting the shows they think likely voters will watch. In their attempts to find new efficiency, Obama aides threw that conventional wisdom out the window — instead choosing airtime only by the time of day and the channel. The result was a system they called “the optimizer” that took into account information gathered from doorknockers and phone canvassers when they picked whether to advertise on, say, ESPN or TV Land.

“The optimizer doesn’t take into account the program at all,” said Carol Davidsen, who designed the system as the campaign’s director of media analytics. “But there’s a sanity check at the end to make sure that you’re not advertising on ‘Girls Gone Wild.’ ” Advertising prices are set by the size of the audience. The most expensive advertising is during prime-time network shows with massive numbers of viewers. Those reach lots of targeted voters, but they’ll also waste money on people who have made up their minds. By finding the right programming, the campaign stitched together a big audience of targeted voters with less waste. The team bought detailed data on TV viewing by millions of cable subscribers, showing which channels they were watching, sometimes on a second-by-second basis. The information — which is collected from set-top cable boxes and sold by a company called Rentrak — doesn’t show who was watching, but the campaign used a third-party company to match viewing data to its own internal list of voters and poll responses. Davidsen said the campaign sought to reach two broad categories of voters: people who were still on the fence and Obama supporters who were sporadic voters. The team’s calculations showed that it would get the most bang for its buck in some strange places: the Family Channel, the Food Network and the Hallmark Channel, among others. On broadcast TV, the campaign went for more daytime programs and late-night entertainment shows than Republican nominee Mitt Romney did. The Obama team was on 60 channels during one week near the end of the campaign, compared with 18 for the Romney operation during the same period, according to cable advertising data. Overall, the Obama campaign ran a more sophisticated targeting operation, said Tim Kay, political sales director for NCC Media, a consortium of cable operators. “With Romney, they went after pure tonnage,” Kay said. “With Obama, you see them capturing those niche audiences. They bought a lot of networks that we would consider second or third tier.” Obama’s campaign also would target cable operators serving small towns, while Romney tended to focus on media markets spanning several counties. “I would agree they have done something new and interesting,” said Will Feltus, a Republican media buyer who worked for George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004. “They didn’t invent the wheel, but they put some better ball bearings on it, that’s for sure.” Part of the reason for Obama’s success in pushing the envelope was that he was flush with resources from the start and didn’t face a primary challenger. The campaign decided to try the new approach more than a year ago, when Romney was battling Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the GOP primary. Nor was it cheap. The campaign paid at least $359,000 for Rentrak data and $70,500 to the Buckeye CableSystem, which serves part of Ohio, for data on its viewers, disclosure reports show. Using set-top boxes allowed for much more data and also higher accuracy. Nielsen Media Research ratings, which are more commonly used, are based on surveys that are still done with a written diary in some markets. Overall, Obama officials estimate they were able to get about 10 percent to 20 percent more efficient use of their money using the optimizer by piecing together small audiences.

“In the past we might have said, ‘Gee, there’s not enough people watching there — it’s not worth the money,’” said Jim Margolis, one of Obama’s top media consultants. “There’s a certain group that we want to speak to and you can reach them lots of different ways.” Los Angeles Times: Obama Campaign's Investment In Data Crunching Paid Off http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-analytics-20121113,0,846342.story By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey November 13, 2012 CHICAGO — Early on election day, in two tight, tucked-away rooms at Obama headquarters known as the Cave and the Alley, the campaign's data-crunching team awaited the nation's first results, from Dixville Notch, a New Hampshire hamlet that traditionally votes at midnight. Dixville Notch split 5-5. It did not seem an auspicious outcome for the president. But for the math geeks and data wizards who spent more than a year devising sophisticated models to predict which voters would back the president, Dixville Notch was a victory. Their model had gotten it right, predicting that about 50% of the village's voters were likely to support President Obama. Daniel Wagner, the 29-year-old chief analytics officer, erupted in joy. The model was also projecting that Obama would be reelected. And as the night wore on, swing state after swing state came in with results that were very close to the model's prediction. For the nation, last Tuesday was election day. For Wagner's crew, it's now known as Model Validation Day. "We're kind of a weird bunch of kids," he said, standing near the Cave, where one wall was covered with a large canvas of a Martian landscape. "I haven't seen the sun in a while. We worked brutally inhuman hours this cycle. Twenty-hour days, often. But they bet a lot on us being right. And it was good to be right." For years, campaigns have used reams of information to predict voter behavior, relying on a science known as analytics. But Obama's advisors elevated the practice to new heights, very likely changing the way presidential campaigns will be conducted in the future. No other presidential campaign has so completely embraced this science. The campaign hired a team that topped out at 54 people and invested undisclosed millions in the effort. Analytics helped the campaign efficiently recruit volunteers, buy ads, tailor emails and mailers, raise money, dispatch surrogates — and, most importantly, scour the swing states for hard-to-find voters most likely to support the president. Political guru David Plouffe and campaign manager Jim Messina made key decisions based on real-time reports from the geek squad, according to many people on the campaign's staff. "Our entire goal is to make the maximum use of our time and our volunteers' time. And that means using analytics across the campaign spectrum," Messina said after the election. "We invested unprecedented resources to do this because our entire theory was to get as micro-targeted — to get as close to the ground — as we could."

Another campaign official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak for the campaign, put it this way: "It's about turning over control to some nerds. And more than any other year, campaign leadership really took that leap of faith."

For campaign professionals, that is a major leap. Politics long has been ruled by truisms, conventional wisdom and intuition, with millions spent based on a murky mix of polling and focus groups. The shift to data-driven decision-making has been gradual and steady — becoming increasingly sophisticated as political parties amass more information about individual voters through traditional means, such as polls, and new ones, such as data mining. The Obama campaign has made the transition over two elections. In this one, it employed analytics in a far more systematic and thorough way, officials said. But the work was a closely guarded secret. Officials denied requests for interviews with the analytics experts, and when journalists visited Obama headquarters, the team was ordered to shut the Cave door. Victory opened that door — a crack. At its most basic, Messina, Wagner and others explained, the goal was to rank individual voters in the swing states based on their likelihood of voting for the president or of being persuaded to vote for him, to volunteer for his campaign and to vote early. The Obama campaign developed separate models for each. To build the "support model," the campaign in 2011 made thousands of calls to voters — 5,000 to 10,000 in individual states, tens of thousands nationwide — to find out whether they backed the president. Then it analyzed what those voters had in common. More than 80 different pieces of information were factored in — including age, gender, voting history, home ownership and magazine subscriptions. Gigaom: How Obama’s tech team helped deliver the 2012 election http://gigaom.com/cloud/how-obamas-tech-team-helped-deliver-the-2012-election/ Derrick Harris November 12, 2012 When it comes to presidential elections, it helps to know your way around some disruptive technologies. The team of technologists that helped re-elect Barack Obama – led by Obama for America CTO Harper Reed and comprised largely of other political novices and accomplished hackers — certainly had that going for them. However, when the prize is the highest office in the land — and possibly the fate of the free world — it also helps to know your role. A presidential campaign is not a tech startup; it has to innovate on tight deadlines and in an environment where failure really is not an option. So although it had to move fast, for example, Reed’s team couldn’t afford to re-invent the wheel because it could maybe shave 5 milliseconds off of page-load time for a web page. Or, as Reed put it a phone call with me on Monday morning: “Our goal *was+ to be the force multiplier, not to be a technology experiment.” It was there to make sure the president’s foot soldiers — the folks who really do affect the results — could execute their ground-game without having to worry about technology failing them. Reed’s team just had to take the tools at its disposal and use them to their fullest extent so that old-world and potentially timeconsuming techniques such as calling phones and knocking on doors were done as efficiently as possible. For example, Reed explained, his team didn’t invent the tool for making and handling phone calls, but it gave that tool legs. “We made it so it could stand up and take all the calls,” he said. “Innovation was scale. Innovation was not falling down.” Here’s how Reed and company fulfilled their duty.

Reed (center rear) and team on election day. It made the cloud work for it … Reed said the the vast majority of the campaign’s infrastructure was hosted on Amazon Web Services, with only the analytics platform and some “nominal” other pieces residing on physical gear. This was a fairly big change from 2008, when Obama for America was running only a few minor tasks in the cloud. A reliable cloud service is a game-changer, he said, because smart campaigns no longer have to worry about buying servers, engaging contractors or negotiating software licenses. AWS, he said, was particularly helpful because of all the services it offers. In order to ensure visitors to President Obama’s website had the same experience wherever they were located, the team decided to “light up boxes all over *the country+” and use the CloudFront content-delivery network feature to route data from the closest virtual server. When it wanted a key-value store, it went to DynamoDB. As for that phone-call tool and the millions of calls it has to support, Auto-Scaling, a method for adding additional resources in mere minutes, saved the day. “We used the hell out of it,” Reed said. When volume was higher than expected, he added, “we could just turn that to 11.” … even when the cloud crashed But relying so heavily on the cloud wasn’t always easy, because the cloud isn’t always reliable. Amazon’s cloud went down a few times between June 2012 and election day — including as late as Oct. 22 — and brought a lot of web properties down with it. “Both times we survived,” Reed said, “but it was hard.” Obama for America stayed online because it embraced devops (the tight alignment between application development, engineering and operations that cloud computing enables) and the smart architectural strategies employed by cloud computing pioneers such as Netflix. (Paraphrasing a discussion thread from popular programming site Hacker News, Reed joked that if a developer can still use Netflix while AWS is down, then the developer screwed up. If Netflix is down, then AWS is really down.) That means spending a little more money to replicate databases and applications across geographic regions and generally being smarter about where the various application components run and how they’re connected to each other. AWS gives you tools to do amazing things, he explained, “but you’re responsible for screwing it up.” At the beginning, he added, everything might be chill and people are working on how to creatively architect a reliable cloud application, but eventually “you start valuing uptime over experimentation.” At that point, you just have to accept the gravity of your mission and say “we’re going all in.” Reed thinks keeping applications up in the cloud will get easier thanks to some of the innovative companies and technologies working in that space. He pointed to cloud-management company RightScale, the Tungsten Replicator engine for MySQL and the general platform-as-a-service space as things he thinks are really cool but weren’t quite ready for primetime in 2012 — at least for something as deadline- and mission-critical as a presidential campaign. It understood how the web works Aside the from finer points of cloud computing infrastructure, Reed said Obama’s tech team also really understood how the web has evolved since 2008. Take, for example, the advent of Twitter and Facebook as forces to be reckoned with in terms of voter engagement. Then-candidate Obama got a lot of attention for his 5 millionish social media connections, but President Obama now has roughly 10 times that many across Facebook and Twitter. That’s a lot of people from which to spark a network effect, and a lot of data to analyze.

“Being able to work at that scale is amazing,” Reed said. And it’s not the just the president’s follower counts that have grown — social media platforms have evolved significantly and people are far more familiar with how they work. Facebook Pages, for example, were created after 2008 in part because having profile pages for candidates and companies didn’t work out too well, and Facebook Connect didn’t exist either. Twitter has also grown into a widely popular platform, while MySpace is all but gone. Reed said it was critical that team Obama take the platforms built in the four years between elections and use them the way they are being used today. Or take the details of how people access those sites to begin with. The president’s technology team knew (no doubt thanks in part to its analytics team that has received so much attention post-election for its data mining efforts) that voters in urban areas where Obama was counting on high voter turnout were more likely to use a mobile phone rather than a laptop as their primary means of internet access. They’re also more likely to use Android devices than iOS devices, as are many potential swing voters who generally don’t care too much about technology. So, Reed said, the team designed apps to run on multiple operating systems and used responsive design to ensure apps ran well on whatever devices voters were using. It disrupted with data Reed’s team worked closely with that vaunted analytics team, he said, and what the Obama for America team really did better than Mitt Romney’s team was disrupt the status quo with regard to how it used data. He’s not too keen on jumping on the bandwagon calling out the failings of Romney’s Project Orca (“I never would wish technology failing on any sort of opponent or enemy,” Reed said) but he will acknowledge that the analytics team Obama had been putting together for more than a year leading into the election was a major differnentiator. He compares the advanced modeling and analytic techniques of his comrades and guys like Nate Silver to MP3s, thus making traditional pollsters and political “experts” akin to the music industry. They both had been going about their business for decades without competition, and they both reacted violently when their worlds were disrupted. However, these are smart people, and Reed expects they’ll come around in the next election cycles. But for now, he said, “That’s a hard position to be in when you’re no longer relevant.” It had a great leader In the end, though, Reed thinks the success of Obama’s campaign all boiled down to having a good leader. It wasn’t just Obama’s good fortune of running in during the era of Twitter and Amazon Web Services that let him forever change the way campaigns are run. The president is the one who set the tone about how the campaign would function and what it would focus on, Reed said, and the president put in place the campaign leaders who followed through on his vision by hiring the right people down the chain. If Reed does come back to politics, it will take another candidate with Obama’s vision and ability to generate excitement among the populace to get him back in the saddle. But for now, Reed said, “I’m definitely ready for a little break.” Tech Crunch: Premature Facebook Election Hype, A Response to The Atlantic http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/11/pre-mature-facebook-election-hype-a-response-to-theatlantic/ Gregory Ferenstein November 11, 2012

If social media mattered in elections, Ron Paul would have likely been the Republican presidential candidate, not Mitt Romney. Despite being the conversational hub of the election, Facebook is neither the place where politically influential demographics congregate nor where undecided citizens go to think deeply about issues. Our friends at The Atlantic ran a fascinating and well-researched piece about whether Facebook gave Democrats an advantage on Election Day, especially given their pull with young voters. Unfortunately, the article overestimates how political consequential young voters are, “If no one under the age of 30 had voted, Obama would have won every state he carried with the exception of two: Indiana and North Carolina,” wrote Chuck Todd and Sheldon Gawiser in How Barack Obama Won (in 2008). The centerpiece of author Rebecca Rosen’s argument is a recent large-scale, randomized study, which proved that users who broadcast their intention to vote on Election Day can boost turnout among their friends. The study found that Facebook has an extraordinarily powerful effect on the spread of messages, essentially quadrupling the influence as friends share it throughout an ever expanding network. “Facebook’s effect — however big it is — is at the margins, and in a country where elections are so close, the margins can matter a lot,” surmises Rosen. Unfortunately, the total impact on turnout is only about 2 percent –a significant figure for a message, but not nearly enough to sway an election. In response to questions about how the message impacted users, The study’s author, Dr. James Fowler, tells me over email, “older people were more influenced by the treatment in 2010, but there is no evidence that ideology played a role or that one party was more favored than another.” Additionally, he says, “one thing you might point out is that there was only a 1% increase in voter turnout among the young.” Indeed, as I’ve argued before, the power of young voters is a myth. They comprise about 18 percent of the voting electorate (19 percent this year, if reports of slightly higher turnout are to be believed). Moreover, the once Obama-enchanted demographic of 20-somethings lost faith in the harbinger of hope, and his overall support among young voters dropped around 6 percent (probably from 66 percent to 60 percent). In a state like Ohio, young voters may have made a difference (by about 12,000 votes), but not enough for Facebook to be the pivotal factor. Facebook only influences a fraction for any particular group — not enough to make up for Obama’s thumping of Romney. The social media election myth may persist because it’s reasonable to believe that, given the sheer volume of activity on Facebook, ‘it has to have an effect, right?!‘. One explanation for the Grand Canyon-size discrepancy between action and online discussion is that the growth in social media has paralleled a new behavioral trend in young voters: the rise of non-voting civically engaged citizens. University of California, Irvine Professor Russell Dalton argues that this demographic finds more meaning in making political videos, attending an Occupy Wall Street camp, or boycotting companies with Republican ties than performing traditional acts of civic duty, such as voting or jury duty. In fairness to non-voters, a single vote isn’t a terribly influential way to change government; so it’s reasonable that a generation of makers wants something more. Facebook has empowered countless new ways to engage with democracy, but young people have ceded their power in elections in the process. Now, in fairness to The Atlantic, it is reasonable to suspect that the Internet does not have the exact same impact on both parties. I’ve argued before that the Internet inherently advantages liberals because, on average, their greater psychological embrace of disruption leads to more innovation (after all, nearly every major digital breakthrough, from online fundraising to the use of big data, was pioneered by Democrats).

But, for now, don’t get swept up in the social media hype. There are too many 20-somethings on Facebook and Twitter for social media to make much of a difference. *A previous version of this article caused some confusion by rounding numbers and not explicitly incorporating the magnitude of Facebook in Ohio. If Obama won by 103,519 votes in Ohio, then the 2.2% effect by Facebook would not likely have swung the vote for Obama, especially since the Facebook effect is not partisan and slightly skewed towards older voters. Though, the margins are close and I’ll write a follow up once we have all the numbers and an update from Facebook on its effect for 2012. All Facebook: Did Facebook engagement translate to wins in key congressional races http://allfacebook.com/did-facebook-engagement-translate-to-wins-in-key-congressional-races_b104168 Jennifer Moire November 9, 2012 The 2012 election postmortems continue, and research published in Capitol Hill newspaper Politico indicates that congressional candidates with the social media mettle to engage their Facebook fan bases got muchneeded bumps on Election Day. While candidates experimented with niche platforms like Pinterest and Spotify, Twitter and Facebook were the dominant platforms in election 2012. Facebook was called by one strategist the “800-pound gorilla” of this cycle. We heard about the importance of engagement from Republicans and Democrats, alike. With the votes counted, Democratic strategists Matthew MacWilliams and Edward Erikson put some data behind the hypothesis. The pair explored the relationship between fan base and fan engagement in 33 of the most competitive races for the U.S. House of Representatives and all 33 U.S. Senate races over a three-month period. Senate Races According to their data, eight out of nine Senate races considered to be tossups this year were won by the candidates with the more engaged Facebook fan bases. In North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nevada, those candidates won when the major party candidates had comparable fan page numbers. Campaigns in Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Indiana were also won by those candidates with the most engaged Facebook fan bases, even though their bases were smaller than those of their opponents. All but the Nevada race were won by Democrats. The report examines in detail the Massachusetts Senate race between winner and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren and incumbent Scott Brown. According to the study, 32 percent of Warren’s social network – more than 100,000 fans — were liking, commenting, and sharing news about her campaign on Facebook on Election Day, while Brown engaged about 12 percent, or some 45,000 people. How did she do it? On Election Day, Warren posted on Facebook nine times, sharing everything from images to text, videos, and links. Get-out-the-vote information was popular, as well as photos that were just plain cute or personal — like the image of Brown and her husband voting. The authors said Warren’s posts were more inspirational and appealed to voters core values and emotions, while Brown’s posts were more transactional and less engaging, despite both sharing similar messages that urged voters to vote. House Races

assigned randomly.S. surprise. There was a link where you could find your polling place.theatlantic. 2012 You didn't know it at the time. where an engagement focus didn’t seem to help Mitt Romney‘s campaign. which also appeared in your News Feed. and phone banks — with social is still needed. A total of 20 of the 33 most competitive House races across the country Tuesday were won by candidates with measurable Facebook fan engagement advantages. The Atlantic: Did Facebook give democrats the upper hand? http://www.S. And in 11 of the 15 competitive House races where incumbents lost Tuesday. and newcomer Ted Cruz. Romney beat President Barack Obama in engagement. the candidates with engagement advantages won." and pictures of the faces of friends who had already declared they had voted. it was Election Day. Rosen November 8. you were in good company: 94 percent of 18-and-older U. and you may have voted. who became the first Hispanic voted to the U. Clearly. clicked around Facebook. But here's the catch: six percent of people didn't get the intervention. Moffatt says his team focused on metrics like “talking about. An effective outreach strategy for campaigns needs to include a social component that looks beyond raw fan numbers to how those fans are touched and with what kind of information. asking one of the core questions of democracy: What makes people vote? If patterns from earlier research hold true. Presumably it was even more on Tuesday. Romney’s digital strategist. of course. It is. although some say that was because the former governor had fewer likes. canvassing." Assuming you are over the age of 18 and were using a computer in the United States. he continued. Two percent saw nothing -. But a focus on Facebook engagement is worth the investment.” At key points in the race. Just ask Jim Matheson.no message.Senate candidates weren’t the only ones to benefit from Facebook. no news stories. Conclusion The piece doesn’t go so far as to say that engagement numbers directly resulted in wins.* Though it's not yet known how many people that is. Now your behavior is data that social scientists will scrutinize in the months ahead. the experiment's designer James Fowler says that it is "absolutely plausible that Facebook drove a lot of the increase" in young-voter participation (thought to be up one percentage point from 2008 as a share of the electorate). who won his Utah House race. you became a subject in a mass social experiment. but when you logged into Facebook on Election Day. President Barack Obama consistently bested Romney in fan page likes though Romney had a respectable following. the number was *60 million*. a button that said either "I'm voting" or I'm a voter. "even possible that Facebook is completely responsible. That would be a stretch. Zac Moffatt. rather than looking at raw fan numbers. since most strategists say that a mix of traditional campaign tactics — TV/radio advertising. according to MacWilliams and Erikson. You went about your day. other factors are at play. If you saw something like that. That was evident in the presidential race. Romney running mate Paul Ryan had a very strong Facebook base — far stronger than that of Vice President Joe Biden.com/technology/archive/2012/11/did-facebook-give-democrats-the-upperhand/264937/# Rebecca J. In six out of nine House open seat races. Another two percent saw the message but no stories of friends' voting . as Facebook has grown substantially in the past two years. Senate from Texas. no button. Facebook users got that treatment. you probably saw at the top of your Facebook page advising you that. the challengers enjoyed engagement advantages over the incumbents. in a similar experiment performed in 2010. was an advocate for engagement metrics.

phone calls." Fowler. "When we were trying to get published. it's not far-fetched to say that. Fowler and his colleagues announced that a Facebook message and behavior-sharing communication increased the probability that a person votes by slightly more than 2 percent.is in concert with earlier research that has shown that voting is strongly influenced by social pressure. well. a professor at UC San Diego. Eighteen-to-29-year-olds voted 60 percent for Obama.' and other reviewers who said. for Republicans. if they haven't already. that is good news for Democrats. researchers will be able to see if the messages had any effect on voting behavior when they begin matching the Facebook users to the voter rolls (whom a person voted for is private information.000 additional votes. as Facebook does. it's an uncomfortable situation when increasing voter participation is a losing strategy. compared with 37 percent for Romney. If those who got the experimental treatment voted in greater numbers. if they haven't already. In a paper published earlier this year in Nature. That may not seem like a huge effect. For Republicans. Now it must be said that of course Facebook is not trying to elect Democrats. "wants everyone to be more likely to vote.is at the margins. there is no such thing as pure a get-out-the-vote.000 voters and indirectly through social contagion by another 280. though. Although months of door knocking. Facebook wants everyone to participate in the fact of democracy. There's no way this can be true. Romney won.000 voters. But there are long-term trends underfoot that." Fowler said to me.however big it is -.behavior populated their feeds. "We had reviewers who said. two groups which tended to prefer Democrats on Tuesday. 30-to-44-year-olds. "Our results suggest. and it seems that it does. The next-older age group. as is expected. but when you have a huge population. and Facebook is no exception. there are reasons to believe that improved voter turnout in general helps Democrats. and other traditional campaign tactics surely bring more people to the polls. Outside of Facebook's demographic particularities. Among Americans older than 45. In a country where elections can turn on just a couple hundred votes. "Facebook. and a final two percent saw only the social content but no message at the top. gave Obama 52 percent of their support. "that the Facebook social message increased turnout directly by about 60. 'These results are so small that they're meaningless. Fowler and his team will be able to have a pretty good sense of just how many votes in the 2012 election came directly as a result of Facebook. the margins can matter a lot. though there is a debate about this within political science. one whose tide raises all votes.remarkable and novel as it may be -.' " In a country where elections can turn on just a couple hundred votes. for a total of 340. Nothing seems to come even close to a Facebook message's efficacy in increasing voter turnout. and the results were significant. Facebook has an admirable civic virtue and has long tried to increase democratic participation in a strictly nonpartisan way. The implication is clear: If Facebook provides a cheap and effective way to get more people to the polls. such as in this 2008 study which found that people were significantly more likely to vote if they received mailings promising to later report neighborhood-wide who had voted and who had stayed at home. Facebook's efforts to improve voter participation could swing an election. told me. By splitting up the population into these experimental and control groups. mean their . down the road." the team wrote. and in a country where elections are so close. In practice. Facebook's effect -. a small uptick in probability means substantial changes in voting behavior." This finding -. but whether they voted is public). it's not far-fetched to say that Facebook's efforts to improve voter participation could swing an election. 'These results are implausibly large. They've done a very similar experiment before." But that doesn't mean the effects of Facebook's efforts are not lopsided. those measures are expensive and labor-intensive. It skews toward both women and younger voters.

typically lower income. as young people come out to the polls in greater numbers. This year was the third presidential election in a row where young-voter participation hovered around 50 percent (meaning that half of eligible young people actually voted). that national politics alone may entice more people to the polls. "In the 1990s the conventional wisdom was that young people don't vote. (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Andrew Cohen have both written about this backlash here at The Atlantic. that minority groups who felt targeted really responded by organizing themselves and making sure people voted. and not into politics. "In terms of good news for the Democrats.not only in the general election but especially in the primaries. Peter Levine of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University told me. but Obama won on the strength of young votes in '08 -.) Even with these recent improvements." Levine said.. and are more easily reached online. "This seems to be a significant generational change. "The voter-suppression thing did make people more aware. Additionally. "Our university newspaper had a front-page story about what are your rights." he said. it's much easier to find where your polling place is. and just delete the young people. is not a random sample of the population -. lower education levels. she said. The reasons for this generational change are complex and not totally understood. as political scientists term it. "costly. and just delete the young people -. Without Iowa. if you plan to vote in local races. With social media becoming an increasingly important part of political communications. All of this adds up to a shifting electoral environment. "It had already begun to change. Constance Flanagan of the University of Wisconsin argues.not to discriminate but because they were trying to be efficient. spend time getting up-to-speed on complicated municipal politics. those who are not voting. voting is." For years it was thought that one reason young people voted in such low numbers is because they are so mobile: If you don't live in a place for years." But that ended with what Levine calls the "50/50 nation situation" -. because there's some serendipity where your old high school friend gets into politics and draws you in. And our online media environment privileges national politics over local politics so much. do you have to produce an ID. find your polling place. but does it happen at a large scale? I don't think we know. that sort of shift is not the result of a Facebook message. campaigns and activists should ask whether there's any way to use social media to get to them. Those . "So they would literally look through a contact list of potential voters to reach out to. It was a conversation topic among young people and something they passed on to one another." You have to reregister every time you move. and." she said. Levine reminds us to bear in mind that we're still only at 50 percent. and this is up from a low of just 37 percent in 1996." "In the 1990s the conventional wisdom was that young people don't vote." Donald Green of Columbia University told me.troubles go beyond Facebook. no President Obama. "I think we do incrementally." Levine said. Obviously." Voting once is known to be habit forming." Particularly. But this calculus of inaction may be changing: With the Internet. One certain factor is simply that recent campaigns have tried harder to reach out to young people." he said. is in some ways the countervailing force to the age cohort that was socialized into strong Republican support under Reagan.elections so close that campaigns could no longer afford to write off huge parts of the population. They gave him Iowa.. "So they would literally look through a contact list of potential voters to reach out to. and the other 50 percent. "the fact that you have this age cohort that has been socialized into very strong presidential support for Democrats. . there's been a backlash on college campuses to voter-suppression efforts.

House candidates experienced similar success on Facebook. In six out of nine House open seat races. Massachusetts.000 fans — were liking. even in a more humdrum election. A wave of enthusiasm is one thing. But instead Warren pulled out a narrow victory at the polls. 32 percent of Warren’s social network – over 100. Twenty of the 33 most competitive House races across the country on Tuesday were won by candidates with a measurable Facebook fan engagement advantage. In the North Dakota. on the other hand. To measure the impact of Facebook on election outcomes in 2012. And that's perhaps the worst news of all for the Republicans. Eight out of nine Senate races considered to be toss ups this year were won by the candidate with the more engaged Facebook fan base. Each month. This year. Only in the Arizona Senate race did a more engaged fan base fail to correlate with victory on Election Day. and sharing news about her campaign on Facebook. And in Montana.politico.who were brought to the polls by the wave of enthusiasm for Obama in 2008 will likely vote in greater numbers for the rest of their lives.S. Over 150 million adults in the U. and the seashore looks changed. Wisconsin. Senator Jon Tester won the trifecta: he enjoyed a larger and more engaged Facebook fan base than his opponent and won re-election. Connecticut.com/news/stories/1112/83572.000. And in 11 of the 15 competitive House races where incumbents lost on Tuesday. 2012 If campaigns were won and lost by the number of Facebook fans a candidate recruits. He helped to deliver and track 61 million get-out-the-vote messages that increased voter turnout by an estimated 340. the challenger enjoyed an engagement advantage over the incumbent. But now the tide has gone out. commenting.000 people. On Election Day. as this one felt. the average American spends about 7 hours and forty-five minutes on social media which makes up about twenty-two percent of the total time Americans spend online. . For example.312. the candidate with an engagement advantage won.536 fans to 316. During the 2010 election. Brown.5 times more active and engaged. engaged just 12 percent of his network or about 45. The candidate engagement advantage translated into victories in House open seat and challenger races. we analyzed the relationship between fan base and fan engagement in thirty-three of the most competitive House races and all thirty-three Senate races over a three-month period. almost every serious candidate for federal office invested in a Facebook page and strategy. and Nevada Senate races. and Indiana were also won by those candidates with the most engaged Facebook fan base even though their bases were smaller than their opponents. in Virginia.html Matthew MacWilliams and Edward Erikson November 8. Warren’s campaign did a superior job of engaging her fan base. are now registered Facebook users. but Kaine’s base was 4. While Brown had more Facebook fans than Warren. Senator Scott Brown would have defeated Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday: 370. Did Warren’s savvy social media skills give her a Facebook bump that helped to propel her to victory? What impact did Facebook have on other competitive Senate and House races across the country? Social media has finally come of age in America. Senate campaigns in Virginia. where the major party candidates had comparable fan networks. Tim Kaine’s fan base was one half the size of George Allen’s. political scientist James Fowler demonstrated the political power of Facebook. The initial results of our study are compelling: candidates with the skills to engage supporters enjoyed a Facebook bump on Election Day. the candidate with the more engaged fan base won. an anomaly in an otherwise 50/50 nation. Politico: The Facebook bump http://www.

“We were blessed with an overflowing menu of options. the backroom number crunchers who powered Barack Obama’s campaign to victory noticed that George Clooney had an almost gravitational tug on West Coast females ages 40 to 49. Each one repeated the same message: vote. will be rewarded with a meaningful voting bump on Election Day that makes their time spent on social media well worth the effort. who creatively embrace Facebook and the daily grind of building and engaging an audience. Warren posted on Facebook nine times. They were cute – a bull dog wearing a Warren t-shirt. on the other hand. however. Exactly what that team of dozens of data crunchers was doing. The women were far and away the single demographic group most likely to hand over cash. text. Brown. but we chose Sarah Jessica Parker. While he utilized images well. And they were inspirational –a call for more get-out-the-vote volunteers. From the most expensive Senate campaigns to more modest House races. So as they did with all the other data collected. They were informational – a link for people to help find a polling place. On Election Day. stored and analyzed in the two-year drive for re-election. The posts included images. emotions. They sought out an East Coast celebrity who had similar appeal among the same demographic. the significance relies on how well campaigns activate fans. data-mining experiments were given mysterious code names such as Narwhal and Dreamcatcher. For the general public.” explains a senior campaign adviser. But from the beginning. was a closely held secret. The “scientists” created regular briefings on their work for the President and top aides in the White House’s Roosevelt Room. among other things. Around the office. metric-driven kind of campaign in which politics was the goal but political instincts might not be the means. Obama’s top campaign aides decided to put this insight to use. but public details were in short supply as the . The team even worked at a remove from the rest of the campaign staff. fell short. campaign manager Jim Messina had promised a totally different. TIME: Inside the secret world of the data crunchers who helped Obama win http://swampland. small dinners and celebrity. aiming to replicate the millions of dollars produced by the Clooney contest.” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt would say when asked about the efforts. “We are going to measure every single thing in this campaign. setting up shop in a windowless room at the north end of the vast headquarters office. maximize the efficiency of supermarket sales promotions. She appealed to core values. our initial analysis indicates that candidates.time.” he said after taking the job. He posted to his Facebook page three times on Election Day. and links. Warren delivered content that connected with voters. there was no way to know that the idea for the Parker contest had come from a datamining discovery about some supporters: affection for contests. The Warren campaign’s approach to social media exemplifies how campaigns can use Facebook to engage their base. They were personal – a photo of Warren and her husband at the voting booth. He hired an analytics department five times as large as that of the 2008 operation. for a chance to dine in Hollywood with Clooney — and Obama. his posts were transactional and not engaging.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-whohelped-obama-win/ Michael Scherer November 7. motivated her base and drove support.Tuesday’s results indicate that the value of Facebook cannot be measured by the size of a candidate’s following. who in a previous life crunched huge data sets to. and reason. videos. 2012 In late spring. And so the next Dinner with Barack contest was born: a chance to eat at Parker’s West Village brownstone. with an official “chief scientist” for the Chicago headquarters named Rayid Ghani. “They are our nuclear codes.

Here again. Call lists in field offices. A large portion of the cash raised online came through an intricate.” said one of the senior advisers about the predictive profiles built by the data. Inside the campaign. assumptions were rarely left in place without numbers to back them up. data collection and analysis were paramount. for instance. We could model volunteers.” Early on. “We analyzed very early that the problem in Democratic politics was you had databases all over the place. Consumer data about voters helped round out the picture. field workers and consumer databases as well as social-media and mobile contacts with the main Democratic voter files in the swing states. “We could *predict+ people who were going to give online. On Nov. sex. didn’t just list names and numbers.” said another. Back then. “And then the Internet exploded over the summer. fundraisers. among the easiest to pull back into the fold with some personal attention. It was like the FBI and the CIA before 9/11: the two camps never shared data. “None of them talked to each other. The new megafile didn’t just tell the campaign how to find voters and get their attention. They tested how much better a call from a local volunteer would do than a call from a volunteer from a non–swing state like California. creating a single massive system that could merge the information collected from pollsters. About 75% of the determining factors were basics like age. The strategists fashioned tests for specific demographic groups. it also allowed the number crunchers to run tests predicting which types of people would be persuaded by certain kinds of appeals. race. How to Raise $1 Billion For all the praise Obama’s team won in 2008 for its high-tech wizardry. a group of senior campaign advisers agreed to describe their cutting-edge efforts with TIME on the condition that they not be named and that the information not be published until after the winner was declared. modeling became something way bigger for us in ’12 than in ’08 because it made our time more efficient. Until August.” said one of the senior officials who was intimately involved in the process. they also ranked names in order of their persuadability. Many of the e-mails sent to supporters were just tests. trying out message scripts that they could then apply. for example. We could model people who were going to give through mail. its success masked a huge weakness: too many databases. and often . with the campaign’s most important priorities first. Get-out-the-vote lists were never reconciled with fundraising lists. there were office pools on which combination would raise the most money. 4.” So over the first 18 months. everyone in the Obama orbit had protested loudly that the campaign would not be able to reach the mythical $1 billion fundraising goal. “In the end.campaign guarded what it believed to be its biggest institutional advantage over Mitt Romney’s campaign: its data. volunteers making phone calls through the Obama website were working off lists that differed from the lists used by callers in the campaign office. “We had big fights because we wouldn’t even accept a goal in the 900s. senders and messages. As Messina had promised. with different subject lines. MORE: TIME Staff: Live Twitter Reactions The new megafile also allowed the campaign to raise more money than it once thought possible. neighborhood and voting record. the campaign started over. metric-driven e-mail campaign in which dozens of fundraising appeals went out each day. the campaign discovered that people who had unsubscribed from the 2008 campaign e-mail lists were top targets. What they revealed as they pulled back the curtain was a massive data effort that helped Obama raise $1 billion. remade the process of targeting TV ads and created detailed models of swing-state voters that could be used to increase the effectiveness of everything from phone calls and door knocks to direct mailings and social media.” said one of the officials.

The Walking Dead and Don’t Trust the B—. “We were able to put our target voters through some really complicated modeling. Obama decided to answer questions on the social news website Reddit. By the end of October. And that is how we allocated resources. “And every morning we got the spit-out — here are your chances of winning these states. campaign boss Messina performed better than Vice President Joe Biden. In the final weeks of the campaign. This was a huge advantage: when polls started to slip after the first debate. Data helped drive the campaign’s ad buying too. which allowed repeat giving online or via text message without having to re-enter credit-card information. assuring them that most of the Ohioans in motion were not Obama backers but likely Romney supporters whom Romney had lost because of his September blunders. which many of the President’s senior aides did not know about. O. In August. The campaign found that roughly 1 in 5 people contacted by a Facebook pal acted on the request. “We were much calmer than others. They were told to click a button to automatically urge those targeted voters to take certain actions..in Apt. Messina based his purchases on the massive internal data sets. Rather than rely on outside media consultants to decide where ads should run. such as registering to vote. the top performers raised 10 times as much money for the campaign as the underperformers. skirting the traditional route of buying ads next to local news programming. “We ran the election 66. Predicting Turnout The magic tricks that opened wallets were then repurposed to turn out votes.” said one official. How much more efficient was the Obama campaign of 2012 than 2008 at ad buying? Chicago has a number for that: “On TV we were able to buy 14% more efficiently … to make sure we were talking to our persuadable voters. Michelle Obama’s e-mails performed best in the spring. It was this database that helped steady campaign aides in October’s choppy waters. people who had downloaded an app were sent messages with pictures of their friends in swing states.” said a senior official.” Online. describing the computer simulations the campaign ran to figure out Obama’s odds of winning each swing state.” . The analytics team used four streams of polling data to build a detailed picture of voters in key states.000 people in Ohio alone — a whopping sample that composed nearly half of 1% of all voters there — allowing for deep dives into exactly where each demographic and regional group was trending at any given moment. In many cases. if Miami-Dade women under 35 are the targets. As a result. the get-out-the-vote effort continued with a first-ever attempt at using Facebook on a mass scale to replicate the door-knocking efforts of field organizers. the campaign bought ads to air during unconventional programming. said one official. So the program was expanded and incentivized. Chicago discovered that people who signed up for the campaign’s Quick Donate program. Quick Donate had become a big part of the campaign’s messaging to supporters. The polling and voter-contact data were processed and reprocessed nightly to account for every imaginable scenario. and at times. in large part because the message came from someone they knew. *here is+ how to reach them.K. “Because a whole bunch of our turnout targets were on Reddit. they could check to see which voters were changing sides and which were not.000 times every night. like Sons of Anarchy. the analytics team had polling data from about 29. gave about four times as much as other donors. In the past month.” the same official said. “Why did we put Barack Obama on Reddit?” an official asked rhetorically. 23. to say.” said one of the officials. The numbers also led the campaign to escort their man down roads not usually taken in the late stages of a presidential campaign. and first-time donors were offered a free bumper sticker to sign up. voting early or getting to the polls.the pools got it wrong.

But it turned out that Silver and his peers were able to predict with high accuracy how the contest for the White House and other races would play out. Data mining and analysis have become a key currency that drives results in elections. to give people experiences that are more tailored to them. were skeptical of the predictions offered by Silver and other data crunchers. and more compelling for them. with more than 23 million sent after the first polls closed this afternoon. which works with Obama campaign. the survey showed that 30 percent of registered voters were encouraged to vote for a presidential candidate via input received on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook from friends and family (Credit: Pew Research Center) Twitter: An estimated 32 million tweets referencing the U. Goldman Sachs or Obama? There are high-paying jobs for people who have the skills that can help companies better predict the future and bend outcomes. More effective in finding the right people to engage in the right ways. generating 327.S. and accurately projected the voting outcome in 49 states (Florida has not yet been called).cnet.m. In politics. WINNERS Nate Silver: The FiveThirtyEight forecaster's algorithms correctly calculated that on election day President Obama had a nearly 92-percent chance of winning. Social media: According to the Pew Research Center. As one official put it. the era of big data has arrived. Activity peaked at 8:19 p. 2012 Elections are all about winners and losers. especially in the Republican camp.com/8301-13578_3-57546443-38/the-post-election-tech-tally-winners-and-losers/ CNET News Staff November 7. at the right time of day." Read: Time: Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win Quants: Are you a math wiz and quantitative analyst who isn't working for Google. "A tremendous amount of info is collected and available. just like any other business. Here's a CNET look at the winners and losers in the 2012 election in which President Obama bested former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Read: Obama's win a big vindication for Nate Silver. It’s another sign that the role of the campaign pros in Washington who make decisions on hunches and experience is rapidly dwindling. "It will allow campaigns to be more effective in their messaging. king of the quants Big data: Many. PT when the major TV networks declared Obama the president. who is up and who is down.That data-driven decisionmaking played a huge role in creating a second term for the 44th President and will be one of the more closely studied elements of the 2012 cycle. Twitter said. through the right platforms. CNet: The post-election tech tally: winners and losers http://news. being replaced by the work of quants and computer coders who can crack massive data sets for insight.452 tweets per minute. In addition. That surpassed the 85. presidential election were sent Tuesday." said Jascha Franklin-Hodge of BlueStateDigital. saying ‘We always buy 60 Minutes’” is over. the time of “guys sitting in a back room smoking cigars. It's going to change the business of politics. 22 percent of registered voters shared how they voted with others on social networking sites. from a tech perspective.273 tweets per minute that accompanied the announcement that Iowa's electoral votes .

users. Romney's digital director. The New York Times. Read: Obama victory photo smashes Facebook 'Like' record Joe Rospars (Credit: BlueStateDigital) Joe Rospars: The Obama campaign's digital wizard from BlueStateDigital has steered through two straight elections and defined how digital media is used to support candidates. It's the first step in television moving away as the only source.8 million Twitter followers and 12.' Online advertising: The money is beginning to flow from TV and radio to online. the president answered nine questions. Twitter stood up to the challenge without buckling on the record-setting day for the service.This is the first campaign in history where digital advertising moves from a list building and fundraising application to persuasion and mobilization. the Romney campaign utilized Rally. Read: Obama 'four more years' tweet skyrockets to No... and we wanted to be part of it.95. Also. ranking them on a scale of 1 ...1 million Facebook 'Likes. While the Obama team developed more of their own technology over the last six years. curated Instagram photos from election day to capture the experience.27.S. including mobile devices. and Reddit users talked back with more than 13. Romney has less than 1. the president has nearly 23 million Twitter followers and more than nearly 33 million Facebook 'likes'. when Facebook only had 35." said Joe Rospars. The Talk Meter is used for other events.6 million Facebook users of voting age signaled to their social networks that they voted through the "I Voted" button Facebook made available. "Nothing else has the scale and flexibility of digital. This is in comparison to the 2008 presidential election.5 million U. said Zac Moffat. among others...org and Square for fundraising activities. and summoned voters via Reddit on election day. for example. Read: Obama returns to Reddit to drum up last-minute votes Facebook: More than 9. the Obama campaign's chief digital strategist.had gone to Obama just seven minutes earlier. 1 retweet Reddit: Obama held a Q&A on Reddit during the campaign. according to the social network. The company's data team used a "Talk Meter" yesterday to measure the overall chatter around the event and any terms associated with the Election. which drew an 8. For comparison. In August. It's the homepage of the Internet. "Our team pitched it because it's a big community of folks who are driving a lot of the conversation. including the presidential debates. That compared to 5.4 million clicks in 2008.600 comments as the site was brought to its knees. Read: An Election Day Instagram is worth a thousand tweets Instagram photos curated by the New York Times Startups: The election provided some opportunities for startups to hitch a ride with campaigns. Instagram: The Facebook-owned photo-sharing service officially became another prominent way to capture the zeitgeist of the election.S. It now has about 171 million users in the U.10. in hundreds of thousands of images. Election 2012 buzz came in at a 9. Read: Pando Daily: In the Red Corner. Zac Moffatt Leads Romney's Digital Drive to Topple Obama LOSERS .

000 times. FREEP: Voters document election on social media http://www. in one case that went viral. the popular site for short bursts of breaking news.000 election-related posts per minute. users were tweeting 11. photos of their ballots and. The post was retweeted more than 225. children . which better leveraged the social networks and data at its disposal to get out the vote in the right places and raise money from small donors. Before most polls closed. political history with 20 million tweets. foreheads. As much as the candidates. George Will." tweeted a user called @doriginale5. Users quickly posted congratulations and cheers when media outlets declared President Obama the winner after he was projected to win Ohio.Romney's digital campaign: While Romney's team couldn't alter the demographics that ultimately doomed his presidential aspirations. was used over 22 million times Tuesday. Election Day became the most tweeted-about event in U. 2012 The first national election in which social media went mainstream unfolded Tuesday as voters posted comments about long lines. Twitter posted Tuesday night.S. which helped voters locate their polling places and find information on candidates. Joe Scarborough and others who were dismissive of the quantitative polling analysis by Silver and others forecasting the statistical probability that Obama would reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection. After the call that Obama won. tweets with the hashtag "#election2012" reached more than 325. a Second-Place Finish Pundits who thought Nate Silver was crazy: Karl Rove.000 a minute. Read: TechPresident: For Romney's Digital Campaign. Google+: While Facebook and Twitter are publishing data touting election day activity. Obama's Twitter feed posted "Four more years" after TV networks declared him the winner. Twitter said. making it the most tweeted moment of the election. the other big hit on Tuesday was the "I voted" stickers voters received after casting their ballots.com/print/article/20121107/NEWS15/121107005/Presidential-election-social-mediaTwitter-Facebook-YouTube Marisol Bello November 7. On Twitter. Google said. The digital news site BuzzFeed said it was the most popular tweet of all time. Dick Morris. Google's voter information data. but Karl Rove refuses to believe it. which was among those reporting that Obama won. "Fox News is projecting that tomorrow is Wednesday. a video of a voting machine gone rogue. On the other hand. Michael Barone.freep. the hashtag "#election2012" surpassed 11 million tweets. who is an analyst for Fox News. Most of the tweets mocked Rove. his digital operation couldn't keep up with Obama's. "Karl Rove" trended when the Republican strategist argued that it was too early to call the election. People posted photos of themselves with the stickers on their shirts. Google hasn't had much to say about the activity on its social network.

depending on the state. The link was tweeted by the Drudge Report." "ivoted" or some variation and more than 250. The Obama campaign was particularly active. and it was recalibrated.com regrets the error. but if it's possible to prove whether a video has been altered or not. . according to the Citizen Media Law Project." he said." The Associated Press called Michigan for Romney and quickly corrected it to say Obama won the state before the error hit social media.000 photos with the term "vote. He went on to say the jumpy frames in the video are a result of a bad camera app on his smartphone. One video quickly went viral after a user called Centralpavote posted a video on YouTube that showed a malfunction with his voting machine. And there isn't a major media event without a series of Web-related mishaps or inaccurate information that spreads on social sites. which wrote.000 photos with the word "election" or similar phrase. which is owned by USA TODAY parent company Gannett. The photos showed images of users' ballots and lines at their polling places. "Early count in Ohio gives Romney 92. I will GLADLY provide the raw footage to anyone who is willing to do so. Six states expressly prohibit recording inside a polling place." The social-media giant said 8. "We received a complaint of a voting machine that was similar. On Instagram. The Cincinnati Enquirer on its website. Among the top 10 terms on Facebook were "vote. people posted more than 775.3 million people on Facebook said they voted. The candidates themselves were using social media to get out the vote." "Obama. Cincinnati. created as a design template for election results.4 million tweets as users posted more than 2.000 tweets per minute with the phrase or similar terms. The phrase "ivoted" was popular with more than 1. more than 2 million people were talking about Obama and more than 950. pulled the page. The data." "election" and "president. a checkmark appeared next to Mitt Romney's name. Matthew Keeler. to the one seen in the video. "I'm not a video guy." "Romney. "No votes have been counted yet — by law." he said." The post was retweeted more than 1. but not before The Wall Street Journal sent out an e-mail alert to its subscribers. He said he thought it was the same machine. The paper. confirmed that there was a problem with a voting machine in Perry County in the center of the state. On Facebook. saying. posted a front-page link to a chart with dummy data that showed early voting totals in Ohio counties. The Romney campaign was less active but urged voters to cast a ballot for the former governor.and dogs. showed Romney in the lead. The research center at Harvard University posted guidelines for avoiding trouble with the law and a state-by-state guide on who allows filming and who doesn't.com.000 vote lead. if not identical.000 were talking about Romney. Cincinnati. Every time his finger hit the button for Obama. and 34 don't allow photos or filming of marked ballots. a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State. the photo-sharing site owned by Facebook.390 times. But some of that sharing may be illegal. urging voters to stay in line to vote and calling out to residents in individual states. The user said on YouTube that there has been speculation that the footage he shot was edited. counting doesn't start until the polls close.

He argued at the time that digital communications were not in the budget for a Republican primary. "What we're doing. days or months after the Obama campaign had already rolled them out. Romney's announcement that Paul Ryan would be his vice presidential nominee was supposed to come through a mobile application. to handle its phone banking by online volunteers. while the campaign was beaten to the punch on the news. Moffatt framed this choice as a mix of pragmatism in the face of a limited budget and a belief. After the primary election. Moffatt told me in September. 40 percent of which came through mobile.com/news/23106/romneys-digital-campaign-second-place-finish By Nick Judd November 7. that found its roots in Romney's 2007 Republican primary bid. Another external service. . A Second-Place Finish http://techpresident." he said in May. a system used in business for tracking sales leads and other customer contacts. Using a data management platform. The campaign used an external service.TechPresident: For Romney's Digital Campaign. The campaign passed a large amount of data into its own instance of Salesforce. A campaign app misspelled "America" as "Amercia" — just the first of several times when the digital team's grasp of the English language would be called into question. Digital Director Zac Moffatt pointed out to me that the Romney campaign had not been operating with the breadth and depth of digital staff that Obama had at his disposal almost since day one. announcing features or ideas hours. Fundly. that the market had already surfaced the best tools for each job. "is having more talented people to glue this together. Moffatt's shop was beleaguered by a series of small losses. whether that was beating Romney by a matter of hours in announcing a Square app for in-person fundraising early in the year to a matter of months in announcing a "Quick Donate" feature that allowed donors who had already given once to send a repeat donation. these companies were in essence extensions of the Democratic Party — NGP VAN thanks to a longstanding arrangement with the national committee and Blue State because its leadership is packed with veterans of the Howard Dean campaign and Obama's 2008 election effort. In a September follow-up conversation. Rally.org. Moffatt says the announcement still drove two million unique visitors to the campaign's website. As with other political campaigns this cycle. The idea was to have the staff in-house for the general election to connect those services to one another. While outside vendors included Blue State Digital and NGP VAN. Romney's opponents in Chicago largely hewed to a mix of systems built in-house this year mixed with systems built in-house in years previous." As the campaign's digital operations ramped up. The digital operation was integrated with the rest of the Romney campaign. the Romney campaign maintained its own database of voters to attempt to find online. those voters were lumped into various audience segments the campaign attempted to track with advertising on the web — something the campaign used both for persuasion and motivation. 2012 At every phase of the campaign. he told me on various occasions. Moffatt told me. Moffatt described a digital operation that had been built up to comprise a core digital staff in Romney headquarters and a number of external vendors. Mitt Romney's digital operation was half a step behind the technological savvy of Barack Obama's online team — at several moments. Meanwhile. "Are those roles essential in a primary as you move from state to state?" he asked me. back in May. The Obama campaign consistently released features or products ahead of the Romney team. handled Romney's online fundraising after it switched from a service. Moffatt did advertise some digital successes. FLS Connect.

all coordinated into one holistic aligned digital slash political effort for turnout. The Romney campaign was every bit as interested in quantifying its successes or failures as Obama for America was." he told me. Supporters could then message their friends and urge them to get out and vote. collecting what he said were hundreds of thousands of new contacts. a graphics and design department."When an absentee ballot is dropping into a state. While both campaigns were able to send notifications to their users rather than rely on the news feed. .000 users. In experimenting with the Romney version of "Quick Donate. according to stats listed on Facebook. where only a fraction of a Facebook page's audience actually sees a message unless the page owner pays a fee. But for some reason they are absolutely clobbering men when it comes to clicking on Facebook's "I voted" button today. Team Obama as a result could tug the sleeves of nearly one million Facebook users with a notification — a dramatically greater reach. The Romney campaign has its own statistics to analyze. as well: The Facebook friend-matching functionality came from a central Obama 2012 app. even if the road through those numbers does not stop at the same destination. And as the campaign drew to a close. we have online ads that are chasing that. Slate: I Voted: Facebook Stories Shows Women Outvoting Women 2 to 1 http://www. As the campaign wound down. conducting surveys on panels of online ad-viewers to gauge the effectiveness of their ads. and highly targeted online advertising — but was never able to point to an innovation that originated first in the Romney campaign and that yielded significant wins. the Romney campaign followed the Obama campaign in implementing a Facebook application — Romney's was called "Commit to Mitt" — that looked through users' Facebook friends to identify voters in swing states.slate. Moffatt's operation shifted event management software in order to capture more information. it had 31. analyzing the results of fundraising asks and tweaking the subject lines that led their own barrages of email." the campaign also found that people who had donated once were at least three times more likely to donate again — an example of how the campaign made adjustments over the course of the year to stay competitive. Yahoo's Dylan Stableford wrote that the Romney campaign — either in a final flourish of true class or a last digital embarrassment — had aired Obama's victory speech on its own website prior to running Romney's concession remarks. mobile apps.html Will Oremus November 6. like email addresses.S. On election night.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/11/06/i_voted_facebook_stories_shows_women_outvotin g_men_2_to_1. emails sent to the person. from event attendees. As the Obama campaign celebrates. The Obama campaign one-upped Team Romney here." called "Victory Wallet. not a separate app. the defining conversation about the election's results will be the path to victory highlighted in Obama for America's data trail. presidential elections. social media like Twitter and Facebook and even a comparatively little-frequented Tumblr. 2012 Women make up about 51 percent of the population and 53 percent of the electorate in U. After the primary. The Romney campaign was able to deploy all the same tools — website. While the application never worked for me. Politico noted that the campaign had been outspent in online advertising and quoted Republican operatives as saying that Romney was leaving victories on the table for want of creativity. There is no value in doing any of this online if you're not turning people out. door knocks and phone calls. Moffatt and his digital operation endured mounting criticism.

That compares with a top election-season peak until Tuesday of around 150. tweets and posts from the ridiculous to the sublime. Twitter also rolled out a map showing the mostly widely circulated tweets from President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during the lead up to election day. 2012 For Election Day–like any big event these days–people took to Twitter Facebook and other social-media services to document their votes. people posted photos. some 3.m. At last count. replied to it or circulated it to other people–was a September tweet about making college affordable. To document the big day. according to polls? Or does it just mean that women spend more time on Facebook? Or that they're better at following instructions? Is this a product of residual enthusiasm for the Nineteenth Amendment. Indeed.000 tweets per minute at 2 p. After all. did the election actually happen? At about 3:30 p. according to the real-time analytics on the "American Votes 2012" Facebook Stories page.6 million women have clicked on a special election-day prompt at the top of their newsfeed that encourages those who have voted to share the news with friends. Why are women clicking the "I Voted" button on Facebook so much more than men? WSJ: Election day plays out on Twitter and Facebook http://blogs. Calif.wsj.com/washwire/2012/11/06/election-day-plays-out-on-twitter-and-facebook/tab/print/ Shira Ovide November 6. .8 million men had clicked on the prompt. and Pew found friends and family of 30% of registered voters have encouraged them to vote for one of the presidential candidates via posts on Facebook. the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said 22% of registered voters posted on a social-networking site about how they voted. Twitter or other social networks. his most widely circulated tweet was a commemoration of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Facebook posted an online counter showing more than 5. if you didn’t relay your vote on Twitter. grumble about long lines at the polls and make last-minute pitches for their favored candidates..As I write this. avidly posted on Twitter near-hourly voter counts. and relayed the challenge of retrieving election supplies from a car that had been impounded. or tweets. For Mr. Officials in Orange County. Twitter reported that its users had posted about 1. (Example of the former: A person in a Big Bird costume waited in line to vote. 92 years later? I contacted Facebook to see if they could offer any insight.m. the highest level of “engagement”–meaning how many times Twitter users clicked on a tweet.4 million posts. with the hashtag “#ivoted” or similar terms. Twitter said the pace of broader election-related tweets so far has reached a peak of about 15. Eastern Time. Is this good news for Obama. in a report released Tuesday. For Mr. Expect social media to light up the further we get into Election Night. Obama.) Government officials and agencies. including New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg used social media to direct people to revised voting locations in areas where Sandy-related storm cleanup closed polling stations.000 tweets per minute during the October presidential debate in Denver.8 million people who posted their votes on Facebook. Romney. who leads among women voters. just 1.. They couldn't. That's nearly twice the number of men who have done the same. which were about half the levels of 2008.

“It’s safe to say that this was a much smaller number even in 2010 and certainly in 2008. and verified if the action had an impact on the user and their friends from official voting logs.com/news/stories/1112/83418. indeed. 2012 If your Facebook feed is becoming increasingly political. the study found. you can make a difference. caused by friends sharing the message. according to a study out Tuesday from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Twitter Users Divulge Votes Online http://www. “More people are on Facebook and Twitter. But there’s no question that these figures would dwarf social media usage in the 2010 and 2008 cycles. more people are using them and building them into the rhythms of their lives every day. they get access to a realtime heat map of voting around the country (pictured below): POLITICO: Study: Facebook. Nature.Tech Crunch: Click Facebook’s “I’m Voting” button. and sharing your voting intention. Large-scale.” he said. This is the first cycle in which Pew has conducted such a poll. monitored whether voting intention was shared with others. Most importantly. Users were randomly assigned to see two versions of the “I voted” message. 2012 Today. 80 percent of the effect was indirect.” question the authors. Presidential Election was won by a margin of just 537 votes in Florida. could do more to increase voter turnout than any other partisan rant or news story you may share today. “which raises doubts about the effectiveness of information-only appeals to vote in this context.twitter Alex Byers November 6. so the research organization doesn’t have previous data with which to compare it. So. To put that number in context.html#. you’re not alone. with one displaying pictures of their friends.” Twenty percent of voters said they had encouraged others to vote by posting on a social network site.2 percent. That’s significantly more than the percentage of respondents who urged others to vote via text message (10 percent) or email (12 percent). In the end.S. Facebook is encouraging its legions of users to declare civic enthusiasm to their friends. After users click the “I’m Voting” button. Those who didn’t see pictures were barely influenced.UJl7Aps5mCM. With a Single Message delivered electronically on Election Day. remember that the 2000 U.com/2012/11/06/click-facebooks-im-voting-button-research-shows-it-boosts-turnout/ Gregory Ferenstein November 6.” Published in the prestigious journal. with a prominent “I’m A Voter” botton at the top of the newsfeed. the 61-million person study displayed an “I voted” button atop the newsfeed of everyone over the age of 18. Nearly a quarter of registered voters told their Facebook friends and Twitter followers in the last month who they were planning to vote for on Election Day. Even more — 30 percent — said friends and family had used social media to encourage them to vote for President Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney. “Facebook caused an extra third of a million people to vote. experimental research shows that simply clicking the button. said Lee Rainie.politico.” researcher James Fowler explained to TechCrunch. and all it takes is a simple mouse click to spark a chain reaction of civic goodness. the message (with pictures) boosted turnout by a respectable 2. research shows it boots turnout http://techcrunch. . the project’s director.

at some point it becomes something that they are feeling embarrassed not to share. seems to have much of an advantage in terms of organic and digital get-out-the-vote efforts. Younger voters. and then "all democrats". 6.but could lead to some voters getting muddled and not voting for their preferred candidate. However. for better or for worse. were much more likely to suggest on social media that friends and followers should vote for their candidate of choice. he will earn our votes. “Once they see it as sort of a common practice in their network. however. Political water-cooler talk is just shifting to the Internet. Here's a typical message: Another version reads: "PLEASE PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS!!! In the event that you are planning to vote democrat on Nov.” The study was conducted between Nov. 4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3. Rainie said. People are not being told this information. though. the study found. “The way that you form your identity in social networks. the way that you build trust with your friends is to disclose more and more.” The increased political chatter on social media may simply be a new manifestation of previous political habits in offline social networks. Neither side.” he said. Rainie said.National polls heading into Election Day have the race effectively tied. DO NOT SELECT THE BUTTON "all democrats" first. TELL EVERYBODY YOU KNOW THIS! PLEASE FORWARD to as many people as possible even!!" According to reports. can lead to all of the candidates of your preferred political party being chosen . Naked Security: US Election Voting Booth Hoax Spreads on Facebook http://nakedsecurity.6 percentage points. the warning is not only confusing and alarmist . An increase in social media users getting vocal about politics may be subject to somewhat of a snowball effect. 2012 Facebook users are mistakenly sharing a warning with each other about how to behave in voting booths during today's elections for the American presidency. 1 and Nov. . but I'm told that in some states choosing the party first on a voting machine. I don't have any first hand experience as I'm not an American citizen. when you go into the voting booths. “It becomes a network expectation. “Networked life is sharing life.including the presidential candiate. according to the report. the way that you find others that share your views. because Barack Obama will be excluded from the vote.com/2012/11/06/election-voting-booth-hoax/ Graham Culey November 6. because they are trying to use every trick in the book. if we choose "Barack Obama" first. and the 2012 presidential race has been remarkably bitter and divisive.” Rainie said.sophos.

2012 The top-line Facebook numbers look pretty good for Barack Obama: nearly 32 million likes compared with 12 million for Mitt Romney. but Freelon says the text of that one did the best job of speaking for itself. and with a younger base of support you'd expect to see more Facebook activity for Obama. One explanation for this may be that because the Romney campaign has so many fewer fans. Things were so much easier with a paper ballot. here are two charts Freelon created that show spikes in "likes" since April.That could mean if you get confused and subsequently make a presidential selection for a second time. This is the conclusion of some pretty wonderful data scraping and analysis by Deen Freelon. He then looked in the data for the posts that received the most likes/shares/comments. Freelon captured all of the likes. But dig a little deeper into the Facebook data and two very different pictures emerge of who these 32 million and 12 million are. For comparison. comments. . so that gap may not tell us all that much about this race. Photographs across the top of the chart accompanied the posts." Freelon writes. For the curious.theatlantic. and what it is about their candidate-of-choice that speaks to them. The Atlantic: Obama’s Facebook Fans Love Michelle. My advice? Review your choices closely before you press the final button in the voting booth. with each spike appearing underneath the text that garnered the approval. Join the Naked Security page on Facebook. Stay informed about the latest security and privacy issues related to Facebook. "The wholesome sentiments these shots convey couldn't be farther from the knock-down drag-out negativity flooding the airwaves and the Internet throughout the timeframe. He found that Obama supporters tended to go wild for (as measured by "likes") anything sentimental about the president's family.they were scenes from the Obamas' family life.. a professor at American University. and shares on Obama and Romney's Facebook pages between April 25 (the day the RNC officially endorsed Romney) and November 2. they were most interested in showing off their support for Romney to their Facebook friends. Facebook "likes" don't equal votes.) As you can see. the image that accompanied that post can be found here.000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news. which may explain why they were so popular among Obama fans. "Romney's fans seem to be more goal-oriented than Obama's: rather than reveling in idyllic family scenes. "The first thing that jumped out at me here was how none of the top five most-liked posts had anything to do with politics -."liking" posts that trumpeted its strength." Freelon writes. Of course. searching for the types of content that most resonated with supporters." (The fifth image didn't fit in the chart. Romney’s Love Winning http://www. where over 190. you could uncheck your vote for the president. while Romney fans were more focused on the campaign itself -. the kinds of moments that could be found in any American family photo album. the top "liked" posts for the Romney campaign were all calls to help push them over some benchmark.com/technology/archive/2012/11/obamas-facebook-fans-love-michelle-romneyslove-winning/264554/ Rebecca Rosen November 5.

That conclusion may directly capture only the activities of the campaigns' many fans. He says his high-end estimate for Tuesday would be about 100 million users. San Diego.376) than Romney's page.technologyreview.its Facebook base is made up of more hardcore supporters. referring to U. The difference is in what resonated. Facebook account holders of voting age. Technology Review: How Facebook’s Plans Could Affect the Election http://www. component has slowed sharply.S. because this is a presidential election year. Facebook has experienced rapid worldwide growth in recent years. Overall. any ensuing boost to real-world voting might actually be smaller than it was in 2010.182). This follows the groundbreaking finding. that a particular type of message posted on Election Day in 2010 boosted actual turnout by at least 340. However. posts on the Obama page had much higher median "likes" (111. such as those who just generally feel positively about Obama. up slightly from last year. membership is about 160 million.309 compared 4. whereas for Obama there seems to be genuine enthusiasm for him as a person. who participated in the 2010 study. For Romney. published in the journal Nature two months ago.7 million). the enthusiasm seems to be more about winning.com/news/506496/how-facebooks-plans-could-affect-the-election/ David Talbot November 2. from 100 million monthly active users in August 2008 to a billion in October of this year. 61 million people logged in. Increased voter turnout tends to favor Democratic candidates. and comments (7. In addition. However. Freelon warns that it's important to bear in mind that these data "say much more about each campaign's supporters than they do about the candidates. but who aren't as into the horse-race politics of campaign season. About 42 million are registered as Independent. according to Freelon's calculations. he expects more people to log in to Facebook—and thus see any messages that encourage voting—than did two years ago. Nationally there are far more registered Democrats than Republicans—72 million to 55 million.231 compared with 64.000 votes (see “How Facebook Drove Voters to the Polls”). The Romney campaign also posted much more frequently -. but of course they do in turn reflect something about the candidates -. James Fowler.” he says. though Romney's peaks were far higher. However.so Romney's "like" totals are higher: (58. while the 32 million Obama Facebook fans includes a broader swath of people. a political scientist at the University of California. Facebook is expected to announce Monday that it plans to post get-out-the-vote messages to the tens of millions of voting-age Americans likely to log in to the site this coming Election Day.and the positions they're in -. this year more voters are voting early than in previous elections. .S. shares (11.5 million compared with to 42. when larger fractions of voters are already committed to going to the polls anyway.S. the growth of the U.going into tomorrow. those involved with the Facebook push say there’s no evidence that their effort would favor one presidential candidate over the other.753 compared with 3. 2012 Repeating an effort that in past elections has boosted real-world voter turnout. says that this coming Election Day.644)." Both campaigns posted about their families. Current U.about twice as often -. “Last time. both campaigns asked supporters to "like" and share content.

Obligingly.” said Wolf.000 voters to polls. “The worst thing that can happen for a campaign manager is to end a campaign with money in the bank. “This happened to me!! I keep unliking the Mitt Romney. “I’m still wondering how it happened. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney are expected to furiously campaign to get their known supporters to vote—and to encourage voting. a restaurant in downtown Salem. which matches real-world voter records with their computer addresses. 2012 WASHINGTON -. allowing targeted ads (see “Campaigns to Track Voters With Political Cookies”). Schlough. including ones that track people by their behaviors and interests. will be just one of the myriad appeals expected to appear on the site on Election Day. Tell your friends!” Anyone who did download Obama’s app also gave permission for the app to see his or her friends list—as well as the locations and ages of those friends—so the list likely consists of possible supporters in swing states (see “Facebook: The Real Presidential Swing State”). it drove an additional 340. Clicking the message brings up a list of friends who might be interested in knowing this. says J. who received such a message. Beyond seeing posts that encourage voting. but his posts keep coming back!! So frustrating!! Go Obama!!!” wrote a Facebook user named Sabeen Shamsi. based on voting records that the researchers had access to. was stunned to hear from friends on the online social network that his name had popped up as an apparent supporter of the Republican presidential candidate.D. Boston.” These messages included a button to click to indicate if you’ve voted. The Obama campaign.6 million “likes. The paper in Nature reported that when these reminders included face pictures of friends who had voted. Fowler. and lose. He’s not somebody I’d be voting for.” Others are wondering. described it this way: “It looked like they were weighting friends in competitive states and by how close they were to you.com/politicalintelligence/2012/11/01/some-facebook-users-dislike-being-used-onlineadvertising-for-mitt-romney/4HAxE8p7s9vlrnDgufqW9J/story. Another way the campaigns target voters online is by hiring companies like Audience Partners.Facebook’s own get-out-the-vote drive.” he says. the company posted special reminders that said: “Today is Election Day. a selfdescribed liberal who likes nothing about Romney’s politics. “I don’t believe in anything he says. one of 676 people who “liked” a new Facebook .” In Facebook’s 2010 get-out-the-vote effort.com: Some Facebook Users ‘Dislike’ Being Used in Online Advertising for Mitt Romney http://www. as campaigns continue until the last penny is spent or the polls close.Visit Mitt Romney’s page on Facebook and you’ll see 11.html Bobby Caina Calvan November 1. for example. Google and Facebook and other ad networks are providing a dizzying array of advertising tools and strategies. Facebook account holders (and Internet users generally) will see a barrage of last-minute online ads. saying “Early voting is here. too. a political strategist. has put out messages to people who have downloaded the president’s Facebook campaign app. who owns the Lobster Shanty.boston.” Lee Wolf. of course.

’ for which there is no option. “I don’t think Mitt Romney is sitting at his keyboard doing this. a columnist with the St. arts college. Ga. Louis Post-Dispatch. It’s understandable.with the caveat.” he wrote in August. Indeed. online communities have become an important part of the political process. and a spokeswoman for Facebook said she could not immediately explain any apparent glitches but said the company would look into the matter. that doing so was “not the same as ‘dislike.C. was also surprised to be informed that he had “liked” Romney. N. Twitter.” Smith said. said Aaron Smith.” said Mark Turner. why some would be upset that they’re being portrayed as having beliefs they do not hold. if an Obama yard sign suddenly appeared on the front lawn of a Romney supporter. Turner said it was upsetting. thought she was hacked last month when she saw Mitt Romney among her “likes. and Google+.” Smith said. “Was I the victim of sabotage (like the time one of our kids swiped about 100 campaign signs and posted them all in our front yard)? Or the victim of my own keyboard clumsiness?” Gauen posted a disclaimer and “unliked” Romney’s page -. such as encouraging friends to vote or advocating a political position. Imagine. Pat Gauen. “because they’re putting words in my mouth.. which I joined for kinship with family and friends and now find overrun with moronic political rants. a Romney supporter. a computer systems administrator in Raleigh. he said. “This is my first presidential election as a member of Facebook.” “I’m a huge Obama supporter. had played a trick on her. he said. He suspects it’s a Facebook software issue. A Romney spokesperson declined to comment publicly. the executive director of a Savannah. I never comment there on anything except for occasional innocuous messages to those I hold close.page dubbed “Hacked by Mitt Romney” created last month to denounce how their “accounts are being signed up for Mitt Romney’s page without the owner’s permission. She thought her dad. “Recommendations from people they know or people like them can be more powerful than people they don’t know. a Pew researcher. nor would I want to say that anyway.. “What appears on people’s social networking sites is a self-curated picture of who they are.” With 60 percent of all American adults connected via social media portals such as Facebook. Still. . who set up the hacked by Romney page. he said. according to the Pew Research Center. But he insisted he had nothing to do with it.” she said. 39 percent of all American adults have taken some kind of civic or political action using social networks.” Kristine Faxon.’ The culprit was unclear.

it happened at 2:15 a. Wolf said a friend alerted him that something was amiss. these ads are–not necessarily due to a particular fault by Facebook but thanks to the byzantine rules and privacy features that have developed over years of user outrage and resulting Facebook accommodations.“My friends thought I did a complete 180. You should read my comments.m.forbes. His response: “Lol…. who moved to Georgia from New York City in July. “It concerned me enough to put a message out. that somehow I actually agree with the things he stands for. No surprise there. he also “liked” the rapper Jay Z. I asked my friend if he knew he was shilling for Romney.] To be clear. you can see Romney’s posts on his page without “liking” him.” [Hint: They're not complimentary. you become potential fodder for an ad that will appear to your friends. “I’ll ‘unlike’ it as soon as we hang up. on July 17. “I don’t want to give friends the wrong impression. and they’re increasingly common as Facebook doubles down on social advertising. like it or not. He told his friend: “I never liked his page.I liked him so I could see his FB feed. “It’s highly unlikely that I pressed “like” on any of these things. Another friend of a friend who’s an Obama supporter also was surprised to see his name on a Romney ad. If the date stamp on his Facebook account is to be believed. But what on Earth was the name of a friend. Wolf thought it was a glitch. Wolf isn’t quite sure how he came to “like” Mitt Romney. Anyway.. But on Thursday. doing on a Romney ad? The answer raises questions about how effective. he saw with his own eyes that buried in his list of 470 “likes” was Romney’s smiling mug..” said Faxon. Sponsored Stories are those personalized ads the social network allows advertisers to run that show friends have “liked” a brand. And once you do.com/sites/roberthof/2012/10/31/why-do-obama-supporters-appear-in-facebook-ads-asromney-fans/ Robert Hof October 31. or at least how accurate.” Forbes: Why do Obama Supporters Appear in Facebook Ads as Romney Fans? http://www. 2012 I’ve been seeing a Sponsored Story ad on Facebook pages lately that indicates several friends “like” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.” he said in a telephone interview. On the early morning of July 16. but to see them in your own news feed.” he insisted.” he said. and Grey Goose Vodka. who I know is a vocal Obama supporter. “Now that I know it’s actually there.” At first. I commented on one of their crazy lies. gave them a serious piece of my mind ya know!!!!! All kinds of people have been telling me why do u like Mitt???? I’m pissed!!!” . car racer Danica Patrick. you need to “like” him.

did so purposely to get his posts into their feeds. to see his page’s posts in her news feed. and Websites “Edit Settings” link. She says she didn’t realize that could land her in a Romney ad and expressed some dismay: “I don’t think it’s good that they are using my name without being more upfront about doing it. Romney’s or anyone else’s: Go to Privacy Settings at the very top right of your page. judging from the content of their comments. a Romney backer. like my Obama supporter friend. I suspect the meaning of “like” is clear enough that it’s not a widespread problem when it comes to political candidates–though it seems to happen more often than you might think. However. Barring that unlikely feature addition. Set your social ads and third-party ad settings to show your actions to “No one. one Obama fan was shown as “liking” Romney–in that case. then to the Ads. instead. especially on a mobile device. subsequently becoming frustrated with Obama’s “belief in big government. (Because I’m not a conspiracy theorist. One of my friends suggested. though I’m not sure how quickly that action would trickle into the ad system.) Update: After getting a comment from the person running the Facebook page “Hacked by Mitt Romney. it’s clear that a lot of people believe there is skulduggery by the Romney campaign. either.However. But May Not Get Out the Vote http://www. Or they may feed into persistent worries about how private various interactions on Facebook should be. which would be crazy.” One remedy is easy: You can “unlike” whatever you’ve “liked” with the click of a button.” She had “liked” Romney not to show support but simply. However. An anecdotal search of a dozen people who commented on Romney posts wasn’t conclusive.” and looking at the comments on that page. there should be a “shred” button. Nor do you have to “like” Romney simply to comment on one of his posts.” At least one friend. Did that do it? $%^&* advertising algorithms. Facebook says that a mere comment on a page. can result in a “like” for Romney. Go figure. though it left me thinking it’s most likely that people either inadvertently “liked” him or.com/annanorth/facebook-lets-people-talk-politics-but-may-not-ge Anna North October 31. it still seems most likely that many people don’t realize that simply clicking on a Romney Sponsored Story. by itself. It’s unclear how common such situations are. the list of “likes” showed both Romney and the Democratic Party. here’s how to opt out of appearing in social ads. isn’t particularly happy about being used in an ad. But even a few head-scratching ads may raise questions among consumers about how meaningful a friend’s presumed recommendation is on Facebook’s signature ads. again. I’m assuming for now that Romney’s campaign isn’t randomly using non-fans’ names in these ads.” BuzzFeed: Facebook Lets People Talk Politics. though obviously in jest: “I ‘liked’ Buster Posey’s catcher’s mitt. then to Ads. She voted for Obama last time. will not result in showing that a person “likes” a brand or person. Apps. Writes another Facebook friend. Some apparent Obama supporters. that in addition to a “like” button. were not shown on their Facebook pages as “liking” Romney. 2012 .buzzfeed.

However. "it's smart to be out there" engaging with potential voters on Facebook and the web. as well as their feelings of "political efficacy. but their findings suggest there might be a lot of people talking about politics online without actually voting. social networks like Facebook. "From the candidate's perspective." That said. Communications scholars Yushu Zhou and Bruce Pinkleton surveyed over 400 undergraduates at Washington State University about how much attention they paid to a variety of media sources including conventional (ie print or television) media. They also surveyed how interested and involved the students were in politics. But neither campaigns nor researchers have quite figured out yet how to translate online attention into actual votes." He added that he's "not convinced that internet has produced the revolution people predicted. since politically engaged people are definitely engaging online. he thinks the Obama campaign may have the edge in terms of using online media to mobilize voters. Pinkleton. The study authors say this might be because people who spend a lot of time online "have less confidence in the political system and conventional media coverage. But of course. for instance. microblogging services like Twitter. opinion blogs and social networks didn't seem to influence their feelings of efficacy. And students who paid attention to conventional media or to campaign or government websites were more likely to feel that their votes mattered. Now communications scholars have found that while looking at campaign websites seems to increase people's sense that they can influence politics. a communications professor at Washington State University. and the Internet's not going to change that. says that for people who are already politically engaged. Interestingly.com/2012/10/28/the-best-ad-campaign-on-the-web/ ." They didn't look at actual voting specifically. While his study didn't address party affiliation. Tech Crunch: The Prop 37 Phenomenon on Facebook http://techcrunch. Critics of online media have long resisted the notion that they can produce real social change. But it's not necessarily going to make people who aren't already interested in politics automatically interested.The extent to which social media actually influences the political landscape has been hotly debated in recent years. blogs." asking them how much they agreed with statements like "My vote makes a difference" and "I have a real say in what the government does. They found that students who were already involved in politics were more likely to pay attention to media. Online media may be a particularly good way for a candidate to interact with his or her base. social and other online media present a huge opportunity. but at the end of the day you still need people who are motivated. both conventional and online. blogging and sharing on Facebook don't." he says. And Pinkleton casts Facebook and other online sources of information as more of a tool for people who are already active than a producer of activism in its own right: "it's a lot easier to organize on Facebook. the Internet isn't just for the young — Pinkleton notes that "a lot of the old divisions of internet use are falling away" as older people and those with less education get online (though high school dropouts still do so in smaller numbers)." And they measured students' own online political expression — how much they wrote political blog posts or shared political stories on social networks. Pinkleton does note that the internet provides opportunities for campaigns that never existed before. not just to get information but also to create a community of like-minded people. neither did expression — students who shared their views online weren't necessarily confident that those views had a real influence on government. because of Obama's popularity with and outreach to young people. campaign and government websites.

I’ve been involved in a Facebook ad campaign whose results are astonishing. say China. Transparency In The Food System Prop 37 is a proposed California law that would mandate the labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients. In recent years he has turned his attention to opportunities in food and agriculture.” Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are experimental life forms invented by splicing DNA from different species: for example. coined the acronym “CTR” for Click-Through Ratio – more on that in a bit). not government intervention. along with Russia. Our Facebook sales rep was ecstatic when she first saw the numbers. and with it herald a new face of politics in America. (LinkExchange. Do GMOs improve crop yields? Not yet. Brazil. Facebook. India.N. In some other country. we believe free markets should make decisions like that. China. one might imagine a government secretly introducing experimental life forms into the food system in the name of increasing output.com. In America. a startup trying to level the playing field for websites that wanted traffic. 99Designs the design business. but that’s not the question: the law is not for a “warning” label. Uber the taxi and limousine business. political fundraisers were lavish events for the wealthy. Over the past two weeks. Throughout my career. I’ve been drawn by the web’s potential to help the little guy and democratize industries. OPower. Zappos). salmon spliced with eel. She’d never seen anything like it in her career. Today AirBnB is disrupting hospitality. But in fact. the web has been heralded as the great leveler. may change the fate of the Prop 37 vote on Nov 6. Free markets are based on transparency and information. the influence of ordinary people may replace the influence of money. but nobody’s asking California voters to decide how the world is fed. yet they’re labeled “natural” and they’ve quietly invaded America’s food system over the past two decades. but that’s not the question either. It’s in America that they’ve been covertly introduced. a startup trying to level the playing field for indie bands. It’s a political campaign supporting California’s Proposition 37 (Label Genetically Engineered Foods). scientists say no. I joined the founding team of LinkExchange. When I was 23. Are GMO foods safe? We don’t know. These invented beings are patented on the basis that they’re unlike anything ever seen in nature.Ali Partovi October 28. 2012 Editor’s note: Ali Partovi is an Internet entrepreneur (LinkExchange. . let me explain why I’m passionate about this. all of Europe – 62 countries in total – require labeling GMO foods. and bar marketing them as “natural. Level Playing Field Since 1995. I ran GarageBand. the web’s first ad network. Some years after LinkExchange was acquired. Fifteen years ago. including a new feature introduced last week. Now. as social media replace traditional media. But before I share the details. The Internet is also democratizing democracy. the list goes on. Will GMOs help “feed the world”? U. Then we saw the rise of $25 donations via the web. iLike) and investor (Dropbox.

With only $33. which made all the difference. Although some businesses on Facebook are complaining about paying to reach their own fans (here and here). a fabricated FDA quote. I also began spending my own money and soliciting donations on Indiegogo to fund ads on Facebook. Their ads feature a “Stanford professor” who is actually not a professor and not from Stanford. Most Americans react with alarm when they learn about GMOs. and our fans have responded positively. . but fan comments. yet they look deceptively natural. you can amplify it. Some of the ads have a CTR as high as 10%. and they’re deceptively labeled “all natural. What’s more. I helped start a promotion encouraging these fans to speak out for GMO labeling in their own words. on the whole they are 20 times better than average. On Facebook. It’s that they’re new and different. the ads are literally the voices of ordinary people. and asking them to use the new “Promoted Posts” feature. Our most effective ad units are not clever slogans or graphics. Ten days later. and so on. we trust the labels. They have a cost-per-click of $0. The message is replete with typos and errors. When I was a teenager. We don’t expect our government to sneak new inventions into our food without telling us. Today. They decry Prop 37 as created by a trial lawyer. Fueled by popular support. law part). the conversation may be messy and unpredictable. the results have been stunning. But here’s where Facebook enters the picture. my parents worked multiple jobs to pay for my education and put food on the table: healthy. which is what GMO companies are doing to confuse voters. the best advertising is word of mouth.3 million Californians of voting age. uh. natural food.18. about five times better than average. Deception like this distorts prices. (One renegade went so far as to make a homemade video featuring a mutant monkey and dead rats!) However. Is it the best ad campaign of all time? Possibly.” In America. $35 million from the likes of Monsanto has flooded California with misleading messages. that’s better than lying. which particularly harms the poor. forged seal and all. no matter how wonderful they might be. when I decided to help Prop 37. but on Facebook. and the advocates of Prop 37 may come across as alarmist. but the truth rises above the noise As every businessman knows. Low-income people care what they feed their kids too. unaware that it may contain genetically engineered ingredients. we embraced this feature as a way of leveling the playing field for the little guy. The reach is more than doubled because people are clicking “Like” and forwarding the message along. On Facebook.000. The Prop 37 team had already cultivated a vibrant fan community on Facebook. when it was actually started by a California farmer and mom (although she did get a lawyer to help with the. they’ve reached 3. That’s why.The issue is not whether GMO foods are safe or productive. every dollar this campaign spends on Facebook has as much impact as ten dollars spent on TV ads. I focused on Facebook. where anybody can pay $7 to increase the visibility of what they say. the voices of ordinary people speak louder than big corporations. The Best Advertising One might think Californians would succumb to this drumbeat of deceptive corporate commercials. anybody buying “all natural” food is likely overpaying. You can’t buy that. but it has one thing the opposition lacks: authenticity.

com/2012/10/25/super-pac-facebook-ad/ Alex Fitzpatrick October 25. it signals business as usual: that the influence of agribusiness corporations is still greater than the voice of ordinary people. 2012 The Ending Spending Action Fund. "Connect with friends and urge them to commit to vote. If it passes. both presidential candidates are making last ditch efforts to mobilize their constituencies -. The Prop 37 vote is a referendum on all food reform.com/2012/10/26/presidential-voters-facebook Neha Prakesh October 26.What happens in California doesn’t stay in California. wants to cast a new star for its latest Facebook video advertisement: you. a conservative-leaning Super PAC advocating for the reduction of the federal debt. The apps make it easy for voters to share with their friends and connections who they plan to vote for. ." the ad is essentially a Facebook app that uses pictures you've posted to Facebook to customize an interactive video template." Obama's team sent a similar email emphasizing that Facebook and online methods could help draw the needed support in swing states. More so. "I know I can count on your vote." the email says. and beyond GMOs. 2012 With less than two weeks until Election Day.to get on Facebook." Both candidates also provide links to their Facebook apps within the emails (Commit to Vote and Commit to Mitt). it signals to Congress and the White House that food issues sway votes. Called "The Ad About You. I’m passionate about Prop 37 because its impact goes beyond California. Will you be encouraging friends to vote on Facebook? Tell us in the comments below. Both President Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney are hoping their supporters use their own social networks to lift momentum for their respective campaigns. but you probably have some friends and family who need to be reminded how important their vote is. The Romney-Ryan team sent emails today saying. Prop 37 FTW! Mashable: Presidential Candidates Urge Voters to Get On Facebook http://mashable. If it fails. the emails make it evident that each campaign believes in the power of Facebook and social networks to translate an increased digital presence into a larger turnout at the polls. Mashable: Super PAC Wants to Put You in Its Facebook Ad http://mashable. from corn subsidies to antibiotics in meat. "You can make a defining difference by doing something as simple as reminding your Facebook friends and family to get out and vote for Mitt Romney.

to build mobile apps and to accept text-based donations." he said.html Steve Friess October 25. The president’s mobile app lets volunteers get lists of homes in their neighborhood that need lawn signs and banners. "There are a number of undecided voters and we're trying to reach them in every way possible: print ads. but even GOP operatives say they haven’t closed the digital divide with Barack Obama’s tech machine. per The New York Times. "It's an innovative idea. It's about real people talking to the neighbors. "I'm quite confident people will click on it. president of Ending Spending. the ad essentially asks if the viewer is better off under Barack Obama than he or she was before his presidency began. compared to Romney's $4. friends and family members about whom they're going to vote for this fall. approximately 6. your photos. photos shared with you and your customized friends lists -." As of press time. with a caption reading "We can do better "The ad strategy is very basic.When you install the app. it used almost entirely photos of himself and the person with whom he's listed as "In a Relationship" on Facebook.5 million on the 2012 presidential race. it asks for your basic info.com/news/stories/1012/82870. relationship status. tv ads and online ads. while Romney’s provides press releases and upcoming events. billionaire and founder of TD Ameritrade." said Brian Baker. Contextually. and if they like it they'll share it with friends and family. The app uses HTML5 and JavaScript to build the ad.7 million.politico. It has spent $4.everything it needs to customize the commercial. according to election filings. your family." When asked if he believed people would willingly allow Ending Spending to access their personal photos for use in a Super PAC video. Ending Spending is financed mainly by Joe Ricketts. The Obama campaign has spent $47 million on online ads so far. "The folks that star in this ad are your friends. Access The Ad About You right here.” such as geotargeting direct messages via Twitter this week. the campaign had posted video of it on YouTube. It ends with a shot of Mitt Romney and his wife Ann. 2012 BOSTON — Mitt Romney’s 120-member digital team has a seat in “the Gov’s” inner circle to push targeted ads on Facebook.180 people "liked" The Ad About You on Facebook. The Ad About You is particularly effective at putting photos of your closest loved ones in the advertisement -when this writer demoed the app. The Obama camp consistently scores digital “firsts. Google and Twitter. Would you give a Super PAC access to your Facebook photos to see them in an ad? POLITICO: Presidential Election 2012: Can Romney Close the Digital Divide? http://www. Baker said he thought they would. Within minutes of Obama's "horses and bayonets" zinger at the last debate. . mostly on ads attacking President Obama.

Romney’s staff contends they have the right stuff.” Critics of the Romney campaign’s tech efforts. rapidresponse teams. Case in point: Romney’s big win on the night of the first debate. Both sides have all the obvious tools — mobile apps. email fundraising programs.” The consensus from interviews with seven GOP online strategists and two swing-state Romney operatives is that the Romney team does everything Obama does. which has spent more money.” several top Republican digital strategists told POLITICO. During the 2008 debates. had about a dozen online staffers and didn’t include the digital director as senior staff. It’s not a disaster.com visitors were greeted with video clips and sound bites — as if he’d won them all.Thus. Still. just not as well. “Our job is not to be the best digital team in the country. For his part. whereas BarackObama. but if they do we’re in so much more trouble than I thought. after the debate in which Romney was said to have dominated. so they’re supposed to light the way. but it’s all so average and they’re going up against Mickey Mantle. which is shocking. during a tour of the cavernous offices where more than 120 paid staffers do Romney’s digital bidding. . he noted. Moffatt exuded a brew of optimism and defensiveness.” said Eric Frenchman. the McCain campaign was blogging. After three debates. “They can’t believe that. but hardly what Moffatt claims is “close to parity with the Obama folks. It’s long been assumed that the digital advantage goes to the Obama campaign.” said the online campaign director for a GOP Senate candidate in a swing state. online advertising strategies. Romney’s online efforts are more technologically sophisticated than the 2008 McCain campaign. there is comparatively little on MittRomney. including a number of Republicans. question whether Moffat’s crew has the speed and creativity to capitalize on important events online and convert positive messaging into votes.” Romney’s online chief Zac Moffatt told POLITICO in a recent interview in the cavernous headquarters of the campaign’s digital operations here. a key online consultant for John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid. who like many other Republican consultants declined to be quoted by name. as a tight race winds down and questions remain as to just how decisive a digital campaign is in the end.com. pretty graphics — but the Romney camp lacks the speed and creativity to capitalize on important moments with technology. Romney’s tech operation nonetheless is charged with helping turn momentum into votes. “We have our own operation. creating ad spots and developed a microsite for Joe The Plumber overnight. noting he’s had about six months to try to match a monster apparatus built by the Obama team for its legendary 2008 campaign and never dissembled. “We put a heavy emphasis on making sure digital is doing what is necessary to win. social media accounts. “There was no mention whatsoever of the debate for days on the homepage. it’s to be the best digital team for the political team to be successful in November. McCain. hired more tech staff and developed an in-house voter database that’s rumored to be a game-changer in politics. but it’s a presidential year.

He’s got a dozen staffers here creating region-specific Web banner ads. "That just insults everyone on the ground making calls and doing the walking. The Romney team has made six times as many phone calls to voters than at this point in 2008 and a total of more than 30 million voter contacts. "There’s simply not a comparable level of financial commitment to digital when you look at Romney’s campaign versus Obama's. is a way to target ads just to the pages of individual registered swing-state voters who may be undecided. we know every single time that the results are coming back to show that it does work. at the moment.) Moffatt said he can’t compare his data to Obama’s — “Anyone can make up numbers” — so he cites such favorable comparisons to the McCain effort. shrugged at the spending differential: “The problem with Obama is that every time I open up my Facebook page. why don't the other parts of a campaign have to show what’s going on?" Michael Turk. but once we do that. who was eCampaign Director for Bush-Cheney 2004. Obama is reputed to have amassed a gigantic email and phone list — the same FEC report showed Obama spending $363." A short time later. the Romney camp is not spending that much — and that might be one of the problems. At $47 million. but maybe some of that could be better used down here where it's needed. a gang there cutting video clips to post on YouTube. asked how he proves that." he said.” There lies a core difference between the two efforts. By the end of September. Obama has tried several new ways of reaching voters. Obama’s Twitter and Facebook audiences are also many times larger than Romney’s. from appearing on a Reddit live chat to inserting ads in video games. a line that doesn't exist on Romney's report and is probably accounted for under a different item." Actually." said Peter Pasi. They may be spending lots of money on the Web. he answered. "Digital is held to a different standard. the Romney campaign had knocked on more than 6 million doors in swing states versus 2. he said. they’re just using online advertising as a broadcast medium. was the Romney camp's decision to announce the selection of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential running mate via a smartphone app. I’ve got six Obama ads and I’m never going to vote for the guy. My bigger question to people on a campaign is.000 on text messages alone this cycle. One of the stranger choices. 6 and Romney was still shy of $5 million at the end of September. noting that that's "a reflection of the Gov's viewpoint on the world. FEC reports make it unclear how much each campaign spends on their overall digital efforts. "We have to constantly prove what we are doing. critics say. a veteran conservative direct marketer who has advised political candidates including Rick Santorum on digital fundraising and outreach. we get more resources.4 million for McCain through the entire race. They are trying to hit all the marks but they are likely underfunded. and yet. Obama is expected to dump as much as $100 million in Internet advertising by Nov. A Facebook envoy has taken up nearly full-time residence in Boston to help deploy the social network’s latest tools which. The move was compared to Obama’s . but observers say the online advertising differential alone is telling." Moffatt both defended his budget as generous and acknowledged the fact that the online team is under a microscope. (A similar Facebook envoy advises Obama.Moffatt said he’s on every strategy call and is integrated into all campaign efforts. "The Romney digital team probably has to continually justify resources that Obama's people just get rubber-stamped. he said. "They're taking credit for that?" growled a Romney staffer in Florida.

“For us. We needed some catalyst. The hype around the VP app also drove downloads — Moffatt claims their apps have been downloaded more than Obama’s. A Stanford graduate. “Look at BarackObama. “We have what we need to be successful in November.” The impression many outside the campaign have is that Obama’s efforts are more dynamic and interactive. view Obama as leading. But Romney’s app did not require anyone to provide personal information such as email or text message. his first campaign was in 2001 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Yet several other studies. five weeks to go. “We thought it was more important for us that it was a different way for a distribution system. referencing a study released recently by the analytics firm Socialbakers that he said shows Romney enjoys more engagement by followers and fans than Obama despite the president’s bigger audiences and more frequent tweets and status updates. Moffatt does have his bonafides.” Moffatt challenged that conventional wisdom.Com. The firm handled digital strategy for Rubio among others. by contrast. “I’m asked to grab a bite with Paul Ryan.” Moffatt countered. also noted that Obama’s tweet reacting to Clint Eastwood’s empty-chair routine at the RNC enjoyed six times as many retweets as Romney’s tweet announcing Ryan as his running mate. it was an entry point for us to get as many people to download the app as possible.’” said Daniel Kreiss. urgent. reflecting how easy it is to spin these metrics. which many digital campaign strategists viewed as a failure.” said Scott Goodstein. Bush’s successful re-election. It could be any day on the campaign. followed by key roles in the city’s host committee for the 2004 Republican National Convention and President George W. The Socialbakers study. they’re so caught up in all of their ‘We’re smarter than everyone’ hubris. and by all accounts more of those who signed up for Romney’s notification received theirs in a timely fashion. “These guys seem to be not understanding how data collection technology works.Com and you see it says ‘Time’s limited. He took on various roles for the national GOP and after the 2008 campaign he co-founded the GOP online campaign firm Targeted Victory. although there’s no independent way to verify that — and the VP app was later converted into an overall RomneyRyan app. Twitter and other outlets are banal and one-directional. “They are so caught up in their vanity metrics. You don’t get the information from an app.” At MittRomney. that Romney’s messages on Facebook.announcement of Joe Biden in 2008 via text message. meaning messages from campaign sends to their phones. 2012 debates. assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of “Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics From Howard Dean to Barack Obama. owner of the online campaign firm Revolution Messaging and external online director for Obama's 2008 campaign.” Moffatt said. find a watch party. “That is the clearest example of a missed an opportunity.” . They are convinced that they’re smarter than the marketplace.” Moffatt defended that decision by noting that most of those who downloaded the app agreed to receive “push” notifications. for instance. including one by Pew Research.

m. was shocked — she called the practice "truly despicable. we're taking a new approach.com/news/23032/do-you-care-if-obama-knows-you-voted-what-about-if-he-told-yourfriends Nick Judd October 22. On the other hand. We're sending this mailing to you and your neighbors to publicize who does and does not vote. Althouse. Charles Duhigg. partly taking place through mailers.This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 5:24 a." The mailer was the work of the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund. These are just parts of an interconnected web of experiments. This tactic. quotes an unnamed Democratic consultant wondering aloud if "this is the year to start shaming" — but it seems the finger-wagging and elbow-nudging has already begun. is partly driving the latest round of hand-wringing over the data-driven. highly targeted political present. to share a get-out-the-vote message with acquaintances in swing states. some recent evidence that suggests that voters are actually much less responsive to microtargeted or narrowly targeted messages than they are to more broad-based appeals. On it was Althouse's name as well as those of several of her neighbors. The latest round of fundraising emails from the Obama campaign includes messages that remind supporters of how much they have given to the campaign so far — or calls them out for not giving anything. This year. on October 25. These new initiatives play on the concept that what voters know about one another may turn out to be more important than what the campaigns themselves have on file. it was already old hat. a conservative law professor and blogger. . Mitt Romney's campaign just launched a similar tool. but it only seems to get worse. "Why do so many people fail to vote?" it asked. called "social pressure" by some and "shaming" by others. an associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Electoral Politics at Fordham University. "We've been talking about the problem for years. Tech President: Why Campaigns Are Happy Your Vote Isn’t as Private as Many Think It Is http://techpresident. along with whether they voted in the 2008 and 2010 general elections." complaining that "your vote is private" and "this is an effort to shame and pressure people about voting" — but by the time this strategy reached Wisconsin." said Costas Panagopoulos. In a recent article in The New York Times. thus sharing their friends lists with the campaign. and when they knew it "There is some evidence. 2012 The mailer that arrived in Ann Althouse's mailbox in June really creeped her out. he said. Rather than using commercial marketing data about voters. Another effort asks supporters who have signed in to the Obama for America Facebook app. partly driving new technology-driven communication over social networks. There are shades of this in the tools now in play from both presidential campaigns. What they know. author of a book that addresses targeted marketing. these strategies use public records and social connections to convince people to vote. 2012. several studies suggest that voters respond strongly to being contacted with their own personal information. a progressive group hoping to drive turnout ahead of this summer's critical recall elections.

but not midterms. In an interview. These people. threatening to out people to their neighbors as civic slackers. that's something that voters are very responsive to." Panagopoulos said. Senate candidate Mike Lee sent an email to supporters in Utah with an attachment that included the names and contact information of voters who had voted in presidential elections. explains. In 2010. Althouse wasn't the only one to think it was a violation of privacy. the email suggested. The volume of protest became so great that on June 4. . While the results weren't as dramatic as messages that sought to motivate by fear. Andy Gibbons. quotes a local voter. and come back with lists of their friends who a given campaign or political group believes might be persuaded to go out and vote. is an author of a study that experimented with what would happen if the message was less heavy-handed. Utah. presumably because voting is a social norm or a socially desirable activity and they don't want to be perceived as violating those norms. needed to be educated about the importance of midterm elections. But when the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund gave this a shot. pressure or no. and I think these are the people who have concerns about how much information is publicly available about their political behavior. Supporters of an effort to recall a Republican state senator derided the idea on a public Facebook thread and in the forums of Democratic Underground. In June. as calling the email "despicable. they still correlated with a notable rise in turnout. three days after Althouse received her copy of the mailer." A landmark 2008 study led by Yale University professor Alan Gerber found so-called "social pressure" of this nature. labor groups used a tool called Amicus during the Wisconsin recall effort. Amicus co-founder Seth Bannon explained that this is motivated in part by the same "social pressure" theories that informed the Wisconsin mailers. a progressive online community." Panagopoulos."So for example when you disclose people's recent voting history to others. This wasn't the only instance in which "voter shaming" generated more anger than embarrassment. the Fordham associate professor. He cited the Alan Gerber study by name. Another recent study also found that get-outthe-vote messages on Facebook. co-director of elections in Washington State. the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board put out a press release pointing out that the voter rolls were public. As soon as the news got out that "social pressure" works. Panagopoulos says the rate at which people objected to being targeted like this in an academic study was relatively low. Plenty of other people also objected to this use of voter data. The Daily Herald of Provo. how you vote is secret. expressed the same discomfort with this use of personal information. could increase voter turnout rates by upwards of eight percent more than a mailer that merely asked the recipient to go vote without mentioning personal information. And in the case of prior voting the academic literature has shown that voters are more likely to participate in elections when you disclose or threaten to disclose their electoral participation. Amicus users check their Facebook friends against a voter file. and nobody is suggesting that it shouldn't be. "Most people don't react with hostility. is correlated with higher turnout. campaigns began testing the practice and academics continued to study it in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles. Rather than trying to shame or pressure voters. his study focused on messages thanking people for voting in the past. the mailers were legal." As Shane Hamlin. But when you did or did not vote has always been a matter of public record. and none of the blame could be placed at the feet of Wisconsin officials. "but some voters find it offensive.

in my research it was delivered in the sense of being helpful. "That's the way it happened 10 years ago. Those mailers listed each donor's contribution along with the contributions of a few of their neighbors. This tool shows you which of your friends appear in a database as being registered to vote and gives you the opportunity to nudge them towards voting. led a study that sent mailers at random to people listed in the Federal Elections Commission database as donors who had given $200 or more." Personal Democracy Media is also involved in an initiative that puts this idea to use. a change Hamlin. Christopher Mann. One of those changes included making each voter's date of birth available for public inspection. "And then they were discovering all this information about themselves that was public that they did not know was public. I think it's still an important part of the democratic process. Campaigns and researchers alike know that at least some people are unsettled by increasing access to information about voting history. who received a mailer: . After the historically close 2004 governor's race in Washington. TechPresident's parent company is collaborating with the Internet freedom advocacy group Center for Rights on Vote with Friends. "You get a statewide list from us for the first time in 2006 and then some bloggers.'" But wrapping that "we know" message in the robes of academia is not always enough to cool people down. each voter's data of birth came online with it. identified by first name and last initial. people are confronted with more evidence that there's a difference between what they think is public about them and what actually is. When Washington's Help America Vote Act-mandated statewide voter database went online. resident Susan Kelley. who were still convinced that the 2004 election didn't come out the way it should have. 'We've seen that you don't vote in every election. Argentina. the database isn't perfect — for example. the state legislature there made changes to election law in the hopes of making it less likely for a close race to be decided as much by rounding errors as on who cast a ballot. is similar: In an election year."In the old days a campaign or political party could send a poll watcher to the sites to see who voted and who didn't and take that information back to the headquarters and get on the phone to remind people to vote. 'we know. "You can deliver that same information of. Supported by the Ford Foundation. Also this summer." That. "The availability of the Facebook aspect isn't really much different except that it's instant. Fla." Hamlin explained to me. "It can be delivered. Voting is done in private and secret. he suggested. of the Washington Secretary of State." Hamlin continued. generated a lot of phone calls." Mann said. he said." Hamlin said. an assistant professor at the University of Miami. "Big Brotherish" Inaccurate data is just one of many privacy concerns stirred up when it becomes obvious that voter registration information is being used to figure out who to target. says his office fought against and lost. The Chronicle of Higher Education quotes Orlando. it tried and failed to find my own voter registration. What's happening now.D student in economics and a researcher at Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Like all voter records. but it's still a community experience. a Harvard University Ph.' but deliver it in a way that is less threatening and Big Brotherish. Here are some resources to help you vote. created searchable databases. conducted research that focused specifically on voter backlash.

" Bannon said." he said. but it quickly is." Some voters. Nonetheless. the researcher on the Harvard project." he wrote in an email. and people shouldn't be publicly called out for deciding not to vote." Just more noise on the channel Political campaigns know that this type of contact can be disconcerting. campaigns start to think more about using tactics they might not otherwise. anything — can cut through the intense amount of noise directed at voters in key states like Ohio. "What's interesting is there was some reluctance to at first use any social pressure and then they got comfortable using some sort of social pressure. "What's not clear to me is if it's going to make a difference given all the other things that are out there. like the Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse. "We hope that the research will shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of different disclosure policies. advocates for transparency as a social force while at the same time the success of his business depends on it. say that not voting is a legitimate choice.” When contacted by email. that's the future he sees: One where people know and accept that attendance is taken in the public square and their friends are keeping track.“While I am well aware that the information is public. Amicus' founder." he said later on in our conversation. What isn't clear is if any kind of communications — targeted advertising. a future where everyone's political cards are on the table is inevitable. said Mann." . "I talk to a lot of campaign professionals. “I am no more interested in the contributions of my neighbors to their favorite politicians than I am in how they vote. overt pressure using personal information. "I think public perception hasn't caught up to the technology yet. like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg." A more open future? For people like Seth Bannon. And as the stakes go up. which we believe is a very important issue." Mann told me. saying data analysis was not yet complete. Bannon is not one of those people. They also know that studies indicate it can help them win. Perez Truglia. the University of Miami professor who did research on the backlash potential of social pressure to vote.” she writes in an e-mail. It's as much a way to participate as voting." "Maybe they thought that doing shaming might have felt over the top or inappropriate in a past election but now it feels justified. "I think that voting is a civic responsibility as citizens. as is a great deal of other information about each of us. "and you're not going to change the process by not participating in it. "We're definitely moving towards a world where my friends will know whether I voted in the last election or not and they're going to let me hear about it if I didn't. "One of our aims is to study the implications of the public’s awareness about the open nature of campaign contributions. declined to go into details about his study. Bannon. I was offended that Harvard University would feel it was in the interests of research to urge people to view each other’s political contributions.

That barrage is making Ohioans tune out. "Unrelated to social pressure. and social pressure. You're free to do that. begin to make sense." Mann said. "and would not get off the phone with me until he exhibited shame and apologized for calling. I think it's creepy. The state has already been open for early voting for two weeks. available connections. The Romney campaign has also launched an app that rifles through users' Facebook friends and highlights potential voters to contact on the campaign's behalf. it can backfire. "The Power of Habit. "The logic behind this is the impact of these messages will be stronger from their friends.if it was someone I knew so I answered the phone -would get a piece of my mind." Mann said. It isn't the fourth phone call they receive in a night." Althouse wrote to me in an email. about the argument that a voter's history is open and voting is a civic duty. but does so in a way that is subtle enough not to piss anyone off. . I asked Ann Althouse. has in recent days been sending emails to supporters asking them to contact friends in battleground states with early voting. I hope it backfires.Ohio is awash in advertising money from the campaigns and outside groups. I also pointed out to her that new tools allowed campaigns to identify the likeliest voters from among a supporter's Facebook friends and give that supporter ideas about how to gently nudge them towards the ballot box. the caller -. she said. "That's from psychology." is focused on studies of behavior and how they are applied to business. and has another two weeks left to go. ugly. I feel the same way about playing on racial fears. The Romney and Obama campaigns are treating every day in Ohio like it's election day. there will be a backlash of condemnation that makes it a net loss." Both presidential campaigns now seem to be trying to find a path to victory that plays on this combination of available information. that's obviously informed by a campaign's hope that it will pressure her to vote? "If such a call went through at my house. focused on person-to-person contact." she wrote. for instance. I asked." That's where these emerging experiments at the margins. but they do ask supporters to reach out based on things the campaigns know about those supporters' friends. like where they live. Some of them are getting emails asking them to share Facebook messages with friends in states like Ohio and Nevada that have the potential to decide the entire election. the Wisconsin law professor who protested against getting that overtly threatening mailer from the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund. There's a common-sense piece here that a big challenge for campaigns in this electoral environment is delivering a message that they pay attention to. Obama supporters who have signed in to the Obama for America Facebook app have shared their friends list with the campaign. "You can't get people to answer the phone in Ohio. and you might sway some votes that way. "but if using it subjects you to condemnation." What about friends who reach out on Facebook. Neither of those appear to include a Big-Brother style message about following up to tell everyone if the voter cast a ballot. Charles Duhigg's book. Mann said. "I'm aware of the research that says this social pressure works." This post has been updated. and embarrassing for the candidate who stoops to this method. and quite another to use it for a political purpose. It's one thing to keep track of who voted to make sure an election is fair and the tally is accurate. not only targeted marketing. or make a phone call. I'm conducting experiments in battlefield states. The Obama campaign. it isn't another piece in a stack of mail.

How it all played out: Breakdown of mentions was provided by U. Twitter came 4 million tweets short last night of breaking the record set by the first presidential debate. Obama’s campaign out-tweeted Romney’s. Despite the social media slump.This post has been corrected to give Shane Hamlin's proper title. This post has been corrected to properly explain mailers sent out this summer with donor information. both campaigns were able to enlist new followers on various social media platforms. even re-tweeting non campaign accounts such as @ThinkProgress and @EdHenryTV. including economy (20 percent). but the conversation often strayed to other topics as well. He is co-director of elections. taxes (7 percent). not first initial and last name.com/uspolitics) and @gov on Twitter (www. Twitter and Facebook. Politics on Facebook (www.com/nov05election/2012/10/23/social-media-battle-obama-engages-more-votersdespite-aggressive-romney-debate-strategy/ Jana Kasperka October 22.com/@gov). Obama’s team was once again able to engage more users throughout the night. not assistant secretary of state. 2012 The pundits have declared Barack Obama to be the winner of last night’s third and final presidential debate of the 2012 general election. The big loser? It’s not Mitt Romney. They included donors' first names and last initials. and energy and environment (4 percent). Engagement: Just as in the last debate. (Jana Kasperkevic/Hearst Newspapers) This might have been a foreign policy debate. Besides the spike in activity over Obama’s “fewer horses and bayonets” comment. Call it debate fatigue or social media overkill. the prime sources of instant commentary on the presidential campaign. The loser in the bid for buzz was social media itself.twitter. SFGate: Social Media Battle: Obama Engages More Voters Despite Aggressive Romney Debate Strategy http://blog. rung up lower numbers than the record-breaking response to the first debate. And who was the winner? Even though Republicans clearly approached social media with a specific strategy in mind.facebook.sfgate.S. @BarackObama Twitter account was actively tweeting and re-tweeting during the debate. .

743 times.3 million during the first debate. and “Nothing Governor Romney” worldwide. the graphic was only re-tweeted 7.458 times. Considering. considering that the amount of tweets sent out during the debate only reached 6. splurged for a promoted trend of #CantAfford4more.2 million during the second debate and 10. Both campaigns also utilized Twitter to solicit donations by sending out the following tweets: Prior to the debate. . While Romney for President Inc. The tweet containing the graphic did not include any instructions for engagement and consequently.While @RomneyResponse did tweet quite frequently during the debate. (Jana Kasperkevic/Houston Chronicle) The Last Presidential Debate in Trends: P Republicans went into this debate prepared to dominate the social media. which was streaming the debate. #StopNDAA did in fact trend in Texas early on and later even became a nationwide as well as worldwide Twitter trend. with Obama’s “fewer horses and bayonets” and Shieffer’s “I think we all love teachers” comments. as always there were number of peak moments during the debate. which appear on various searches for both Obama and Romney. The Twitterverse might have been suffering from debate fatigue during this third and final presidential debate. the graphic was shared 19. Romney’s graphic received more “likes. Romney’s campaign might have paid to have a promoted trend. but it only got half of the shares and comments that Obama’s graphic did. Obama’s campaign also shared the following graphic on Twitter and on Facebook. (Jana Kasperkevic / Houston Chronicle) Stop the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) organization had its own plans for last night’s debate – to Twitter bomb it with hash tag StopNDAA. one could say that they were equally successful in engaging Facebook users.979 to Obama’s 139. The day of the third presidential debate.931.S. The campaign engaged the Facebook users by specifically asking them to “Share” the post and within 34 minutes. @TruthTeam2012 not only tweeted more but also engaged more users by also re-tweeting non campaign affiliated accounts such as @TheFix and @JeffreyGoldberg. #CantAfford4More was the promoted trend both worldwide and in the U. also paid to promote tweets on such searches. Even his response “Nothing Governor Romney says is true” became a “Nothing Gov” trending topic in the U. YouTube. down from 7.5 million. over the span of nine hours.” 183. organizations such End Spending Action Fund and American CrossRoads paid for promoted pro-Romney/Ryan tweets. both campaigns posted engaging messages accompanied by colorful graphics on their Facebook pages. Obama’s campaign asked their followers and supporters to share the image above if they thought that President Obama had won the third and last presidential debate. However.S. that Romney only has one third of the followers on Facebook that Obama has. but Obama’s zingers such as his response that Romney is attempting to “airbrush history” and his “fewer horses and bayonets” comment quickly became worldwide trends. However.

the narrative that the president lost had already been set. for example.963 people and shared nearly 57. an official said.861 times. Surveys show that voters expect candidates to have a social media presence. gather intelligence about what messages are resonating and why. North Carolina. two Romnesia postings on Obama’s Facebook page were “liked” by 364. reaches the political community more than it does undecided voters. They can monitor online conversations. During last week’s rematch between the president and Romney at Hofstra University in New York.bloomberg. a campaign official said. leveraging its ability to communicate with masses on different platforms in ways that weren’t possible in 2008. Within 48 hours. The president’s account.1 million Facebook (FB) page “likes” versus Romney’s 10.with speech excerpts was liked or re-posted 16. recruit volunteers and look for indications of whether they’ve been successful at voter persuasion.system is just so different and so new. Today. Kennedy School of Government.html Julianna Goldman October 22. Twitter. a professor at Harvard University’s John F. If #Hashtagwars Really Matter http://www. with different sites targeted to different demographics and serving varying roles. Obama pioneered the use of social media in presidential politics.com/news/2012-10-22/obama-winning-social-media-if-hashtagwars-reallymatter. who wins the election will become the true metric for judging whether Obama’s 31. “Obama is operating at a different order of magnitude than Romney just in terms of raw numbers. Within 24 hours of President Barack Obama dubbing Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s policy shifts as “Romnesia. Twitter Fight The Obama campaign made an effort not to cede Twitter ground in the remaining debates.or GIFs -. A supporter records Mitt Romney on an iPad as he speaks during a campaign stop in Charlotte. On Tumblr. a new front has opened in the 2012 election: the #hashtagwar. . drive enthusiasm and boost turnout.2 million posted Twitter messages referenced the debate.696 times. when Facebook was one-tenth its size today and before smart phones were the norm. day-to-day coverage and accelerates news cycles in a way that campaign officials said was exemplified during the first presidential debate in Denver. a series of animated pictures -. It’s really hard to figure out what is actually going to matter. It’s a multi-pronged strategy. The Obama team lost the Twitter war then because within 30 minutes. the candidates and related terms.2 million matters. who studies the integration of social media and politics. Obama’s campaign again has the upper hand.” #Romnesia was trending worldwide on Twitter. Photographer: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images Four years ago. Yet 2012 may present the first test of whether it makes a difference. Obama’s campaign uses online activity to boost fundraising efforts. It shapes perceptions.” True Test Ultimately.” said Nicco Mele. 7. 2012 In the battle to win every undecided voter.Bloomberg: Obama Winning Social Media. “We’re effectively in the dark ages of this. The eco. with the Internet an integral part of people’s lives.

through sharing.or 39 percent of all American adults -. “The goal of our digital team is to be the best team that complements the objectives of the campaign. not to be viewed as the smartest digital entity in the country. Social Networking Reach According to Pew.5 times as many phone calls and knocked on nearly four times as many doors than at this point four years ago.have done at least one civic or political activity with social media. a Facebook page popped up and a steady flow of memes. according to Zac Moffatt. was soon coursing through the virtual world. Romney’s handle. “People are swimming in a sea of political information and political chatter. Volunteers and aides have made 3. Last night. @MittRomney. Romney is on par in terms of the percentage of his supporters who are engaged. Internet photos with superimposed logos. In the campaign’s final weeks. both the candidates’ Facebook pages had 2.tweeted 6. 36 percent of social networking site users say the online communications are “very important” or “somewhat” important to them in keeping up with political news. according to a Pew survey. director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. A hashtag began trending nationally on Twitter.9 million people talking about them. it sparked ridicule that ballooned on the web. Roughly 60 percent of American adults use such sites as Facebook or Twitter and 66 percent of those users -. Extending Grassroots .” ‘Vanity’ Metrics Romney campaign officials say their adversaries are relying on a set of “vanity” metrics and that the barrage of Facebook posts. binders and Big Bird When Romney said in the debate that he ordered up “binders full of women” to bring gender diversity to his Massachusetts cabinet. While Obama may have more Facebook likes. Twitter messages and re-tweets end up more like spam. for example.” said Moffatt.374 times. sent out 37 messages during the 90-minute debate.” said Lee Rainie. Romney’s social media operation has mobilized volunteers through online communities and driven voter turnout efforts.S. the Romney campaign’s digital director.810 times. Senator John McCain of Arizona. “The system has expanded because social media is now a very central part of campaign messaging and the way that people are talking about the election. they can distribute without cost content that potentially reaches almost everyone in the U. surpassing the metrics for the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. which were then re-tweeted 117. Obama campaign officials said friend-to-friend validation and contact is more important than whether #bindersfullofwomen is trending. When friends of friends are factored into Obama’s 31 million Facebook followers. Thirty-eight percent have used social media to “like” or promote material related to political or social issues that others have posted. they said. Related slideshow: Digital heckling with bayonets. Facebook provides the most mileage in terms of outreach and targeting persuadable voters.@BarackObama. For that. sent two Twitter messages which were then re.

.250 for “Moms for Mitt. The “Women for Obama” page has 1. social media plays to Obama’s demographic strengths with younger voters participating more. Florida. which amount to 18 percent of his total. “And they keep talking about smaller and smaller things.16 million fans compared with the 92.” saying he had no agenda for the future. according to the Campaign Finance Institute. The algorithm for identifying potential Obama voters in swing states is far from perfect. Also. the Obama campaign had raised $147 million from donors who had given him a cumulative total of $200 or less. “A lot of the activity online is preaching to the choir in order to significantly boost online fundraising. the center found.” said Rainie.” said Mele. sending messages asking supporters on its email list to contact specific individuals in states with early voting to remind them to vote. 2012 The Obama campaign has ramped up its email microtargeting efforts.“Social media is a natural extension of our massive grassroots organization and a variety of platforms offer unique opportunities to inform voters. “most voters aren’t living their lives waiting for what’s the new meme that’s going to help them decide their vote.” said Adam Fetcher. Small Donors That was 34 percent of his total receipts from individuals over the course of the campaign. The campaign also uses Facebook as a cheap way to quickly communicate and organize supporters.” Use of social media also provides multiple opportunities to raise money.html Byron Tau October 22.politico. The numbers for Obama far exceeded Romney’s $39. Through August.” POLITICO: Obama Campaign Emails Now Targeting Specific Individuals http://www.com/politico44/2012/10/obama-campaign-emails-now-targeting-specific-individuals139211. who directed Internet operations for Democrat Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential primary campaign. Romney accused Obama of running an “incredible shrinking campaign” based on “silly word games. an official said. mobilize supporters and get more people involved more deeply in this historic election.5 million from small donors. a campaign spokesman.” To be sure. “Social media is very good at talking to people who agree with you and convincing them to take more actions but it’s really not clear if it’s good at changing someone’s mind. Romney and his advisers argue Obama’s campaign is overly taken with petty catch-phrases and Internet fads at a time when voters are preoccupied with much larger issues. 19 rally in Daytona Beach. “This is a big country with big opportunities and big challenges.” Romney said. a Washington. particularly on sites like Tumblr. They cited women’s outreach as especially effective through Facebook. At an Oct.based group that analyzing political donations.

000 additional votes during the 2010 election. Lira tells TechCrunch the first-of-its kind app was inspired by both a personal meeting with Mark Zuckerberg. to contact a self-described conservative-libertarian blogger based in Nevada. the Obama campaign asked Soren Dayton. instead being wasted on the ears of unregistered citizens. a well-known open government advocate in Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor’s office. Mitt Romney's campaign has rolled out a similar tool called Commit to Mitt. for example. draws on Facebook’s “open graph” feature that permits software to personalize services based on a user’s information and activity history. which connects supporters to voters in swing states via Facebook. most political posts won’t be seen by undecided voters in battleground states. “Commit to Mitt” unearths which friends live in influential states or have a (public) history of interacting with Romney’s facebook page and recommends messaging them. committed partisans. The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a question about whether they have or are planning any similar Facebook/email integration. one Facebook app. The tool works in conjunction with Facebook — and suggestions of what voter to contact are only generated only after supporters give the campaign permission to access a list of their Facebook friends. how can we make sure that activity is purposeful and effective at making a difference for the campaign. 2012 Election-mania has driven more than 60% of Facebook users to engage civically or politically on the social network.” says Matt Lira. the app recommends posting a message to their wall. or are likely to be more influential with a broadcast message. or those residing in guaranteed blue and red states. The app. and recent scientific evidence that Facebook political . If users don’t have closeted supporters. first launched with TechCrunch. A recent study showed that a Facebook message informing users which of their friends had voted resulted in 340. The app is a welcome addition to the nearly 1/5th of social media users who admit to blocking friends who use the Internet as their personal political soapbox. The New York Times reported last week that campaigns have been testing whether personal contact from an acquaintance is more effective than from a unknown campaign volunteer. Yet. Encouraging such peer-to-peer contacts is on the rise among campaigns and will likely be standard practice in future cycles — for good reason. “All one needs to do is look at their own newsfeed to know that people want to talk about this election on Facebook. Tech Crunch: Romney’s New Facebook App Knows Which Friends Are Most Influential http://techcrunch.In an email shared with POLITICO. given their geography and history of Facebook political activity. a former John McCain campaign staffer (who had signed up to the campaign's email list and authorized it to access his Facebook account). who now works on Romney’s digital team. Team Romney has therefore devised a clever app that finds which friends are most likely to be influential on Election Day.com/2012/10/22/romneys-new-facebook-app-knows-which-friends-are-most-influential/ Gregory Ferenstein October 22. Indeed. the question is. But it's the logical culmination of campaign email programs and social networking. Nopple (“no politics please”) automatically blocks political posts for those users who still want to be friends after the election. during a well-publicized visit by House Republicans. The researchers concluded that voters who saw their friends had voted were much more likely to turn out to vote.

Now you can target Facebook pals who are not only influential but still want to be friends after hearing you talk about politics. .” said New York University Professor. campaigns and interest groups a sharper idea of how candidates and issues may fare at the ballot box.Political ads on the airwaves have been so pervasive this year that voters in battleground states probably see them in their sleep. But when a political spot pops up while surfing the Web. CNN: Microtargeting: How Campaigns Know You Better Than You Know Yourself http://www. raising concerns about personal privacy in a medium where government regulation is minimal. Obama. and no battleground citizens see it. caused by friends sharing the message. it is an information-age approach that is helping change how political groups identify and interact with voters. it's the reason the Federalist Papers were anonymous. there's a good chance it's aimed right at you. "there is none." said Chris Calabrese.com/2012/11/05/politics/voters-microtargeting/index.2% more voters to polls in 2010. The study confirms other experimental evidence which finds that personal Facebook messaging can be more influential than broadcast-style wall posts. They then match it to the publicly available voter rolls that were digitized as a part of a new federal law aimed at efforts to help improve voting procedures after the ballot controversies of the 2000 election. Sinan Aral. does it make a difference? Probably not. Surfing the Web leaves a trail of browser history that allows marketing companies to glean insight into personal interests. 2012 (CNN) -. "Anonymity has been crucial to our political process. The study found that a mass get-out-the-vote campaign drove 2. Personal messages “are better for building a loyal customer base and make a product stickier. Romney make a mad dash in a final bid for votes In fact. Moreover. legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. Do you read The New York Times or watch Fox News? Do you have children? Do you shop in high-end stores or hunt for bargains on eBay? Do you support the Sierra Club or Club for Growth? Political strategy firms like Democratic DSPolitical and Republican CampaignGrid are gathering or buying up that data. It's the reason for the secret ballot.cnn. Most importantly. microtargeting may give pollsters.messages boost voter turnout." he said.html Allison Brennan November 5. 80% of the effect was indirect. If a pro-Romney message gets posted in a forest of California voters. Check out the app here. The practice is called microtargeting and like a lot of marketing techniques on the Internet aimed at identifying consumer tastes and behaviors.

" DSPolitical and CampaignGrid aren't the only ones in the game. "The reality is that we are more focused on privacy and we have more privacy protections than direct mail . "The data has been commercially available data for years -. Final CNN/ORC national poll: It's all tied up Google. including political information. For instance. where they shop and other consumer behavior tracked for decades off line. This all is aimed at helping them determine how someone might vote and then reaching them wherever they go online. albeit in a different way. And he said these strategies infringe less on privacy because they don't use names or physical mailing addresses like direct mail. location or other criteria. we're targeting you if you tend to vote or participate in the democratic process. Micro-targeting offers clues to early vote leads It is so efficient and such a natural extension of direct mail that Walsh called the way microtargeting is being used today "inevitable." Lieberman said. to target its users based on specific demographic information.and has worked to match them against lists of some 250 million voters in the United States.." Facebook is also using its vast amount of personal information during the election. Jim Walsh of DSPolitical said the company has so far aggregated more than 600 million cookies -. Both companies said they use a third party vendor to remove that data and match the files.What these firms receive is detailed information about how often a potential voter has cast a ballot in addition to data on what they read. Google said it doesn't collect or allow its advertisers to use personally identifiable information. political or otherwise.. offering candidates the chance to "promote your videos using Google AdWords for video to reach exactly the audience you want -by age." Lieberman said." In response to privacy advocates. But it does allow marketers. calling it "part of the special sauce. Lieberman wouldn't identify CampaignGrid's vendor. has used for decades. . This they said is because lists generated from browser histories are stripped of any personal information before they are used to target potential voters.we're not targeting you by who you voted for. CampaignGrid President Jordan Lieberman and Walsh said they aren't doing anything that hasn't been done before. gender. Facebook and other data powerhouses are also in on the action.or tags on Internet user IP addresses that track movements online -. to reach potential customers or voters. The company launched its Google Political Toolkit and campaign tools via YouTube.

especially at the presidential level. you're likely to have a different set of values . they dictate scripts that door-to-door canvassers read. "Many people like that Amazon knows what kind of books they like." 86% of Americans surveyed said they did not." said Hersh. Data helps and permits campaigns to talk to people about issues they care about." said Eitan Hersh. What companies.Currently there are more than 110. "How do you start by trying to convince 200 million people that you they should vote for you?" asked Hersh. ProPublica also reported on how other search engine giants are selling their users' browser history to campaigns. "People like being targeted in many ways. While Facebook doesn't hand over personally identifiable information. Provisional ballots could be key if Ohio margin razor thin Sixty-four percent said their support for a candidate would decrease if they found out a candidate was microtargeting them differently than their neighbor.000 political Facebook pages in the United States and more than 11. of course... "The task is hard." Hersh said. When asked if they wanted "political advertising tailored to your interests. . The study also found that 20% more respondents reacted more strongly to political targeting than they did to being targeted as a consumer. "There's a lot to say in favor of campaigns targeting voters in this way." But there is always a danger that the campaign will misfire or that the ads will seem like "pandering. a political science professor at Yale University who studies the impact of microtargeting on campaigns and the political process. If a campaign knows that you're of this religion and this race and went to college. And the data does help. Know your polling place Besides ads that show up before a YouTube video or banner ads on the websites users visit. the campaign is likely to reach out to you on those attributes. Still.S." he continued.000 U." he explained. They also improve efficiency of campaign voter turnout efforts and reduce costs since ads online are significantly less expensive than television spots. "The downside. microtargeting makes an uphill process easier for the campaigns. (but) there is a lot to be concerned about. and campaigns are doing isn't popular with the public.-based pages for politicians. it does allow advertisers to seek out subsections of the population based on their preferences on Facebook. Is that we might not like being stereotyped. who follow a model of self regulation. according to a Facebook spokesman. according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg school of Communication released last July.

the four terms or phrases used most in posts or comments from users in the United States are vote. they favor an optin versus the opt-out option currently available to consumers and voters -. With more than 170 million people."online video inventory has been sold out." Calabrese said. in many of the key battleground states looking into the final days of the campaign. The big problem for advertisers these days is that everyone is fast forwarding through their videos. Yahoo recently said it would not honor the "Do Not Track" button Microsoft is installing in Microsoft Explorer 10. population. "We can serve a pre-roll video ad." CNN: Election Takes Over American Conversation on Facebook http://politicalticker." But don't look for this practice to end." Lieberman said. over half the U. The next frontier is to reach voters with ads on their "IP-addressable" television sets. this gives a glimpse into how the elections are taking over the American conversation. According to data provided to CNN by the social media giant. actively using Facebook. Calabrese says the trick is not getting browsers to add the mechanism. CampaignGrid signed a deal with AT&T combining AT&T's mobile network with its online voter data files.With Election Day just hours away. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook .cnn." A sign of how often these ads are used by political campaigns -. Romney. And Lieberman says they are adding data crunching power to what he calls "rich data sets. referring to ads viewers see before videos online. it forces you to watch it before you get to your content. Facebook says that typically the top terms on a Sunday and Monday in the Fall are related to football. To put that further into context. the election has dominated Facebook chatter among users in the United States. microtargeting can also guarantee that voters actually see campaign ads.In the age of DVR. but getting other Web companies to agree to it. Lieberman says it's just the beginning. "There's no turning back on microtargeting.S. & election.a "Do Not Track" mechanism. "which is great stuff. during the commercial breaks on their favorite shows. Privacy and civil liberties activists don't propose shutting down online advertising. 2012 (CNN) . Looking toward the next election cycle. Could close race produce a popular/electoral vote split? "The pushback has been that there is a business model out there that wants to track you all the time. Obama. Instead." Walsh said." As Duke political science professor Sunshine Hillygus said. "They can wring more and more advertising dollars out of you.blogs. serving the same targeted ads that people see online.com/2012/11/05/election-takes-over-american-conversation-on-facebook/ Eric Weisbord November 5.

San Diego. The social network is expected to post messages for its voting-age members in the U. all relate to the NFL.Sunday football .Doug Martin (Rookie Buccaneers" running back rushed 251 yards and scored 4 touchdowns in Sunday's win over the Raiders) CNET: Facebook Wants You – To Vote http://news. The top terms are over a 24-hour period (12pm Saturday to 12pm Sunday). ads on TV. President Obama. Sunday football. said it's difficult to give a hard number on how many more people would vote because of a note on their Facebook pages.." a reference to Guy Fawkes Day. So how much would a nudge from Facebook affect this year's election? Lee Rainie. Falcons & Doug Martin..Election . It will be hard to isolate a single metric.com/8301-1023_3-57544722-93/facebook-wants-you-to-vote/ Donna Tam November 5. since it's difficult to pinpoint what moves a voter. brochures. Obama's record) . "The messaging is saturated with automated calls. 2012 When you log in to Facebook on Election Day you will likely be greeted by a note reminding you of your civic duty. In a study led by the University of California.The fifth most popular term is "Remember the 5th of November. The note included a link to polling places and an "I Voted" button that would let your friends know you went to the polls. In modern day. Top 8 Trending terms/phrases in the US right now: . researchers showed that these 2010 users were persuaded less by civic duty and more by peer pressure... When you decide to broadcast that you voted. vote tomorrow) .Obama (Obama.cnet." he said. the director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Users who saw the same message with no friends' photos attached were just as likely to vote as users who didn't receive a message at all.Vote (remember to vote. an annual commemoration of a seventeen-century attempt to blow up the British parliament.Romney .Falcons (Beat Cowboys in the Sunday Night Football game) . Users who saw photos of friends who voted attached to the message were more likely to vote.S. as it did in 2010 when it sent out a "Today is Election Day" note to the 61 million users who were of voting age.Remember the 5th of November ('gunpowder treason' and other terms around Guy Fawkes Day) . . the phrase has been adopted by anti-government protesters and activists as a rallying cry. you could be inadvertently convincing your friends to go out and vote as well. The next three terms.

" Rainie said. Rainie said Pew's studies have shown that Facebook affects how people vote. All but a couple of the nine candidates have been stumping at senior housing developments and large public candidate forums. After the 2008 presidential election. "People can watch more. the social network has been increasing its own efforts to encourage voting. Signs are all over town. Now that percentage has dropped to 35 percent. He published a study Friday about how social media -." Rainie said of Facebook." It'll be interesting to see how things play out this time around. Now everybody is sure of it.66 percent of U. "It was still a novelty and a sidelight. In 2008. Overall. 16 percent actually changed their minds about an issue because of what they encountered on social media.mainly Facebook -. Political campaigns have increasingly touted Facebook as a valuable tool. there's more reason to complain about the team that is in power. Mailboxes have been stuffed with literature. its not a surprise that those discussions are happening there now. But this time around he has more competition in the space. partnering with CNN to launch an "I'm Voting" app this year. "Social media just puts this all on a much grander stage.com/hemet/2012/11/03/hemet-will-facebook-factor-in-tuesdays-city-council-election/ Craig Schultz November 3. 72 percent of Facebook's adult users were under the age of 35. 2012 The Hemet City Council election race has been anything but quiet. In July.But what seems clear is that Facebook has changed at least some Americans' approach to politics. and from watching how others who are really engaged are talking about an issue. Internet users who are of voting age use Facebook. That's because the media covers those in power the most. conservatives and Republicans took to posting. some pundits pointed to Barack Obama's command of the network as a factor in his success. And since 69 percent of Internet users are on Facebook.S. particularly because Facebook's demographics have changed dramatically since the last presidential election. and adding voter registration as a preset "life event" on its Timeline. Facebook was mainly used by liberals and Democrats to talk about political issues.pe. What's more.affects political views. . When the roles of power reversed." In addition to political campaigns turning to Facebook as a tool to connect with voters. In 2008. Hemet Press Enterprise: Will Facebook Factor in Tuesday’s City Council Election http://blog. Rainie said. "When you're out of power. It's an opportunity for campaigns and public agencies to increase voter turnout -. grander conversations unfold. The study found that 25 percent of users surveyed say they became more active in regard to a political issue after discussing it or reading posts about it on social media. "That's why Obama owned the space as much as he did. Facebook partnered with Washington state to let users register to vote through a Facebook app. Rainie found that Facebook is a sounding board for those who feel they aren't in power." Rainie said. people often make political decisions based on two things: how the media portrays an issue.

so they won’t be voting on the Hemet candidates. “There are a few hecklers or bomb throwers who have a political agenda. how much of a difference will the Facebook crowd. She said she was involved in the Tea Party movement and that too many people. said he expects the Facebook group will have a noticeable impact. They think everybody should get involved like these folks have. the sitting mayor. Crimeni said he believes the group is a couple thousand strong.737 members. have on the outcome of the race? Hundreds of people. Brishen Kruse. said he is not sure how Facebook will play in the outcome.” she said.” he said. organized on social media. she said. and that may be true for Hemet’s Facebook crowd as well. Is there a Facebook group platform? Richard Avila is not sure.189 friends.But in the end. turned out at City Council meetings this summer demanding that the city do something about such quality of life issues as crime and blight. I asked six of the candidates whether that translates into a voting bloc and whether it will be large enough to determine the outcome of the election. . for lack of a better description. There were so many people that council meetings were moved – temporarily – to the public library where the Rebuild Hemet folks continue to have tailgate potlucks in the parking lot on meeting nights.” he told me. “Considering that I am running on the Facebook group platform. but “there are a lot of senior citizens in the community who don’t even go on Facebook. and Hemet’s large senior population. The Rebuilding Hemet group on Facebook has 2. were under the mistaken impression that everyone agreed on all of the issues.” he said. Now my fear is that it is going to hurt the folks who want to do cleaning projects and things like that. will decide the outcome. It is difficult to get the message out. including the press. “I think they will influence the election. “We don’t all think in lock step. Robert Youssef. Rebuild Hemet has 3. “For the most part these are good citizens who want to clean up the town.” Many of the Facebook followers live outside the city limits. the write-in. They say it is making a difference. He thinks they. I certainly hope so.” Shellie Milne said she is wating to see. He says some postings indicate the entire group is endorsing candidates when other members may disagree. Bonnie Wright said there is a core group of followers who will be influenced. All of them praised the movement.

Twitter Court Political Campaigns http://online. "There's not an advertising product that they offered that we haven't at least beta-tested." Mr. Facebook pitched Mr. courting presidential candidates.45% political-advertising arm in 2007. Romney's campaign. These ads.com website. "We want to spend every waking moment talking to political advertisers about how they can use Twitter to win.000 Twitter users clicked on it." The ad. Romney's campaign also recently purchased Twitter ads so when a person searches Twitter.81% and Twitter Inc. MeetPaulRyan.wsj. The ad showed up at the top of the Twitter page when users searched for terms such as "Romney. Mr. known as a "promoted tweet.com for "Obama. which has since bought more than two dozen Twitter ads. declining to give specifics on how much the campaign has spent on social-media ads. FB +0. The social-media companies "have been in tune to what we're trying to accomplish." appeared about 160. About 10% of people who viewed the ads clicked through. said American Bridge President Rodell Mollineau. They've also staffed up to work with political campaigns to tailor ads to specific voters and snag ad dollars. The campaign is now one of the biggest buyers of Facebook mobile ads. . That's when Twitter came into the picture. RUSLI 11/02/2012 Social-media companies Facebook Inc. Twitter's head of political advertising sales and the executive who established Google Inc.000 times. Romney's campaign to be among the first users of the service's ads on cellphones. which show up in a Facebook user's news feed. Romney's page and indicate which friends are fans of the candidate. political-action committees and interest groups to siphon off some of the billions of dollars spent on election ads. Democratic opposition-research group American Bridge 21st Century wanted to bring attention to its new website. said American Bridge." "Paul Ryan" or "vice president.'s GOOG +1.com/article/SB10001424052970204707104578092990628610764. American Bridge decided to pay for a Twitter message to promote its MeetPaulRyan." said Peter Greenberger. the companies have met with hundreds of political groups to tutor them on effective social-media ad strategies. When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked running mate Paul Ryan in August. digital director for Mr. link to Mr. who adds that his organization can't afford widespread TV commercials." the most-prominent post is a criticism of President Barack Obama's policies towards Israel. Based on those meetings." Across the aisle.WSJ: How Facebook. The San Francisco-based company had held several brainstorming sessions with American Bridge to coach the group on how to use Twitter ads to quickly circulate its political announcements. Moffatt said.html By SHIRA OVIDE and EVELYN M. and nearly 5. Over the past year. "We've been very pleased" by the Twitter ads and the response to them. are trying to turn political advertising into a big business. said Zac Moffatt.com.

C. headquarters working with political campaigns. according to members of both teams. Facebook has also passed tips to political campaigns. Twitter launched its political-ad effort last fall after the company identified politics as a pillar of its young revenue strategy. keep up on news and bicker with rivals. Before one of the recent presidential debates." said Adam Conner." said Adam Bain. The company speaks to each campaign's digital staff nearly every day. a manager of public policy at Facebook." Mr. "Ever since the 1960s with the Kennedy election. Greenberger called and emailed political-related advertisers to suggest they craft ads based on words likely to generate attention during the debate. . Indeed. The group of staffers pitching political ads is the only Twitter ad team devoted to a single industry. the company said. "We thought this was going to be the year of the Twitter election. Twitter's Mr. given that most candidates and others in the Washington political machine use Twitter and Facebook to stay connected with constituents. Twitter also prioritized a project announced in September to let advertisers tailor paid messages to people by state or region. Twitter also recently commissioned research aimed to show political operatives how Twitter users who see frequent tweets and Twitter ads from campaigns are more likely to make political donations. said success with political campaigns isn't just about the money—it can also help win more advertising overall from marketers selling soap or cellphones." For Twitter and Facebook. up from one in 2008..Twitter ads are sold by computerized bidding for words or terms.8 billion estimated total election spending." Facebook now has half a dozen employees in Washington D. Facebook and Twitter executives said now is the time to make political ads into a bigger business. Twitter said the most in-demand political keyword ads include "Obama. But Twitter and Facebook. "Now it's step one. including how Facebook users are most likely to engage with a political ad shown from 9 p." which looks like a regular Twitter post and which advertisers pay to have show up at the top of a stream of tweets. to 10 p. Research firm Borrell Associates predicts digital political advertising will reach $170 million this year. similar to how Google sells ads alongside Web-search results. Texas and its Menlo Park.m. or to people who might not see the tweet otherwise. "We used to have to convince campaigns to sign up and be part of the digital bandwagon. said Katie Harbath. Political campaigns are spending on the "promoted tweet. This would presumably let campaigns target voters in swing states such as Ohio and Colorado. Based on demand from political campaigns. Calif.. which declined to disclose the political-ad revenue they're reaping. Austin. more than sixfold the levels of 2008 but still less than 2% of the $9.. which remains dominated by TV commercials. political campaigns have led marketing thought. political advertising isn't yet big money. The pace of political-ad efforts at the social-media companies has picked up in recent weeks.m. Twitter and Facebook are compiling case studies to show nonpolitical marketers how political campaigns used social-media ads." "Romney" and "vote. Bain said. Twitter's president of global revenue. The company has pitched political consultants on targeting ads at users based on the email addresses of supporters. a manager of public policy at Facebook.

you're more likely to watch Fox News. He had a number of fascinating insights on tech. 2012 Joe Lockhart is in a unique place to have a word or two about the ever-changing media and technology landscapes and their impact on politics. if not for now. a common conversation around the country. including social media How people get their news now: -We're now entering an era where people are informing each other. "The lame-duck Congress could be a very busy term. the same with newspapers and so on -It's tougher to get facts and think for yourself. but he actually started his career in broadcast journalism and most recently served as Facebook's VP of Corporate Communications. there were no 24-hour news stations. Huffington Post: Politics in the Social Media Age: Insights from Joe Lockhart http://www. otherwise people will just go to their friends Social media's impact on politics: -Things now are so connected and so immediate -Washington is a town built on power and the pursuit of power -Internet provides instant reactions and both parties try to jump on that. on Twitter's suggestion. and we don't have that now -We need more authorities.com/craig-kanalley/politics-social-media-age_b_1989858.For example. Here are some highlights from his talk with Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard. for an edge in the . there was three networks. through the likes of Facebook and Twitter. tech and 24/7 news cycle fundamentally changed that -News is now fragmented and the American people get it from a variety of places.html Craig Kanalley October 19. this system is not best serving the public Ignorance online: -"There is a lot of sharing but there's just as much sharing of ignorance as knowledge" -Need a centralized core of journalism to inform people. "Campaign 2012: Who is Setting the Agenda?" On the media's election coverage this year: -"Not going to give them a good grade".huffingtonpost. Mr. but we're not quite there yet -If you're conservative. The former White House Press Secretary for Bill Clinton spent years in politics." he said. we're in a "period of profound transition" and the media isn't doing a good enough job educating & informing the public Tech transformation: -In 1980. tens of millions of people watched three men say here's what's happening in the country. seniors group AARP bought ads during a presidential debate tied to terms such as Medicare and Candy Crowley. Greenberger said after next week's election. "we take a vacation"—but then Twitter's political ads team will shift attention to the next drama in Washington. the debate moderator. media and politics at the Brooklyn Law School on Friday. in the world -There was a consensus. you're more likely to watch MSNBC. if you're liberal.

nudging them towards a staunchly conservative position . the Tea Party-aligned group part-funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. I didn't see that to be the case. friends talk about it. it's more about style and less about what the public needs to know -There are "a couple newspapers left driven by journalism and not by business. The group hopes that by creating a local army of activists equipped with sophisticated online micro-targeting tools it will increase its impact on moderate voters. but content producers are always going to beat fact checkers and censors -You can fact check. We're starting to see major cities without newspapers. but that's it.co. and things happen much quicker.guardian. smartphones are cheaper than computers and will become ubiquitous.uk/world/2012/oct/18/koch-backed-activists-americans-for-prosperity By Ed Pilkington October 18. not everyone sees the fact check after the fact Legal ways to improve media landscape? -Not sure. everyone will be connected through phones -You can see what your friends think immediately. The Guardian: Koch-Based Activists Use Power Of Data In Bid To Oust Obama From White House http://www.next election -It has sped up the news cycle. it goes viral. less about journalism -That's really changed the dynamics of how politics is discussed or covered -The media "wants to put on a show". etc. but it's already out there in the media bloodstream. putting pressure on campaigns to respond more quickly and leaving less time to develop a narrative Future of social media: -The technology is just scratching the surface of its promise -Where do you turn when you don't trust a central power or institution? You turn to your friends -The tech can be even more interesting and powerful as it scales. -How can you enforce fairness in media? Not sure you can. 2012 Americans for Prosperity. On media picking "winners" or "losers" after debates: -They talk a lot. their friends talk about it. The law was written in a way with three major media networks in mind. -Business driving editorial is scary. big swings happen 3-4 days after a debate when people decide what they found important -"The media doesn't give people the best tools to make the best decision they could" On the rise of fact checking: -Yes. MSNBC so successful? Found an audience that led to a gold mine. "When I started in the business. Now it's not like that. is building a state-of-the-art digital ground operation in Ohio and other vital battleground states to spread its anti-Obama message to voters who could decide the outcome of the presidential election." -It's scary." -Why is Fox News. and then the numbers come out and then they change their tune to the numbers -The public processes information over time though. there are fact checkers. Business implications today: -A large portion of news business is about staying afloat now or making a profit.

opposed to President Obama's economic and healthcare policies. the Democratic senator for Ohio. AFP is also waging an aggressive campaign against Sherrod Brown. "President Obama took office three years ago and promised to fix our economy. "yet unemployment is still high and our debt is up to $6tn. It says it aims to reach up to 9 million targeted voters in crucial swing states. one of the most crucial battleground states upon which November's outcome depends. With the presidential race tightening across the country in the wake of Obama's widely denounced performance in the first TV debate earlier this month. told the Guardian. But the latest tracking survey by Real Clear Politics has Obama two points ahead of Romney – a statistical tie. AFP's funding status allows it to raise unlimited sums from undisclosed sources. No Republican candidate in history has won the presidency without bagging Ohio's electoral college votes that today stand at 18 out of the 270 needed for victory. through the efforts of its 2 million activists. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is spending tens of millions of dollars developing its local strategy. volunteers are given a script which they follow when engaging voters. But it is ambitions do not stop on election day on 6 November. Volunteers are empowered with mobile canvassing technology that directs them to the households that are most likely to be influenced by AFP's message of small government and tax cuts through software built on to handheld tablet computers.000 calls to Ohio's voters since May. Tim Phillips." they say. which Romney must win if he is to have a fighting chance of taking the White House. among them David and Charles Koch." AFP's growing influence is highly visible in Ohio. Polls vary widely in Ohio. under the rubric: "Has Brown worked for you?" It has a fleet of vans bearing the senator's picture with the logo: "Obama's rubber stamp for failure. "We are not some election-year group desperately trying to ramp up attention – we are in this year-in year-out to make a difference in favour of economic freedom. "The goal is to build a long-term grassroots infrastructure. making predictions difficult. But there is no disguising its targets. In Ohio." . AFP is legally obliged to project itself as a non-partisan campaign that neither endorses nor opposes candidates for public office. David Koch is president of the organisation's foundation." AFP has already spent $30m so far this election cycle in opposing President Obama and other prominent Democratic candidates and their policies. coal and plastics businesses have earned them personal wealth of $25bn each.000 TV ads to be served in the battleground states and outguns even Romney's own spending on political adverts. Classified a non-profit "social welfare" organisation. It now has 80 paid staff operating in the state out of seven permanent offices. nor their political nature. already employing more than 200 permanent staff in 32 states. That pays for more than 7. all eyes have turned to Ohio. They are also equipped with the latest phone banking technology through which they have made 400." its president. Research by the independent Wesleyan Media Project has found that AFP is spending an astonishing $6m every two weeks on TV advertising that favours Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy. brothers whose oil.

" says Matt Seaholm. your friends on Facebook. told the Guardian that in his view the activities of such groups had the capacity "to move us from a democracy to an oligarchy where a handful of wealthy people use their money to try to control the political process". your age. Those registering 0 on the scale being so leftwing and pro-government in outlook that. Much media attention has been paid this election cycle to the avalanche of billionaires' money. that has been spent on negative TV adverts.4 and 0. we are able to leverage our dollars and refine our message. (Recent polls have put Brown and his Republican challenger. the magazines your subscribe to. so that if a volunteer discovers that the affinity score of a voter on the doorstep is inaccurate – he or she is found to be more or less fiscally conservative than the rating suggests – it can be instantly corrected." Phillips said. Josh Mandel. allows AFP activists to micro-target households with a level of precision that could only be dreamed about in previous generations. "This is an exponential leap forward for our side – with Themis as our crucial partner. Ted Strickland. Those showing a 1 are equally worth bypassing because they are already so in favour of tax and spending cuts that to talk to them would be preaching to the converted. Debt and spending are at the forefront. But in the longer term. occupation and house value. "Our goal is to get everybody into the 0. to drive the debate through wordof-mouth marketing. In AFP's case.Leading figures within the Ohio Democratic party have been watching the activities of AFP and other outlying conservative groups with mounting alarm. was created with the help of seed money from the Kochs. The database. in turn. We want to move the center towards economic freedom.) AFP's ground operation in Ohio and other states is built around an interactive online network that links its volunteers with a centralised database of information on millions of American voters. albeit anonymous. including that of the Koch brothers. that AFP were driving the debate to the right. That. neck and neck. which is thus constantly updated and improved. The information is sent back at the push of a button to Themis. what church you belong to. voter file.7 to 1 zone. The database draws information on voters from a range of public and commercial sources to create a profile of their likely political behaviour. the national field director of AFP. neighbourhood. What you buy on Amazon. though the latest survey from the Columbus Dispatch shows the incumbent pulling ahead. they are not worth bothering with. The target group for AFP are those voters who fall between 0. from the organisation's perspective. He or she is awarded a number from 0 to 1. the former Democratic governor of Ohio.6 on the affinity score – those moderate voters deemed by its digital planners to be "persuadables". its interactive database serves up what the group calls an "affinity score" for each voter. what petitions you have signed. whether or not you own a gun – all such data points and many more go towards the creation of your personal. The technology is interactive." . These were things that were not talked about in the past. "Cap-in-trade is now a dirty word. Stimulus is now a dirty word. He should be 20 points ahead were it not for a massive amount of negative advertising coming from billionaires trying to buy a senate seat". Strickland said that Brown's struggle to get re-elected was a "clear example of the corrosive influence of outside money. called Themis after the Greek god of wisdom. the creation of this local lattice of activists able to identify key voters through online micro-targeting could prove to be a far more effective political weapon. He added that in his view it was working.

com/2012/10/17/hofstra-debate-twitter-facebook/ Alex Fitzpatrick October 17. So did the ads work? Nope. and even those who said they used Facebook during the ad week weren’t any more likely to have heard of the candidate than those who did not use the social network. and Berkeley’s David Broockman (last seen proving that state legislators show racial bias in handling constituent requests) paired up with a state legislature candidate and bought Facebook ads targeting a random sample of his potential voters. and the effects might have been greater for a congressional or gubernatorial race. and most Americans know it. this study suggests that campaigns may want to keep to tradition when it comes to ad strategy. and other money is bad?" Washington Post: Why Facebook Campaign Ads Are a Sucker’s Bet http://www. where it used the technology to energise its 120.AFP began testing its new micro-targeting gadgetry in Wisconsin last year. It's laughable. The experiment lasted only a week. one that touted the candidate’s experience and one that focused on his policies. The group's efforts were one factor behind the survival of the Tea Party-backed governor. Given that Green and his co-authors have in the past found positive (though short-lived) effects on potential voters from TV campaign ads. a leading scholar on campaign effects. 2012 . more Facebook http://mashable.washingtonpost. there’s no evidence that the ads even worked to get the candidate’s name out there. Columbia’s Donald Green.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/10/17/why-facebook-campaign-ads-are-asuckers-bet/?wprss=rss_ezra-klein Dylan Matthews October 17. much less increase support for his candidacy. But Broockman and Green really carpet-bombed those voters. from the Democratic National Committee’s Web site mocking Mitt Romney’s tax plan to President Obama’s citation of “Mean Girls” on his own site’s Tumblr page to the Romney campaign’s tweets showing the nominee’s family playing Jenga before the first presidential debate. Scott Walker. in his recall vote this June. Mashable: Second presidential debate: less Twitter.” So.” They tested three types of ads: one aimed at boosting name recognition.000 activists in a succession of volatile recall elections. But does this really have an impact on potential voters? A new study suggests not. Broockman and Green concluded that “the ads had no politically consequential effect on knowledge of the candidate. 2012 Much has been made of the use of social media this campaign cycle. Phillips rejects the argument that AFP and other conservative outside groups are having a pernicious impact on the democratic process. Obama receives tens of millions from Hollywood and the entertainment industry – so that is good money. They have every right to be involved in the political process – they have been steadfast in this area for four decades. his favorability or support for his election among voters. so that “a voter in the treatment group was exposed to an ad every single time they loaded any Facebook page during the entire week." He added that for Obama and other Democrats to complain about corporate money entering politics was "hypocrisy at its greatest. They bid an extremely high amount for the ads. "We are proud to have the support of the Kochs.

which got more than 260. engagement across social networks during the second debate was at 31% — a high since Attention began tracking the debate on social media in March. it is harder to engage with in a meaningful way.2 million for Tuesday’s town hall event to the first debate’s 10. Attention includes Twitter. 2012 “They brought me binders full of women. who immediately went to work creating memes. It contained pictures of ladylike binders.3 million. debates. Did you prefer using Twitter or posting to Facebook during the debates? Or did you use a different social network to vocie your opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments. the Tumblr “Binders Full of Women” began to make the social media rounds.While the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney set a new politics record on Twitter. and a play on the phrase “Trapper Keeper”: “Trap her keep her. accordingly. blogs.washingtonpost. where did it all go? Facebook. A similar Tumblr account and plenty of parody Twitter accounts also gained some traction. Shortly after the debate. powered by Tracx. What does that trend show? Possibly. the second only saw a fraction of the tweets sent during the first: 7. Nearly 40% of the online conversations about Tuesday’s debate happened on Facebook. but didn’t receive the same traction as the Facebook page. “The increased mentions on Facebook indicates conversations and. Tumblr. the sound byte was a comedic gift to those on Twitter and Tumblr. forums and news websites in its analysis of conversation on the social web.html Maura Judkis & Michael Cavna October 17.” argues Attention’s analysis. Though Romney’s remark was a response to a question about equality in the workplace. more two-way conversations and less broadcasting. engagement during the first debate was rated at 20%. Washington Post: ‘Binders Full of Women’ Romney quip goes viral http://www. During the first debate.” .000 “likes” overnight. Those binders full of women brought social media users a newsfeed full of jokes. Facebook. For reference. while an equal percentage was seen on Twitter. YouTube.com/blogs/arts-post/post/binders-full-of-women-romney-quip-goesviral/2012/10/17/f4cf31b4-1813-11e2-9855-71f2b202721b_blog. those percentages were 77% — 6% in Twitter’s favor. and referred to his search for employees while governor. One might argue that Twitter’s numbers going down might be a sign that Tuesday’s debate wasn’t as popular overall on social media than the first debate. “Since messages on Twitter tend to be one-sided and immediate.” The data may also reflect the instant popularity of the “Binders Full of Women” Facebook page.” said Mitt Romney during Tuesday night’s debate. However. If the conversation wasn’t happening on Twitter. according to an analysis from Attention.

Brazil. and they may be right. Naturally. Del Monte. the meme spawned by Romney in the last debate. Russia. Nearly $35 million has been raised to defeat Prop 37. is trying to even the playing field for Prop 37.” declared “Dirty Dancing’s” Patrick Swayze in one photo caption. It’s important for voters to be informed before Election Day. including all of Europe. .S. A “Binders Full of Women” Facebook page. McKayla was not impressed. the 24-year-old administrator of the page. Pepsi. Indiegogo is an excellent crowdfunding platform for causes that allows matching funds. Smucker. Nestle. Not here. with at least $1 million each from companies like Monsanto. Some sixty countries already require this. “The context didn’t sound right and the quote was pretty humorous. The Tumblr joked that the binders full of women each come equipped with a pack of Bic lady pens — a feminist meme from earlier this summer. Donate here on indiegogo -”Kick the mutant asses out of your food!” (you have to watch the video above to get the double entendre). so I’m glad I seized the moment while I had the chance. Some people think genetically altered food is just fine. Hopefully. “I started the page immediately after I heard Gov. First. 2012 Prop 37 is on the California Ballot.000 likes. Supporters of Prop 37 have raised just $4. who’s long been interested in the intersection of food and technology. Unless you’re a huge food company that uses tons (literally) of genetically modified food in your products and don’t want people to know that. it has served its purpose. And while we’re figuring that out. so I used this page to post a few statistics regarding income inequality in the U. Coca Cola and Conagra.” he said. Dan Lacey.1 million. the always-topical “Painter of Pancakes” has never shied away from politics before — and last night was no exception. Hershey. India and China. Japan. now has more than 250. and the top bid so far is $67. “Social media phenomena such as this one fizzle quickly. Big Bird. Not if the huge food companies can stop it. Kellogg. Dupont. Sara Lee and lots of other big food companies have also made large donations.” said Michael. he’s matching every dollar in donations to support Prop 37.“No one puts baby in a binder.” “The page has grown tremendously. General Mills. But there’s at least some evidence that it isn’t fine. Ocean Spray. Romney’s comment. Uncrunched: Fight Evil Mutant Corn with Facebook Promote and Prop 37 http://uncrunched. He made a speedy painting of Romney holding his binders of women. what’s wrong with simply telling consumers what’s actually in the food they’re eating? Nothing’s wrong with that. though. It seems inoffensive enough – all it requires is for food in California to be labelled if it contains genetically modified stuff. got in on the action: And finally.com/2012/10/15/mutant-corn-prop-37/ October 15. which shares statistics about pay disparity. It’s for sale on eBay now. Tech entrepreneur Ali Partovi. who didn’t want to give his last name.” On Twitter.

we can. We can use technology to make it all work again. Forbes: Social Networking Facebook and the Vote http://www. they now demand volunteers turn over their social media profiles. To cite Michael Pollan’s brilliant NY Times essay. And if you really want to support Prop 37.But Partovi is also using Facebook to help spread awareness. We are the creatives and the risk-takers. Fight the evil mutant corn. This vote is also symbolic. Data specialists will then request that they contact designated friends. 2012 The surveillance state is coming to a voting booth near you. this is the moment of truth for a much larger nationwide movement. global crowd-funding platform. and Prop 37 has strong support from both ends of the political spectrum. He’s asking people to post their thoughts on Facebook and include “Yes on 37 Contest Entry” in the update. Why Facebook? Says Partovi “My goal is to run ads on Facebook. watchful eyes are waiting to see what happens. while those who prefer Olive Garden are more likely to favor Romney. but too often huge corporations dictate how that democracy works. but people against big corporations. where you can’t fool people with deceptive ads. What hinges on the outcome is whether the people in this country can take back control of the system. but need a nudge or shove or some other action given a clever nickname the better to disguise what is essentially a massive invasion of privacy so that they actually turn up at a polling booth. those they believe are likely to support their candidate thanks to dining at certain restaurants.” Partovi has a good point. We are the pioneers. And what happens in California can snowball into change throughout the U. We live in a democracy. Prop 37 FTW! Do this. Then … . Prop 37 will benefit not just California but all Americans. the open.you know. Voters from all points of view care about what they feed their families. because the community’s opinions speak louder. I’m using Indiegogo. If passed. or listening to a particular type of music. If anybody can figure out how to win this.com/sites/helaineolen/2012/10/14/facebook-and-the-vote/ Helaine Olen October 14. The campaigns have now moved behind the traditional snooping .: What happens in California doesn’t stay in California: This is just the start. the sort of stuff where they figure out that those who patronize Red Lobster are more likely to vote for Obama. he’s asking you to use the new Facebook Promote feature where you can pay $7 to make sure more of your Facebook friends and subscribers see your message. thanks to a creepy alliance between political campaigns and popular social networking sites that resembles nothing so much as a lost chapter from a George Orwell novel. No. because it is not Democrat vs Republican.forbes. We are California. because even outside America. Charles Duhigg at The New York Times reports on how both the Obama and Romney campaigns are turning to market research and data mining in an effort to boost voter turnout in their favor. Even if it is sort of delicious.S.

are more prone to drink Michelob Ultra than Corona or have gay friends or enjoy expensive vacations. A friend posted some negative information about presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Facebook. who had nothing to do with it. But the rise of Facebook brings about a tempting -.and treacherous -. the anonymous corporate and personal money flowing into the political process in the wake of the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court. what experts term “public shaming. USA Today: Political Spats on Facebook Spill into Real Life http://www. Why would they? Politicians are doing it themselves. He also defriended my wife. 2012 Jason Perlow thought it was just a spirited debate. and Perlow. Calling out people for not voting. And if a voter resists the pressure and decides to sit the election out on their couch? After these conversations. That online disagreement escalated into an offline disintegration of their more-than-10-year friendship. when those targeted voters open their mailboxes or check their Facebook profiles.com/story/news/politics/2012/10/12/facebook-politics-unfriend-obamaromney/1597491/ Laura Petrecca October 13. “They don’t have to put anything on the flier to let the voter know who to blame. pointed out what he saw as flaws in that commentary.usatoday.territory to engage in such commentary. They know no one in Washington is going to take action to stop it. I imagine I am far from alone in that sentiment. Finally. 43. have homes in foreclosure. But not to worry! Both campaigns says they absolutely do not plan to engage in pinning the Scarlet V on possible supporters who let them down.” can prod someone to cast a ballot. cocktail parties and the workplace. millions of voters will hear from callers with surprisingly detailed knowledge of their lives.” Now we know why Facebook is not making any effort to curb the increasing invasions of privacy that are occurring as a result of more and more consumers are using the site." Most people know the social dangers of discussing politics at family gatherings. that is. my friends. That. "He defriended me on Facebook and told me not to send him any more e-mails. who considers himself a moderate.In the weeks before Election Day. is what superPACS are for. The callers will be guided by scripts and call lists compiled by people — or computers — with access to details like whether voters may have visited pornography Web sites. "He got really angry with me." says Perlow. These callers — friends of friends or long-lost work colleagues — will identify themselves as volunteers for the campaigns or independent political groups. . a personal note: if anyone does this to me you can assume this is the last friendly phone call or other connection we will share. As one Democratic party consultant told Duhigg. they may find that someone has divulged specifics about how frequently they and their neighbors have voted in the past.

" Fowler says. The conventions. many Facebook users still talk politics. it has 10 times as many. One in six social media users say they have posted about politics recently. so they create evocative content that can quickly go viral. Operatives for President Obama and Romney know that Facebook users typically pay more attention to a friend's updates than political ads. according to Pew. With Election Day less than a month away. TMI? (Too Much Information?) During the 2008 presidential race. As the number of Facebook users expand. have prompted Facebook users to argue over topics such as the economy." says Ron Schott. Facebook had about 100 million users. With the increased use of tablets and smartphones. videos and pictures that are "designed to get people's attention. Those digital ties can expose previously unknown political affiliations. but more than half of Americans use social networks such as Facebook. according to Pew.It takes just a few posts to inadvertently damage a friendship. provocative headlines and personal commentary. a senior strategist at social media marketing agency Spring Creek Group. the amount of political commentary has followed suit. the site is brimming with controversial candidate quotes. Politics is "one of the most polarizing topics discussed on Facebook. Among the reasons political posts are profuse on Facebook:   Political strategists seed the site. Fowler says. One in six social network users say they've changed their views about a political issue after discussing it or reading posts about it on a social networking site. about one-fifth don't do it because they are worried they might upset or offend someone. a University of California-San Diego political science professor who specializes in social network research. Despite the risks. they can have an influence. Paul Ryan." says James Fowler. LinkedIn and Google+. It's easy to spread candidate news as well as personal commentary. as well as debates such as Thursday's duel between Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. They post quotes. alienate a oncefriendly neighbor or infurIate a colleague. Yet as divisive as those Facebook comments can be. foreign policy and female reproductive rights. Facebook users can disseminate their opinions at any place at any time. Facebook's "share" button makes it simple to recycle content from political parties and like-minded . Facebook doesn't break out U.S. Now. Of the two-thirds who don't post political content. according to a Pew Research Center survey fielded in January and February. Mix together a divided country and hot-button political issues and Facebook commentary can become an online landmine. put a rift in family relations. participation. "People get mobilized by the elections and they start posting things they don't usually post.

.. "He would put up something that I thought was incorrect and I would point out how I thought it was incorrect. users are more apt to jump into controversial conversations." he says. On Facebook. 60. For those who rarely socialize with Facebook friends outside the site. How Facebook users think of the site is much different now than during the election race four years ago.000 Americans on topics such as how technology and social media can play a role in politics. users have to defend their position to others who disagree. or even delete. but see your stuff on Facebook a lot more. The Facebook user who frequently shares controversial candidate content -. it was swords out." he says." Fowler says. contrary comments. has vigorously disputed political statements that were posted on Facebook by someone he's known for 25 years. At a dinner party or family gathering. who eventually defriended that man on Facebook but remains friendly with him in real life." says social media expert Schott. "it leads others to make assumptions about them as a person. there are (updates about) weddings and babies. "We think people are more similar to us than they are. it was a much more personal record. maybe you wouldn't have shared it. So the user spreading the "NoObama" or "Anti-Romney" message assumes that most people in his or her circle agree with that stance. "On Facebook." Users assume others are like-minded. according to the McCann survey. "But when we got into Facebook. "We never talked politics face to face. "But if you had three seconds (to think about it). "They think that everyone generally agrees with them.J. Words as swords Rich McMahon. "When people interact with you in real life three to four times a year. Now. Those who don't keep tight privacy settings on their profiles can influence the perceptions of snooping managers. N. "You see something and it makes you laugh and you hit the share button and off it goes. the research unit of the McCann Erickson ad agency." she says. Simpson says." Over-the-top posts can also turn off non-Facebook friends. or archive.may not realize that those actions can shape how others feel about them. from Montclair. of your social life. "Before. when that isn't necessarily true. says Laura Simpson." says McMahon." Fowler says. "People sharing things on Facebook probably feel safer than they should.  voters. Schott says. potential employers and even prospective dates. but you'll also see political views and videos about topics that people feel passionate about. global director of McCann Truth Central." he says.or posts personal commentary . they can just ignore." There's no in-person accountability. "Facebook is evolving into more of a debate space for issues." Nearly a quarter of Internet users are more likely to voice extreme political views online than in real life. McCann Truth Central conducted focus groups and an online survey of 1. often that's who you become in their minds." And with that shift. In September. we share all sorts of stuff that we would never share in normal conversations.

He has an extremely conservative client who recently decided to defriend any Facebook friends who made comments supporting Obama. such as disparaging comments about the vegan sloppy Joes that Michelle Obama served children at a White House luncheon. 50.. look at all the horrible things that are going to happen if Romney becomes president or if Obama becomes president. as well as criticisms that seemed trivial." He didn't defriend those who took to the public pulpit but hid the updates of overzealous political posters." he says.)" Instead." he says. so you're not insulting them by unfollowing them. and fun stuff. 21 status update. His public statement earned him 34 "likes" from his friends. "He just didn't want to be connected to that. such as SocialFixer. He has tinkered with third-party plug-ins that can create word filters on a profile. motorcycles." Byrnes says. The man didn't take his advice." He opted out of the political commentary. rather than (posts of) 'Oh my God. negative and untrue. "I kind of think of Facebook as a no-nastiness zone. he says. "Finally. who counseled his client to simply hide those friends' newsfeeds rather than fully severing the Facebook ties. and I don't enjoy getting into arguments with people. He upset some friends when he weighed in on political topics. Calif. "I'd rather see a picture of someone's cat or their kids or what they did today. "I am turning over a new leaf.' " Until that time comes." He saw posts that baited others. "No political posts on my wall and no comments on other people's political posts (except maybe a like. he noticed politically oriented remarks on Facebook that were "mean. Schott suggests that those who want to limit the political discourse go to Facebook's settings section and hide a friend's posts so they don't come up on a newsfeed." says White.How business professionals respond to provocative posts matters. lost a friend to Facebook fighting. took a more proactive stance. But he has another idea on how to keep people from getting sucked in when they want to stay on the political sidelines: Facebook should create a way for users to filter their feeds and weed out politically oriented commentary. "It's really going to impact his business over time." Jerry White of San Leandro. says marketing consultant Michael Byrnes. a technology expert and blogger who lives in the Fort Lauderdale area. "Facebook is supposed to be fun. I'm not changing my opinion and I'm not changing their opinion. he said he would focus on "family. "You can hide them and then unhide them after election season when they are talking about something else. I just said that I've had enough. "It's not as permanent as unfriending person." says Byrnes." was his Aug. At the same time. and I don't want to see tons and tons of political objectives. Learn to set boundaries Perlow. .

is likely to increase turnout.” In statements. rewards and threats in a manner akin to the marketing efforts of credit card companies and big-box retailers. an Obama campaign spokesman. according to professionals with both presidential campaigns. when those targeted voters open their mailboxes or check their Facebook profiles. And they are using that data to try to influence voting habits — in effect. to train voters to go to the polls through subtle cues.” said Adam Fetcher. are more prone to drink Michelob Ultra than Corona or have gay friends or enjoy expensive vacations. Even as campaigns embrace this ability to know so much more about voters.” . they recognize the risks associated with intruding into the lives of people who have long expected that the privacy of the voting booth extends to their homes."Now my life on Facebook is so much nicer. We are committed to ensuring that all of our voter outreach is governed by the highest ethical standards.html?pagewanted=all Charles Duhigg October 13. both campaigns emphasized their dedication to voters’ privacy. “We are committed to protecting individual privacy at every turn — adhering to industry best practices on privacy and going above and beyond what’s required by law. what experts term “public shaming. experiments show. In the weeks before Election Day. Ryan Williams. have homes in foreclosure. The callers are likely to ask detailed questions about how the voters plan to spend Election Day. “A lot of what we’re doing is behind the scenes. “You don’t want your analytical efforts to be obvious because voters get creeped out. they may find that someone has divulged specifics about how frequently they and their neighbors have voted in the past. After these conversations. a spokesman for the Romney campaign.nytimes. These callers — friends of friends or long-lost work colleagues — will identify themselves as volunteers for the campaigns or independent political groups. millions of voters will hear from callers with surprisingly detailed knowledge of their lives.” said a Romney campaign official who was not authorized to speak to a reporter. said: “The Romney campaign respects the privacy rights of all Americans. What time will they vote? What route will they drive to the polls? Simply asking such questions.com/2012/10/14/us/politics/campaigns-mine-personal-lives-to-get-outvote. 2012 Strategists affiliated with the Obama and Romney campaigns say they have access to information about the personal lives of voters at a scale never before imagined. Calling out people for not voting." New York Times: Campaigns Mine Personal Lives to Get Out Vote http://www. The callers will be guided by scripts and call lists compiled by people — or computers — with access to details like whether voters may have visited pornography Web sites.” can prod someone to cast a ballot.

which are currently subjects of Congressional scrutiny over privacy concerns. basic information like age and race. say. the Democratic and Republican National Committees combined have spent at least $13 million this year on data acquisition and related services. Romney backers are more likely to drink Samuel Adams beer. as well as affiliated groups. dating preferences and financial problems. But more subtle data mining has helped the Obama campaign learn that their supporters often eat at Red Lobster.’s election Web site.com. She had never spoken to the . North Carolina and Ohio. They don’t have to put anything on the flier to let the voter know who to blame. according to campaign officials from both parties. compared it to voter data files and suggested a work colleague to contact in Columbus. “Obama can’t do it. Each campaign has identified millions of “lowpropensity voters. a phone call from a distant cousin or a new friend would be more likely to prompt the urge to cast a ballot. political professionals say. gambling tendencies.-C.L. and preferences gleaned from one-on-one conversations with volunteers.” said one consultant who works closely with Democratic organizations. interest in get-rich-quick schemes. voting history.” Persuading such voters is difficult. The preoccupation with influencing voters’ habits stems from the fact that many close elections were ultimately decided by people who almost did not vote. Vendors affiliated with the presidential campaigns or the parties said in interviews that their businesses had bought data from Rapleaf or Intelius. two tactics will be employed this year for the first time in a widespread manner.I.” While the campaigns say they do not buy data that they consider intrusive. When one union volunteer in Ohio recently visited the A. In particular. Voters who visit religious Web sites might be greeted with religion-friendly messages when they return to mittromney. have examined voters’ online exchanges and social networks to see what they care about and whom they know. Officials at both campaigns say the most insightful data remains the basics: a voter’s party affiliation.O. The campaigns have planted software known as cookies on voters’ computers to see if they frequent evangelical or erotic Web sites for clues to their moral perspectives. eat at Olive Garden and watch college football. So campaigns must enlist more subtle methods. consultants to both campaigns said they had bought demographic data from companies that study details like voters’ shopping histories. according to campaign employees. The Obama and Romney campaigns. however. The first builds upon research into the power of social habits.F.com or barackobama. shop at Burlington Coat Factory and listen to smooth jazz. The campaigns’ consultants have run experiments to determine if embarrassing someone for not voting by sending letters to their neighbors or posting their voting histories online is effective. companies that have been sued over alleged privacy or consumer protection violations. because direct appeals have already failed. have asked their supporters to provide access to their profiles on Facebook and other social networks to chart connections to low-propensity voters in battleground states like Colorado. for instance. The parties have paid companies like Acxiom. But the ‘super PACs’ are anonymous. They have also authorized tests to see if. The campaigns themselves. Computers quickly crawled through her list of friends. “I’ve had half-a-dozen conversations with third parties who are wondering if this is the year to start shaming.In interviews. Experian or Equifax. she was asked to log on with her Facebook profile.

Rather. Nickerson. a grocery store employee. Mr. “Target anticipates your habits. “He said he had never thought about it like that. and some are floating the theory (see here and here and here) that the Romney campaign has deployed a virus or used other nefarious means to inflate the candidate's online stature. Romney’s political director. simply forcing voters to think through the logistics of voting has been shown. it helps trigger that habit. Nicole Rigano. And as the race enters its final month. It made a big difference to know ahead of time what we have in common. campaign officials increasingly sound like executives from retailers like Target and credit card companies like Capital One. you’re letting other people make choices for you.” said the union volunteer. It even inspired an editorial in the St.” said Rich Beeson. “We talked about how if you don’t vote. The Romney campaign. a professor at the University of Notre Dame and a coauthor of a study of such tactics. This conspiratorial notion has spawned a Facebook community forum. “When someone is asked to form a mental image of the act of voting.motherjones. “Voting is habit-forming. has relied on outside analytic firms and has focused more on using data to create persuasive messages and slightly less on pushing voters to the polls.” Another tactic that will be used this year.” Mother Jones: Mitt Romney Probably Didn’t Hack Your Facebook Page http://m. Though both parties use similar data sets. is asking voters whether they plan to walk or drive to the polls. which direction you automatically turn when you walk through the doors. both of which extensively use data to model customers’ habits.” said David W. Nickerson is currently engaged in electoral work. The answers themselves are unimportant. “We’re doing the same thing with how people vote.suggested person about politics. Dr. by contrast. In recent weeks. 2012 It is not just conservatives who have been forced to like Mitt Romney.com/MittYouDidntBuildThat). though he would not specify for which campaigns or party. and he’s going to vote this year. which pondered: "Was I the victim of sabotage (like the time one of our kids swiped about 100 campaign signs and posted them all in our front yard)? Or the victim of my own keyboard clumsiness?" . Officials for both campaigns acknowledge that many of their consultants and vendors draw data from an array of sources — including some the campaigns themselves have not fully scrutinized.com/mojo/2012/10/mitt-romney-fraudulent-facebook-likes Erika Eichelberger October 10. to increase the odds that someone will actually cast a ballot. what time of day they will vote and what they plan to do afterward. political operatives say. which has over 200 likes. and he told her that he did not usually vote because he did not see the point. in multiple experiments. It’s natural to trust someone when you already have a connection to them. what you automatically put in your shopping cart. a host of liberal types have complained that their Facebook accounts have erroneously "liked" Romney's page. Louis Post-Dispatch.” It is difficult to gauge which campaign is using data more effectively. the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party conduct most analysis and experiments in house and have drawn on a deep pool of data from four years ago. and its own page: "Hacked by Mitt Romney" (cute url: facebook.

and had a team research the issue." So. (The Obama camp is reportedly experiencing Facebook funny business too. Buzzfeed noted the president's page saw an odd spike in likes. some hacker types. They concluded that users are probably liking the Romney page on a mobile device by either accidentally clicking on a Romney ad or a "sponsored story" from the Romney campaign in their news feed. malicious software can be used to infiltrate accounts and other scammers have set up businesses selling 'Likes' in bulk in violation of Facebook's terms of service. 2012 The Obama campaign is using Facebook to make sure supporters are registered to vote." In response to general annoyance over this trend.politico. After all. when Romney's Twitter followers spiked an improbable 17 percent in one day. let's file this under Hankygate. The Obama campaign uses the simple biographical information most users provide to Facebook to check their registration status in the public records. an internet security expert. Facebook "is still gamed: users can be tricked into liking something. The app — promoted by email to voters in specific states where voter registration deadlines are approaching fast — allows users to check their own registration status using Facebook. Facebook agreed. (Analysts decided a huge number of the new followers were fake. But he said the only way to determine who was behind those likes would be for Facebook to investigate its database. Once the app confirms a user is registered to vote. So we asked the social-networking company to do that. On Tuesday. The data gurus in Chicago are using the social network to encourage voter registration with an app that can check voter registration status — and allows users to "nudge" friends and acquaintances to check their own statuses.com/politico44/2012/10/obama-campaign-pushes-voter-registration-on-facebook137841. but couldn't determine their origin. saying in a statement: "We have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms.Romney's social-media presence has been associated with some tech trickery in the past.) But is there any credence to claims the Romney campaign is hacking Facebook? After chatting with some of the afflicted. Bill Pennington. Facebook announced in late August it would crack down on fake likes. . Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said the issue is unique to mobile because of the way the app works on small screens. As PCWorld noted. Voter registration is generally a matter of public record. He added that the company is currently working to clean up its mobile interface." in this case hiding a Romney ad behind an unrelated ad. suggested the phantom likes could be the result of "clickjacking. and rejected the idea that the Romney camp was engaging in clickjacking. it looks like this issue is largely a result of Facebook's mobile interface kind of sucking.) It's possible that some of the Romney likes could still be fraudulent. and a Facebook rep. POLITICO: Obama Campaign Pushes Voter Registration on Facebook http://www. it offers to contact twelve of that user's friends to remind them to vote.html Byron Tau October 8. there was that whole thing back in July. unless some more compelling evidence surfaces. The users the app suggests are specifically targeted by the campaign. which would result in a Romney like.

Or maybe they'd give a stump speech to a large crowd. Honolulu Civil Beat: Hawaii Campaigning in the 21 st Century http://www. Another study published in Nature estimated that a single Facebook message was responsible for almost a third of a million voters on election day in 2010. where many would see it. able to work across the aisle and a viable choice for Democrats who are planning to vote for President Barack Obama's re-election." A group of political scientists sent voters a copy of their own voting history."It sorts a few ways. And rather than using testimonials from public figures who may or may not really be Democrats. It's a 21st century version of a campaign experiment chronicled in Sasha Issenberg's "The Victory Lab. UPDATE: The RNC has a similar Facebook tool that fills out a voter registration form for the user. Example: Former Hawaii Gov. Targeted advertising from Internet behemoths like Facebook and Google is in some ways a return to the retail politicking that was the norm before the ascent of mass media. Or they'd share their ideas during a televised or radio-broadcast debate. she's enlisting endorsements from your friends and family to show you she's not a crazy mainland Republican. along with the voting histories of their neighbors. niche audiences. Lingle's made that pitch in a variety of ways. and tweak their sales pitch to fit many specific. . The Obama campaign's Facebook efforts are similar — using network effects and gentle reminders from a peer to prod likely supporters into registering and turning out to vote. and allows them to mail it in. Issenberg reports that consultants at the Analyst Institute — a labor-funded consulting firm that works with the Obama campaign — figured out how to turn that experiment into a gentler. and threatened to repeat the mailing after the election. Linda Lingle's campaign for U. including a much-maligned commercial originally titled "Democrats For Lingle.com/articles/2012/10/08/17310-hawaii-campaigning-in-the-21st-century/ Michael Levine October 8. The experiment showed some users a list of their friends who had already reported voting." a campaign official told POLITICO. 21st Century technology has made it possible for campaigns to ask for votes one at a time. It also tells voters how many voters the RNC has registered in a given state and asks them to invite their friends. While those 20th Century approaches still dominate. one efficient way to do it was to pay for advertising in the newspaper. including by state for example. It's a slightly different approach to the same issue — how to ensure that supporters are prepared for election day. turnout was up 20 percent. Among voters that received the mailer." Now she's taken her case online.S. And it's making its way to Hawaii. 2012 WASHINGTON — It used to be that if a candidate wanted to ask for votes.civilbeat. less threatening form of persuasion that thanked people for voting in the past rather than threatening to out them as nonvoters in the future. Senate has been built on the idea that she's politically moderate. Those users were more likely to turn out and vote.

" The Ryan K. Y and Z. But he doesn't appreciate being used that way. sits atop this article." (A screenshot of the ad.That's what happened to Aaron Landry. I go and like a lot of business and political campaigns as a way to learn and share information. She's got others. We do 'Like' campaigns.'" he said.000. "I just follow every candidate's page. the chances of them seeing something from the Linda Lingle campaign is much higher. Hew Facebook page referenced in the advertisement served to Landry is actually not Hew's personal page but instead the one for his law practice. Hew likes this.) Micro-targeting campaigns on social media services are part of Landry's day job as a director of market engagement for Olomana Loomis ISC. as does Democratic opponent Mazie Hirono. "As that legal entity or that business." he said in an interview. Retail and Politics Lingle's Facebook ad is really just the tip of the iceberg. 8. "It's a very interesting kind of. and it's something we do too. "Them targeting me and using me in that way." Landry said. who was surfing on Facebook and saw a sponsored ad on the right side telling him to join his big-D Democratic friends supporting Lingle's campaign. "Being able to target people on Facebook and being able to look at these are people in this age demographic. these are people interested in X. 'How does all this new media work with traditional campaigning and what are the acceptable boundaries?'" Micro-Targeting. They don't even have to go to the page to click 'Like. That the ad uses "Democratic" instead of "Democrat" is evidence that Dems are the intended target audience. "It's smart. "It's basically building affinity and building an audience for later messaging." he said. Political campaigns aren't the only organizations following users around and using their browsing and purchase histories to their advantage. Slate technology journalist Farhad Manjoo wrote in August about the ." Hew understands why Lingle's ad did what it did — he's got a lot of Democratic friends and has worked in politics before. The firm advised Democrat Neil Abercrombie during his run for governor in 2010 and is advising Honolulu mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell this year.' but the other piece of it is that you have 7. provided to Civil Beat by Landry. Hew told Civil Beat that his decision to like Lingle's campaign page shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of her candidacy. because it's me as my professional self.000 pepole that when they open up their Facebook and look at their newsfeed.'" What's the benefit of having more people like you on Facebook? "You can obviously market saying that 'We have three times as many Facebook likes as our opponent." Landry said in an interview last week. "It seems like most of the ads that Lingle's doing are designed to make people click 'Like. it's an opportunity for the campaign to target niche markets. The spot was personalized even further for Landry with a blue thumbs up below Lingle's photo with the text "Ryan K. and target people who have a friend who already 'Like' us. I probably would tell them that I'd have to unlike their page if they continue to do that type of thing. though Landry said he's not involved with that effort.

though. Journalist Sasha Issenberg's new book "The Victory Lab" looks at what he terms a scientific revolution in political campaigns. "My daughter got this in the mail!" he said. "Today's Web ads don't know enough about you to avoid pitching you stuff that you'd never. Sure enough. instead of predicting whether you are likely to default on your loan or pay off your bill on time or run up $500 on your credit card in a given month. In an interview on PBS' Newshour." Purchases that could have tipped off Target's algorithm? Cocoa-butter lotion. but their past interactions with campaigns. Issenberg says modern campaigns maintain huge databases to track not just if voters actually vote. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter. she's likely to continue shopping for clothing and food and other supplies for her children for years. to clue you in on the fact that they're watching everything you do." . "A lot of it is first gathered by people who are creating credit ratings. ever buy. it was addressed to the man's daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing. according to an employee who participated in the conversation. who are you likely to vote for." About a year after (Target statistician Andrew) Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model. He looked at the mailer. nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. Mega-retailer Target (and many other stores) send you coupons and special offers based on your shopping history. they're trying to predict how likely are you to vote in November." The surveillance doesn't even stop at the end of your computer's power cord. "She's still in high school."creepy" targeted ads that followed him from site to site after he considered. a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager." he said. "They do know just enough about you. "It turns out there's been some activities in my house I haven't been completely aware of. the father was somewhat abashed. and he was angry. buying clothes from one retailer." Manjoo wrote. and you're sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?" The manager didn't have any idea what the man was talking about. She's due in August. I owe you an apology. zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug. what issues are you likely to care about. and can even know what's happening in your life before family members do. And once they hook a new mother with special one-time offers. Charles Duhigg shared this anecdote in a February article in the New York Times Magazine titled "How Companies Learn Your Secrets. "I had a talk with my daughter. So. Political campaigns aren't selling you maternity clothing. and then decided against. "They obviously want to know as much about you as possible and develop predictions. On the phone. a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag. their credit histories and even warranty forms or magazine subscriptions." Issenberg said. though. but they are selling you a candidate. What has happened in the political world is people are doing statistical models with the same goal.

Initial coverage areas include how targeted advertising could save campaigns millions of dollars. money. told Politico recently. but it's not the whole story. but may be convinced to stay home. says political journalists have fallen behind the curve and can no longer keep up with how modern campaigns are actually carried out. the data campaigns have collected about you. In a panel at the National Press Club in Washington last month titled "The Role of Journalism In Debunking Deception and Holding Campaigns and Donors Accountable. but the email address and information is worth much more than the few bucks.The campaigns have also taken steps to add to those databases directly — by soliciting small donations that do little to fund billion-dollar campaign operations but come with valuable troves of personal information." . "The money is not peanuts. writing for the New York Times last month." Adair said.. These groups include those who are likely to vote." complete with a mechanized donkey and elephant doing hoof-to-trunk combat. fact-checking organizations have focused their energy on public statements in television commercials. most importantly. One local example of media still trying to keep up with 20th Century politicking is Civil Beat's ongoing series sharing the public files that all television networks need to keep on hand to show how many ads they sell to candidates. on a national level. but may not turn out. . but can be convinced to change their choice. Campaign professionals have developed a new conceptual framework for understanding what moves votes. That's a public resource that shows how campaigns spend some of their money." "I think our challenge is to find out what those messages are. Micro-Targeting and the Media The new paradigm provides a challenge to the news media that has traditionally served as a filter for campaign messaging and as a watchdog to make sure voters aren't being sold a phony product. almost entirely out of view. "If the campaigns are using social media in very targeted ways. campaigns separate voters into distinct pots." Michael Malbin. People who have been determined to have already made up their minds are left alone. That's an aspect where I think we can build a crowdsourcing network that highlights those things." PolitiFact creator and editor Bill Adair said simply that "You don't know about the ads you didn't see. executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute. campaigns have modernized their techniques in such a way that nearly every member of the political press now lacks the specialized expertise to interpret what's going on. it's not being seen by us. Ultimately." Mashable this month launched a project it's calling "Politics Transformed: The High Tech Battle For Your Vote. Similarly. effort and. It's as if restaurant critics remained oblivious to a generation's worth of new chefs' tools and techniques and persisted in describing every dish that came out of the kitchen as either "grilled" or "broiled.. These groups are served specific messaging designed to get them to move in a desired direction. Over the last decade. stump speeches and debates and not on small-scale communications like microtargeted advertisements or campaign emails. and those who are likely to support the opponent. Issenberg. To target them with further messaging would be a waste of time. and the importance of social media in both voter turnout and local politics. those that are likely to support the preferred candidate.

Like Slate writer Manjoo and the clothes he already decided not to purchase.Public interest journalism nonprofit ProPublica is trying to change that by asking readers to share the personalized emails they receive from campaigns. about 2.org Director Brooks Jackson said at the National Press Club panel that the campaigns aren't sending all of those things to reporters. If you don't actually care about offending all of these actual Democrats who aren't going to vote for Linda Lingle. That means fact-checkers are saved by the "limited imaginations" of those who work for campaigns.org has also asked readers to help round up examples of targeted mailings. according to ProPublica's website." New York Times: Campaigns Use Social Media to Lure in Younger Voters http://www. which "makes it very." Landry said." Landry said.html?_r=1 Jenna Wortham October 7. but there is a huge potential for flying under the radar and telling targeted groups of voters things that aren't true. and you want to utilize them to convince Barack Obama voters or Democraticleaning voters. But it's really bothersome. very difficult for us to parse through all this stuff and do any useful pushback before the election. But it also means voters are being lied to in the days leading up to the election. so I don't think they're doing very good in terms of targeting. "For all the people who are less engaged than someone like you or I." So far. it is not enough for candidates to shake some hands. that are just going to peripherally see that they have friends who might be left-leaning. then it's smart. "They sent me an ad that kind of pisses me off. Democrats For Lingle Landry made clear that Lingle's Facebook ad didn't work on him. and where we can see every ad that goes up. he said. 2012 In 2012. "As crass as it is. They also need to be posting funny little animations on the blogging site Tumblr." He believes many targeted messages are repetitions of falsehoods that have already been debunked. I think it's smart maneuvering. called Message Machine. FactCheck. The project." Jackson said targeted mailers really flood in during the final weeks of the campaign. robo-calls and emails — with limited success. Landry's made up his mind and won't be voting for the former Republican governor. kiss a baby or two and run some TV ads. if you don't care about them. FactCheck. "We're pretty good on screening the TV ads. "It's not like they're putting it on a television station where it can be monitored.000 emails have been submitted." Jackson said. But that doesn't mean the approach won't work on others.nytimes. . they're going to get a message that people who aren't Republicans are going to support Lingle.com/2012/10/08/technology/campaigns-use-social-media-to-lure-youngervoters. has the stated goal of tracking the subtle differences between the messages and cross-referencing them with the recipients' demographic profiles to "reverse engineer the 2012 campaign.

” .” (Laura Olin. Romney’s reference to cutting financing for PBS by posting something that was circulating on Twitter: a picture of Big Bird from Sesame Street with the caption “Mitt Romney’s Plan to Cut the Deficit: Fire This Guy. the Romney campaign pounced. adding frosted pumpkin bread recipes to Pinterest and posting the candidates’ moments at home with the children on Instagram.” Mr. the more likely he is to win. “This seat’s taken. slogans and the like that have been generated by their supporters. Mr. where political dialogue often takes the form of remixed photos and quirky videos. Mr. but they are based on some old-fashioned political principles. They are taking to fields of online battle that might seem obscure to the non-Internet-obsessed — sharing song playlists on Spotify. particularly on Tumblr.” said Mr. Moffatt said. plastered with cutting captions. in particular. who may not watch television or read the paper but spend plenty of time on the social Web. according to Zachary Moffatt. images of Mr. These might show the president high-fiving children or hugging his wife and daughters.” That retort is in line with the overall social media presence of the Obama campaign. their 2012 versions are well into the deep end. The Obama team. when Mr. the digital director for the Romney campaign. The campaigns want to inject themselves into the conversation on services like Tumblr. And the slightest gaffe on the campaign trail can become a “Groundhog Day” moment.” And Clint Eastwood’s mock interview with the president at the Republican convention sent the Web into a frenzy. sharing on Twitter a photo of him in a chair marked “The President. In July. uploading photos of hot-dog-joint owners and others displaying signs with variations on the slogan “I built this. Other clips poke fun at rivals or give knowing nods to hip television shows like “Parks and Recreation.” And on Twitter. The morning after the debate. which tends to be sharper and more attitude-laden than the Republican efforts. who previously worked at a digital strategy agency.) Both camps tend to rely heavily on photos. The techniques may be relatively new. that have been made by others. “Even a typo is a big deal.If the presidential campaigns of 2008 were dipping a toe into social media like Facebook and Twitter. the Obama Tumblr followed up on Mr. and Twitter was flooded with parodies. Within minutes. At stake. “The more people who interact with Mitt. Obama’s team joined in. a well-intended post or picture on social networks can quickly morph into a disaster.” But as is the way of the Web. the campaigns say they believe. Obama told a crowd of supporters “You didn’t build that” while talking about the importance of public infrastructure. particularly younger ones. repeated endlessly. “The more people you talk to. Moffatt. Obama’s team used an obscure clip of Lindsay Lohan saying “It’s October 3” in the comedy “Mean Girls. hit Tumblr. To remind Tumblr users about the first presidential debate on Wednesday. are votes from citizens. Mitt Romney’s bodyguard posted a picture of the candidate’s family playing Jenga before the debate. or short looping video clips. helps lend a savvy tone to the campaign’s Tumblr efforts. Eastwood on stage. Social extends and amplifies that. is fond of posting GIFs.” with the caption. the more likely you are to win. who oversees about 120 staff members and volunteers.

Flickr and Instagram serve as scrapbooks from the campaign trail.” or likes and reposts from users. “But we just know it’s bad if you don’t do it. blast out reminders of events and share articles and videos conveying their stances. sticking largely to posterlike photos with slogans like “No.” Its posts rarely get more than 400 responses. When Michelle Obama posts a message on Twitter or shares an image on the campaign’s Pinterest board. “It’s about authentic. the Romney campaign’s presence on Tumblr is more subdued. Twitter and Facebook are still the biggest avenues for online canvassing. Romney prefers Johnny Cash? Though the returns on such efforts are not easily quantifiable.” Coye Cheshire. two-way communication. the candidates themselves are not actually doing the posting.” Fox News: Social media weighs in on 2012 presidential debate http://www. Cheshire. The campaign quickly took down the image. On Tumblr and Pinterest. As important as the campaigns say these efforts are. has her own.com/tech/2012/10/04/social-media-weighs-in-on-2012-presidential-debate/ AP . Ann. “It is important for people to know whether or not a huge political figure shares the same taste as me. While Mr.” said Adam Fetcher. It may be hard to fathom what posting video clips or music playlists on less mainstream sites has to do with the election. while Mr. Romney has a campaign-run Pinterest board. the chief executive of Socialbakers. “Social media is a natural extension of our massive grass-roots organization. saying they did not want to tip off the competition. Those who keep up with the Obama campaign on Tumblr seem to approve of the approach — with some posts attracting close to 70. with their broad demographic reach and user numbers that have grown tenfold from four years ago. showing the candidates trying the pie at small-town restaurants. Does it really matter to voters if Mr.At times the campaign’s freer-wheeling tone can get it into trouble: an image it shared on Tumblr that urged followers to “vote like your lady parts depend on it” drew criticism from conservative bloggers and others who thought it was in poor taste.” said Dr. her posts bear her initials — “mo” — so they stand out among those generated by campaign staff. Obama has Stevie Wonder on his list. Both campaigns have teams of Internet-adept staff members who try to coordinate their strategy and message across many social sites. showcasing her favorite crafts projects and books. neither party is taking any chances. pointed to another motivation for such seemingly trivial online updates. “What’s the return on putting your pants on in the morning? We don’t know.” By comparison. They declined to specify how this works. who studies behavior and trust online. But sometimes their wives are. deputy press secretary for the Obama campaign.” said Jan Rezab. “And creating a playlist on Spotify is part of what makes them seem more human. his wife.foxnews. saying it had not been properly vetted. a social media analytics firm. we can’t. an associate professor at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley. But both rely heavily on Facebook and Twitter to solicit donations. the campaigns often highlight photos and other material from supporters.000 “notes.

a web analytics firm. it's growing.October 4. Social media has democratized the commentary. . Unlike the wider viewing audience. debate watchers who comment on social media "are politically engaged in the strongest possible way. The group found 47. Until recently. 'People use social networks to have influence. an assistant professor of communication at American University Twitter announced shortly after Wednesday's debate that it had been the most tweeted event in U." Twitter scored Romney the debate's clear winner according to Peoplebrowsr. But.677 mentioning Obama and "win or winner. Peoplebrowsr found. especially on the industry giant Facebook and on Twitter. MTV's Video Music Awards and the Super Bowl." Powers said.115 and "Mitt" with 5. "People still use old media to watch the debates. voice opinions and be involved.141 tweets mentioning Romney and "win or winner" compared to just 29. 45 percent by men. a smaller but highly engaged subset took to social networks to discuss and score the debate as it unspooled in real time. and I'm not sure how much middle America is represented. coming in just behind the most recent Grammy awards. director of the Crowdwire.1 million comments.446. "Old media is not dead. an assistant professor of communication at American University who studies social media and politics. And Mitt Romney crushed President Barack Obama. Wednesday's debate was the fourth most tweeted telecast of any kind." said Scott Talan. but they use social networks and other new media to have influence. many television analysts now monitor Twitter and Facebook feeds and use information gleaned from those platforms to inform their punditry.Scott Talan. political history." Romney was also the top tweet in battleground states including Florida. according to William Powers. While millions turned on their televisions to watch the 90-minute showdown." The political conversation plays out across a range of social platforms. the top two debate tweets were "Romney" with 15. topping this year's Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Those were the judgments rendered across Twitter and Facebook Wednesday during the first debate of the 2012 presidential contest. a key swing state where polls show Obama has emerged with a lead in recent weeks. an election project of the social analytics firm Bluefin Labs. the social networking hub where opinions are shared through 140-character comments known as tweets. giving voice to a far wider range of participants who can shape the narrative long before the candidates reach their closing statements. Nevada and Colorado. Reflecting the changing times.S. It does skew younger. 2012 Big Bird is endangered. he added. Jim Lehrer lost control. "Obama" placed third with 5.' . "it's a bit of a hothouse population. Ohio. voice opinions and be involved. With 11. But now we have more people involved and engaged because of digital means. The project found 55 percent of the social comments about the debate were made by women.328. In Ohio. debate watchers would have waited through the entire broadcast to hear analysis and reaction from a small cadre of television pundits.

to Jenga. During a lull in the debate.Big Bird.Search engine Google announced the debate's four most searched terms: Simpson-Bowles (the bipartisan fiscal commission Obama appointed). musician. a stacking game Romney and his wife. “I started using Facebook in college in 2005."Obama: solid blue tie with dimple. non-energetic and meandering . Social media participants marveled at Romney's strong outing and pronounced Obama's debate performance flat. "This was a disaster for the president. founder/partner @veracitymedia. Obama supporters were some of his toughest critics. wrote on Facebook." . the social chatter settled into a few major themes. Who is Winning the Debate. an ABC news executive tweeted. from the candidates' attire and appearance . were reportedly playing with their grandchildren before the debate began. the consensus on social networks was that Romney's debate performance had breathed new life into his campaign. Ann.J. Torpey’s social media involvement preceded his political career. Dodd-Frank (a democratic-backed financial reform law). And just as a youthful John F. . While Obama has been leading Romney in battleground state polls in recent days. OpenGov advocate. a new generation of local politicians is using its tactical advantage as digital natives to woo the electorate and launch open government initiatives. volunteer EMT.Romney's big win. Andrew Sullivan. grad student. The veteran PBS newsman was widely panned as the debate moderator on social media. with viewers complaining he asked weak questions and did a poor job of keeping command of the debate's time and tempo. Torpey’s Twitter profile describes him as “Mayor of @southorangenj. The debate. philosopher. Consider Alex Torpey.” Unlike older public officials. . a pro-Obama writer for the Daily Beast whose Twitter feed." Joe Mercurio. From there.a dud. the 25-year-old mayor of South Orange. Romney said he would defund public broadcasting to bring down the deficit but added that he liked Big Bird. writer. "It could have been worse. and Big Bird. "avian life is outstripping human life in this debate. a New York media buyer.” he says. has a loyal following. was a numbers-heavy discussion of the economy.Jim Lehrer. declared. Early in the debate. person. and his performance drew jeers from countless participants. focused on domestic issues." tweeted a woman with the Twitter handle of Bookgirl96. Sullydish. (official title. It produced strong reactions on Twitter from its earliest moments." tweeted publisher Arianna Huffington . a popular character on PBS' "Sesame Street.com/2012/10/02/social-media-and-local-politics/ Anne Nelson October 2. no dimple. with participants posting spoof photos of Big Bird and other "Sesame Street" characters on Facebook and setting up parody Big Bird Twitter accounts." Social networks immediately responded." Mashable: Social Media is the Secret Weapon in Local Politics http://mashable. debt and entitlement reform. Romney: red tie with stripes. “Village President”). and it continues to expand its influence at every level of American politics. N. Lehrer's name became a trending topic on Twitter. as an undergraduate at Hampshire College. 2012 Social media first took the national spotlight in the 2008 elections. Kennedy benefited from his grasp of television in the 1960 elections. "Jim Lehrer is like the grandpa at dinner table who falls asleep and wakes up randomly shouting. “There’s an .

’” Torpey’s findings are born out by a recent study from Brock University analyzing the use of social media in the 2010 Niagara (Ontario) municipal election. he is unusual among local politicians in having his own YouTube channel. Last year when we had all these crazy storms. He’s exploring crisis mapping platforms to initiate SeeClickFix for municipal services. most of it had a billboard function (as in “Support Me” from the candidate and “I Support You” from the voters). Booker had earned an astonishing 1. “I have both a Facebook personal page and a fan page. N. Torpey says. “People really like videos. A recent post on Proof Branding’s marketing blog listed reasons for Booker’s success. Whereas the town was accustomed to five or seven people showing up for budget meetings. But if I’m mayor of a town and sending a message out to the people in the town.” However. one-directional type of communication used in mass media.” This allows him to answer direct questions about how tax money is being spent. I started the fan page during the election. it’s counted as spam.” One of the best-known figures in U. Torpey feels that Facebook has been slow to adapt to the needs of the political process. he believes. “We’ve had a couple hundred people take a look at our budget online.” Torpey also deploys Instagram to promote local events and Foursquare to announce his whereabouts to constituents. Although the local candidates used an array of social media in their campaigns. As of September 2012. “it’s easier to see other people commenting on something. a means to promote voter registration and engagement among the young.com. political social media is Corey Booker. People were basically split between the two.” Torpey has found a surprising amount of support in South Orange. and my Facebook page became a hub of information for people who had power out.” Torpey has gotten better responses on Facebook than on Twitter because. there were some residents who had power out for a week. Most candidates failed to stimulate genuine interaction.J. For example. and he’s interested in trying Localocracy.S. “You’re not supposed to friend people you don’t know. flyers and most websites.000.” adding that candidates will need to realize how social media differs from the “news-release. When he ran for office in 2011. The study concluded that “social media did not have a significant impact on the electoral success of the candidates. and I had to choose between them -– I wanted to be able to send messages. He’s most excited about his township’s open data initiatives.2 million followers on Twitter.interesting thing happening with people under 25 or 30 who started using social media personally and now start using it professionally. a prosperous New York suburb of population 20. they said ‘I want to get involved and make the town better. mayor of Newark. he saw his social media platforms as an alternative to paid ads and has continued to experiment on multiple networks. but found it didn’t meet my needs.” Torpey is on a fast (and well-informed) learning curve. which include his hyper-local (and hyper-interactive) sensibility: . “When I sent the explanation of how things fit together. “People will turn the video on and start making dinner.” he reports.

since you have greater reach to women with it. This became apparent with New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s 2011 “sexting” scandal. But no one is monitoring it.” At the same time. Booker announced that he had raised $1.) One analyst who is watching this space closely is Micah Sifry. local politicians have also become aware of social media’s risks. has also been dubbed a “Pinterest for video.there’s a freedom and directness they enjoy. But he admits that the social media usage of local officials is difficult to track. conversations. when Weiner tweeted suggestive comments and pictures of himself to a female constituent. That’s not as bad as what Anthony Weiner did. In Berlin.” (Other backers include Google‘s executive chairman Eric Schmidt. and policing each other’s political values. This would not have been a possibility in the days of old media. costing him his office. But the brave new world of political social media has blurred many of these lines. In the past. broadcasting out content that has been drafted from senior campaign officials. “There are rules against this. people would have resisted the idea of an elected official founding a news organization that covers himself. co-founder and editor of the Personal Democracy Forum. “You’re not supposed to use campaign resources for office resources. “a social artery for video news.S. “You don’t have as many interns managing the feeds any more. “You still see staffers accidentally tweeting from their boss’s account. Facebook and YouTube.” No one should assume that the U. has the last word in social media and local politics. No media seems to stop the ability of politicians to be complete idiots. out of necessity.75 million in funding for #waywire. One of the earliest products is a video series in which Corey Booker and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill) respectively stand in as “surrogates” for their parties’ presidential candidates. Bloomberg news and Bloomberg Government. Lots of local officials like being in charge of their accounts –. which allows party members to directly collaborate with local officeholders on shaping the party . but not as much as you would think.” Sifry notes.” Many candidates create Facebook and Twitter feeds for their campaigns.) #Waywire.” University of Washington professor Philip Howard (currently a fellow at Princeton) notes some new research on how different politicians approach digital media. without the resources to look at them. inspiration and leading voices. A number of new ideas are emerging abroad. although “some are toying with Pinterest.In July 2012. which has only been operational for a matter of weeks. they often segue straight into platforms to address constituents.” in which subscribers post and comment on videos linked to their other social media accounts. Once these are established and the candidates are elected. but you definitely have slippage. (Think Michael Bloomberg. “Republicans tend to use digital media for coordinating their message. “The Anthony Weiner case made people a tiny bit smarter about being careful. ranging from minor misspellings to many forms of “awkward. Professional campaign managers at all levels dislike social media because using it results in some loss of message control. “We’ve got 100. and sometimes slip up because they debate and don’t stay on message as well.” Tweeting politicians were dismayed to learn that the Sunlight Foundation hosts a tool called Politwoops to display deleted tweets.000 elected local offices.” Sifry believes that most local office holders have rapidly learned how to use social media with more sophistication. when there was no way for paid political advertisements to morph into platforms for office holders. described as. “Democrats tend to use digital media for engagement.” he observes.” He sees most local officials focusing on the trifecta of Twitter.” One issue he signals is the problem of “the campaign feed morphing into the official. the Pirate Party has developed an open source platform called Liquid Democracy.” Sifry points out.

while Pinterest and Foursquare are still in their infancies.com/news/429424/the-real-debate-will-take-place-on-facebook-and-twitter/ David Talbot October 2. users. Congress tweet aggregator Tweet Congress pales by comparison. Twitter has 140 million U. a growing crop of analytics firms will drill down to see which moments—which gaffes. can use a feature called Diputuits. And by one analyst firm’s count.com had 6.” As the 2012 elections approach. BarackObama. when Mitt Romney made his infamous $10. Twitter or YouTube — have reached their tenth birthdays. None of the most influential social networks in question –. reaching 2. Wales. Campaigns and supporters will aim to seize the online “conversation” in a vast game of spin unfolding well beyond the telecast and media coverage. this spawned some 3. And the Democratic National Committee poured gas on the fire. visitors to the country’s biggest news portal. That conversation is going to happen whether the campaign influences it or not—so they better get their message out there and hold the other side accountable for mistakes. In terms of his online and mobile presence.” an interactive map of the House of Representatives with links to individuals’ Twitter feeds. This could be especially evident online. In Monmouth.) In Mexico. a Democratic political strategist. and which social media influencers did the best job amplifying them (see “Facebook: The Real Presidential Swing State”). playing into the stereotype of him as a clueless plutocrat. which became a trending topic.” Schlough says. During the Republican presidential debates in Iowa last fall.Facebook. one-liners. a far more extensive shadow debate will unfold across social media.S. pronounced “dipu-tweets. (U.technologyreview. and key messages—resonated the most. the local city council provided early and essential support for the development of their city as the “world’s first Wikipedia town. but the amount of people having that conversation in 2012 is a lot greater than it was in 2008.platform. Technology Review: The Real Debate Will Take Place on Facebook and Twitter http://www.9 percent of Americans . creating the hashtag #what10Kbuys. in some states elected officials are only one degree of “friend” separation from nearly every Facebook account holder in that state.S.400 tweets. (Alex Torpey is interested in adapting the model for New Jersey. And whether it was Richard Nixon’s haggard look in 1960 or Ronald Reagan’s dismissive “There you go again” line against Jimmy Carter in 1980. experience shows that a single impression or one-liner can carry or ruin the night for either candidate. to engage local government with its first hyper-local project.000 bet with Rick Perry. On Thursday morning. As a sign of just how pervasive and crucial social media has become. 2012 When President Obama and Mitt Romney take the stage for their first debate in Denver tomorrow night. “All social media is a conversation. the president has a strong advantage. It’s likely that more than 50 million people will be watching the action Wednesday at the University of Denver. Animal Politico. says JD Schlough. As digital natives make their way in the world.) Even Wikipedia looked beyond the U.4 million unique visitors in August 2012. According to figures from Nielsen. more than 30 million of whom joined in 2012 alone.S. social media will continue to overhaul American democracy in new and unexpected ways. it’s useful to recall that it’s still the early days of this movement.

“If we know that people believe stuff they hear from friends more than politicians. This influence can spill into mainstream media coverage. On social media platforms highly influential tweeters can make all the difference. after the debate. the Chik-Fil-A topic was mostly remarked upon by noncelebrities and a few gay activist groups. they will seek to use the social media to capitalize on the good moments and fact-check the hits the other side is throwing.motherjones. and one of them does something stupid. “Are they just looking at it as a political race. they can wage campaigns to deliver messages to different interest groups. analyzed how influencers helped launch public campaign against Chik-Fil-A. frequency of tweeting.8 million unique users during August. Overall the goal is not just to more broadly deliver a message. the fastfood restaurant whose president drew fire from some quarters for donating to right-wing groups that opposed same-sex marriage. “Much like the convention. NBC.” Schlough says.who were online that month. has been shepherding a list of 400 to 500 most politically influential people on Twitter.5 percent of the American population online.com—which includes both mobile apps and Web—had only 881. started covering the story. and AOL. who directs Bluefin’s The Crowdwire blog. The day after that. about 1. That may change after the debates. including the Guardian. Earlier this year PeopleBrowsr.S. MittRomney.” he says. but has not yet done any analytics on them. you are more likely to see a movie when a friend recommends it.3 million unique visitors during that time. as a race between celebrities. and frequency with which their tweets are further distributed. The following day the tweets came from journalist David Carr and bloggers and celebrities like Pink and Rob Delaney. MittRomney.000 unique U. which is not itself doing political campaigns. The company plans to analyze shifts in how people are taking about the race.com had 3. the bigger questions are: What are these guys going to do when they have power?” The first analytics might be posted Thursday. the figures were similar. “If they can get those influential people talking. On mobile. or smart—or if there is a contrast on an issue—it amplifies the impact of the debate to hear and to react and add your own spin. a San Francisco-based analytics company.com/politics/2012/10/harper-reed-obama-campaign-microtargeting . Mother Jones: Inside the Obama Campaign’s Hard Drive http://m. rather than if you’ve seen an advertisement. from Android and iPhone owners in the United States. says Shawn Roberts. After all. and a growing number of firms aim to identify which Twitter members are driving the conversation—ranking people by followers. he says. says William Powers. that analyzes social media conversations. Obama’s official app and mobile website had 1. or are they looking at it as a contest over positions on the issues? Let’s face it. but to ensure that it is delivered from trusted friends—the holy grail of marketing. those are the folks that will drive opinion. marketing director for PeopleBrowsr. a startup in Cambridge. If marketers and political campaigns can determine which influencers have the biggest sway on different topic and in different geographical areas. That’s why campaigns want to use all means possible to prime social media to distribute talking points in real-time. users. the mainstream media. On July 17.” Bluefin Labs. Massachusetts.

350 pages per week at a cost of 4 cents per page. Threadless wasn't the first company to market arty apparel to the Wicker Park set. where he was. reaching a high mark of 26. where he describes himself as "pretty awesome. 55 below his average." Reed painstakingly tabulates everything from his weight to his exact location. After studying philosophy and computer science at Iowa's Cornell College. he attended his first concert (David Bowie. and a cofounder of Jugglers Against Homophobia. I set out to learn as much as I could from Reed's online footprint. Reed describes his campaign role as making sure technology is a "force multiplier.) On that day. It was a personal best. that Reed. 2010. 2011.95 per square kilometer). where he grew up. one aimed at processing unprecedented amounts of information and leveraging it to generate money. Over the last year and a half at the campaign's Chicago headquarters. Reed is a veteran of the professional yo-yo circuit. analysts. a devotee of death metal. 2012 DURING THE 736 DAYS beginning May 9. and where. sent one tweet. Reed.5 percent of his time away from home since 2002. age 34. Eventually. and a full-size Airstream camper. he ended up at the online T-shirt retailer Threadless. inviting users to submit T-shirt concepts and vote . ultimately. FLOWCHART: How Obama for America Gets to Know Jane Q. the nerve center of the Obama campaign. McNichols Arena.141 on September 13. Much of Reed's work now is so under wraps that it's literally code word classified—Obama for America (OFA) uses terms like "Narwhal" and "Dreamcatcher" to describe its high-tech ops. a team of almost 100 data scientists.513 steps. invited visitors to purchase plots of land on the surface of the sun (a steal at $4. Reed was traveling from Chicago to Colorado.8 hours before waking up at precisely 2:47 p. Its website functions as a sort of community center.Tim Murphy October 2. Harper Reed walked an average of 8.com. video games. (His excuse: broken pedometer. WeOwntheSun. A certifiable hipster with gauged earlobes and an occasionally waxed handlebar mustache that complements his roosterlike crest of red hair. where he has spent 39. developers. So in the spirit of the sweeping data-mining operation he helped build. but its genius lay in its model.33 as of this writing. VoterOn his site. He has read 558 books in three years—roughly 1." says spokeswoman Katie Hogan. 2010. It was there. "Unfortunately. engineers. displayed the talents the campaign would later find so valuable. he moved to the Windy City in 2001 and began spearheading dozens of digital projects of varying degrees of seriousness. by all accounts. votes. row HH. he slept 14. Reed arrived on the sixth floor of 130 East Randolph Street. As chief technology officer for President Obama's reelection effort—responsible for building the apps and databases that will power the campaign's outreach—he and his team of geeks could provide the edge in a race that's expected to be decided by the narrowest of margins. produced with two other future Obama hires. seat 8). and old-school hackers have been transforming the way politicians acquire data—and what they do with it. in 1990. we do not discuss anything that has to do with our digital strategy. taxidermy. a big fucking deal.m. volunteers. by way of Chicago's hacker circuit. On May 11. The campaign declined to make Reed available for an interview. IN APRIL 2011. They're building a new kind of Chicago machine. who rose to become the company's chief technology officer. and a low of 110 on April 21 of this year." And that's about as much as he'll say on the matter. or to offer anyone who could so much as comment on the complexity of Reed's mustache. and. in a converted Ravenswood Avenue print shop cluttered with go-karts.

Knowing your audience is at the heart of politics.on their favorites. With Reed's help. "Before Threadless.org that aggregated information on government contracts in Chicago. The campaign counts at least five Threadless alums among its Chicago tech staff. Another tool. party affiliation.") The brilliance of Threadless is that it turned customers into workers. The operation's new-media team. prompting impulse buys. and brother. income. But now he had no doubt: "Users are king.000 index cards tracking things like a person's religion. Obama's first presidential campaign ushered in a new era of data collection and targeting. which borrows the layout and some of the crowdsourcing ethos from the company. a site called CityPayments. a handful are selected." That faith in the power of crowdsourcing informed his other ventures. and the work itself into a game. this precept has taken on a new dimension. Customers are advised on the precise number of shirts left in stock. Freeing the data earned him an award from the city and face time with the agency. and work with other startups. but in the last decade. led to an official commendation from the White House. Out of more than a thousand entries each week. A sixth Threadless colleague was invited to design the campaign's online store. average: 26)." Reed told an interviewer in 2009. Reed used the CTA's data to track every incident. high: 90. utilized social-media platforms to raise record sums from small donors and organize . In 2008. It's part of a new. be it a downed power line or a deer on the tracks. came calling. data-driven shift in the way campaigns are run. Although he felt the system—for all its creaky "urine-soaked" cars—by and large worked. (Reed.22. Mary. at least in spirit. Think of it as the smart campaign. immerse himself in cloud computing (he's taken to calling himself a "nepholologist"—a mashup of the term for atmospheric analysts and LOL). I loved users but didn't trust them. a veteran of the 2008 campaign who had been appointed chief integration and innovation officer. It's almost impossible for a new T-shirt to flop because the target audience already has declared it a hit. Charles. Reed's mission is simple but ambitious: Assemble a data-mining infrastructure that allows the campaign to determine which voters to target and how to do it on a scale and scope that's never been seen before. Reed had shown little interest in political work. THE USE OF DATA mining as a political tool traces its origins. helping 10 designs get printed. to 1897. Then Michael Slaby. "has scored 281 submissions. when. It became the basis for the perennial candidate's lucrative—although never victorious—direct-mail operation. in the aftermath of William Jennings Bryan's first failed run for the White House. and Dylan Richard. his wife. He also began looking for interesting ways to use it. His plan post-Threadless was to take some time to experiment. including Scott VanDenPlas. Profiles display a user's level of involvement in real time. Each day's incidents were scored according to severity (low: 4. and identify trends. as he was leaving the company. he wanted to understand what happened when it failed. When Reed joined OFA. he didn't just bring his own expertise. he got the band back together. for example. which included Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes (now owner and editor in chief of The New Republic). the campaign's director of engineering. a selfdescribed futurist who runs the campaign's development operations (a hybrid of programming and IT). They built a database of 200. giving an average score of 3. Yet aside from volunteering briefly for the Obama campaign in 2008. and occupation. Reed hacked the Chicago Transit Authority's bus tracker app and made its information public. combed through letters from supporters for relevant personal information. Threadless built a mini social network and seeded it with just enough incentives to boost its bottom line.

If an Iowa college student joined the Students for Barack Obama Facebook group. couldn't be easily synced up with data gathered offline. employed A/B testing to figure out which combination of images. includes both public information that campaigns disclose to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and nonpublic data like the names of small-dollar donors. the increasingly powerful email lists. She is then able to enter more . When Reed volunteered his services the weekend before Super Tuesday in 2008. and will also be able to call up tips on what issues to raise and what kind of pitch to make. It also began to look for efficiencies in-house.) All told. which is derived from the campaign's voter analytics. which the campaign compiles itself. which includes your name. it will leave him off email blasts relating to reproductive rights and personalize its pitch by highlighting Obama's role in the auto bailout—or Romney's outsourcing past. That meant. text. It existed in separate databases.com visitors to reach for their credit cards. Siroker estimated A/B testing boosted OFA's fundraising by $100 million. and videos were most likely to compel BarackObama. For example. That's where Reed and his geek squad come in. the challenge—and. this information has been compartmentalized within various segments of the campaign. It was important work. The goal of Project Narwhal was to link all of this data together. but also tedious: Voter information collected online. if the campaign knows that a particular voter in northeastern Ohio is a prolife Catholic union member. might waste precious time talking to a low-priority target. track which blasts you respond to. 20 percent of its online haul. But the campaign struggled with integration gaps. Campaigns typically draw on data from five sources. Optimizely. By the 2000 election. the links you click on. Now campaigns didn't just know you were a pro-choice teacher who once gave $40 to save the endangered Rocky Mountain swamp gnat. analysts could identify trends and craft sharper messages calibrated to appeal to individual voters. a canvasser in the field will use her smartphone or tablet to access certain personal info about the voters she's trying to contact. The campaign could collect information by the terabyte—the Obama team. via the campaign's social-media platform. in fact. and whether you unsubscribe. who took a leave of absence from Google to work as director of analytics for the campaign. powered by different kinds of software that could not communicate with each other. Did you vote in a caucus? Did you show up at a straw poll? Did you volunteer for a candidate? Did you bring snacks to a grassroots meet-up? Did you talk to a canvasser about cap-and-trade? Contribution data. Once Reed and his team had integrated the databases. In the past. that a volunteer using the campaign's much ballyhooed phone-bank app. the major advancement—of 2012 has been to tear down the barriers preventing the campaign from taking full advantage of the information it amasses. A ProPublica analysis revealed that a single OFA fundraising email came in no less than 11 different varieties. he spent most of his time manually entering voter data into spreadsheets. Similarly. Dan Siroker. There's your basic voter file. they also could have a data firm sort you by what type of magazines you subscribed to and where you bought your T-shirts. publicly available information provided by each state. compiled by partisan organizations like VoteBuilder. If in 2008 the Obama operation grew expert at unlocking new tools to mine data and target different constituencies. political data firms like Aristotle had begun purchasing consumer data in bulk from companies like Acxiom.supporters. The fifth source. which automatically provided volunteers with the names and numbers of voters. by most indications. address. accruing 223 million new pieces of info in the last two months of the campaign alone—but the issue was integrating and accessing it. (Siroker now provides those services to a vast array of commercial and political clients—including Mitt Romney's campaign and Mother Jones—through his company. expanded the Democratic Party's voter data by a factor of 10. for example. includes more detailed information. by canvassers. The party's file. the campaign could follow up to ask him to knock on doors too. and voting record.

Taking Our Country Back. this time around Team Obama—which has been advised by representatives from Google and Facebook. one-on-one meetings convened. Fewer consultants. Those who did consented to the campaign's harvesting some of their Facebook data. that's tracked. Privacy rules. the 2012 organizing portal that Reed helped develop. technically render a lot of data inaccessible. not the other way around. who's staying on the sidelines in 2012. REED REPRESENTS an approach to technology that distinguishes the Obama campaign from its counterpart in Boston. A scoreboard allows volunteers to see how they stack up against their peers. The campaign. its real-world networks have shifted accordingly. If. according to Bloomberg Businessweek—is trying to emulate a start-up atmosphere in hopes of fostering the kind of innovation rarely associated with stuffy political shops. you write a paragraph explaining what the campaign means to you. My.com. in turn. "In terms of just the sheer amount of data that political candidates have on you. Facebook's terms of use limit the extent to which outside groups can mine the site. the campaign has grown even more sophisticated. . Whereas Romney has outsourced much of his data-focused operations. One of the campaign's most useful innovations in 2008 was to create a social-media platform. Volunteers can see their personal statistics updated in real time—money raised." says Josh Hendler. for instance. One of Reed's first moves as CTO was to fly with Slaby to San Francisco. there's no such thing as TMI. mimics some of the gaming tactics that Threadless pioneered. the Obama team isn't doing anything private companies haven't already been doing for a few years. Four years later. more in-house geeks. In February. Visit Dashboard. As the campaign becomes ever more absorbed in all things digital. a popular Mission District beer garden." In practice. Dashboard. But perhaps nothing has changed the game for political microtargeters more than the ubiquity of social networks.information—what worked and what didn't. as you're prompted to do time and again. and to a T my students use the word 'creepy. The effect is to transform the historically tactile practice of canvassing into something more empirical. If you sign your name to a petition on the site. conversations held. where they held an information session for techies at Zeitgeist. OFA unveiled a new satellite technology office in the city's ultra-wired SoMa neighborhood. support for LGBT equality) and added to your voter profile. calls attempted. But the Obama campaign has found ways around those barriers too. which issues resonated—directly into the system. I think everyone finds it creepy. focuses on the rise of the Democrats' digital machine.BarackObama. the former director of technology at the Democratic National Committee. "[They've] taken this sort of data-driven mentality and expanded it across the entire campaign. though. which vary from site to site. the first of a handful of such offices slated to open across the country. that text can be mined for relevant signifiers (say. But the scope of its operation represents a major shift for politics—voters expect to be able to obsessively analyze information about the candidates. "I teach this.'" says Daniel Kreiss. a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill whose new book. For OFA. that encouraged its 2 million members to log in with their Facebook accounts. can use this data to gauge which field offices are hitting their goals and which ones aren't. and you're given a never-ending variety of tasks designed to both engage you and learn more about you.

and more value out of those dollars. it can't change the prevailing political environment. Microtargeting can help candidates squeeze more dollars out of their supporters. "Basically we have a new world of information management that has emerged. It's a number that will only increase as more and more people consume media on handheld devices or DVR their favorite shows. To gauge voter sentiment it even crawled Huffington Post comment sections. In 2010. and it's a world that may well claim total impunity from regulation. "Lotame has been asked to stop talking about it. Romney's Bain confidants were stunned: "You mean they don't do this in politics?" Lundry signed on this summer to lead Team Romney's data efforts but. When Alex Lundry's conservative analytics shop. Moffatt brags that his firm can beam totally different messages to two voters in the same house. . which used a 25-element "pregnancy prediction score" that guessed online shopper's due dates. It's ironic that Romney's 2012 campaign is reduced to such a reactive mode since the former consultant was himself an early convert to the data-centric campaign. overall. is also the campaign's digital director. Hence Team Obama's shroud of secrecy around its digital ops.Romney's Boston campaign operation. That's 2005 stuff for commercial advertisers.) Asked about the company's political operations. the campaign has favored contracting the work of microtargeting to private firms. whose cofounder. according to a Mother Jones analysis of payroll data provided to the FEC. a University of Pennsylvania professor studying voter attitudes toward political data mining. Romney is placing an emphasis on "off the grid" voters—the roughly 30 percent of voters who Moffatt has determined don't watch enough live television to be swayed by commercials. the Romney campaign had paid $13 million to Targeted Victory. The good news for Romney is that it's never been easier to buy off the rack." Hendler says. Zac Moffatt. presidential elections come down to a handful of percentage points—obsessive intelligence-gathering can provide a critical edge. but in the political world it still counts as innovation. especially in the commercial sector. "If it's close." says Joe Turow. their privacy practices may be tougher to control because of the protections afforded to political speech. had no software engineers on staff until well after the end of the primary season. To illustrate their powers. analysts like to point to Target. by contrast. Crunching data can only take a campaign so far. according to the Wall Street Journal. like an iPhone app that featured a misspelled "America." But the campaign has quietly begun tackling the same challenges faced by OFA. approached the Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate in 2002 with the idea of using analytics to identify voters. a spokesman says. At Moffatt's direction. Political campaigns are just catching up. only with a twist. Its forays into the digital world have caught attention mostly for their miscues. a company that uses cookies to track your online habits—everything from the websites you comment on to the articles you share with friends. but once they do."* The line between data mining and cyberstalking is already blurred. (Huffington Post says it ended its relationship with Lotame after the incident due to privacy concerns. Targeted Victory began employing Lotame. TargetPoint. As of late June. and the quality of the program. Slate's Sasha Issenberg reported in July that the campaign had recently hired eggheads from places like Google Analytics and Apple in an attempt to reverse engineer the Obama campaign's strategy. you're absolutely talking about winning and losing the election based on the quality of your data. Yet in a tight race—and today.

the end price of an eBay auction—information that could then be used .I." The rise of the genius machines probably won't come in 2012.IN LATE JUNE. singularity—the idea that technological forces will one day usher in a new form of superintelligence that will forever change civilization—is something of a Holy Grail. Apocalypse. the tech consulting firm founded by Rospars and other ex-Deaniacs soon after the 2004 election that was the first serious effort by Democrats to harness the web for political ends. It's a vision of the future with plenty of appeal for someone who. as I finished hoovering up the online traces of the man tasked with assembling the president's data-mining operation. where he specialized in building algorithms from various data sets—like consumer shopping habits—to help businesses improve their bottom lines." i. His big idea this time around— perhaps building on his stint at the PR powerhouse Edelman—is "micro-listening. revolutionized the way campaigns used the web during Obama's 2008 race by borrowing tactics from social networks and Google. and analytics departments. computational advertising. Obama for America (OFA) quietly has added dozens of positions that never would have existed 10 years ago—titles like chief scientist. another 2008 vet. 13 million email addresses.e. battleground states election analyst. it's Blue State Digital. It's about a high school computer geek who accidentally unleashes an out-of-control AI program that threatens to overwhelm the world. $500 million raised online—and 365 electoral votes. Among technologists. The end result: 2 million Facebook friends. studying the habits and traits of individual voters to understand how to target them. operations (think IT). and online experiments & testing. Until then. helped Rospars run the campaign's new-media shop during that primary season before being promoted to chief technology officer. Michael Slaby. Harper Reed will have to do. with 96 percent accuracy. Here's what they do: Joe Rospars. As CIIO. Chief scientist A political novice. Rospars and Co.motherjones. and chief integration and innovation officer. 14. like Reed. He rejoined the Obama campaign in 2011.. Chief integration and innovation officer Kazuyoshi Ehara / Mesh Marketing / NewscomSlaby. right after name-checking Threadless. His bio on his personal website notes. Ghani developed a model to estimate. director of modeling.5 million hours of YouTube views. Rayid Ghani.com/politics/2012/10/obama-campaign-tech-staff By Tim Murphy September/October 2012 Last fall. MotherJones: Meet Obama's Digital Gurus http://www. he oversees the campaign's technology. owes his career to the power of collective intelligence. Chief digital strategist Howard Dean's lasting political legacy isn't the "I have a scream" speech. web personalization. In one of his more recent projects." Since then. Reed was polishing off book number 558. Ghani came to the campaign from Chicago-based R&D firm Accenture Technology Labs. social network/media analysis. a tech-savvy startup burst onto the scene with a hiring spree: "We are looking for analytics engineers and scientists in our Chicago headquarters to work on text analytics. "I am patiently waiting for the singularity. A. a job in which he faced the data integration challenges he's brought Reed on to fix in 2012.

Analyst If you get the impression that the Obama campaign is playing mind games with its incessant fundraising emails. to digital outreach. the campaign's one-stop online organizing portal. He's now owner and editor in chief of The New Republic. It wasn't for lack of merit. a web optimization outfit that provides services to both the Obama and Romney campaigns. there was one glaring oversight in what was meant to be a snapshot of the Obama digital world: women. glance: . Here's a quick. working under digital analytics director Amelia Showalter*. Washington research shop that specializes in applying behavioral science to lefty political causes. Backof describes his expertise as "Building better political mousetraps through randomized controlled experiments. Teddy Goff. another Blue State Digital alum. unionfounded. Hughes left the company in 2007 to pitch in at the Obama camp's new-media campaign in Chicago. Borrowing from his company's bread and butter. A cofounder of Facebook. Like many of the campaign's analytics hires. where he built a social-media platform. Goff joined in the collaborative effort to create Dashboard.to sell price insurance to queasy users worried about coming up short. Michelangelo D'Agostino. he started Optimizely. which helps Chicago track the progress of field offices and meet-up groups anywhere in the country. Digital director Christopher Dilts / Obama for AmericaGoff. handled new media for battleground states in 2008." Update: As many readers pointed out. Senior analyst US Department of Energy D'Agostino worked as an astrophysicist at Argonne National Laboratory and in Antarctica. On his Twitter profile. After serving briefly as an adviser to the White House. Alumnus OptimizelySiroker took a leave of absence from Google to join the Obama campaign's analytics team in 2007. to special projects. Chris Hughes. Backof came to the campaign from the Analyst Institute. Alumnus Brooks Kraft / CorbisThe 2012 digital campaign was built on a foundation Hughes helped create. he's never worked on a political campaign before. My. where he did fieldwork on particle physics and freelanced for The Economist. Now. that mimicked (and mined) Facebook's core features. now he's in charge of social networking. overseeing powerful messaging platforms like Twitter (18 million followers) and the campaign's Tumblr alter ego. Pete Backof.BarackObama. his skills have been put to use on Project Dreamcatcher. to organizing. a secretive. At OFA. Some of the top positions on the tech and digital side are held by women—from analytics. Dan Siroker.com. he used A/B and multivariate testing to increase volunteer sign-ups and donations (racking up an extra $100 million for Team Obama). he helps the campaign sift through enormous amounts of data to figure out whom to target. which uses text analytics to gauge voter sentiment. it's because they are. but by no means comprehensive. spearheading its data crunching.

Tumblr czar: Formerly of Rospars' Blue State Digital. deputy digital director: A veteran of the 2008 race (where Ewald directed the Obama campaign's email effort). from Craiglist to Google. before helping to launch the Obama campaign's San Francisco technology field office last March. helping channel enthusiasm online into fundraising dollars and volunteer shifts. unless supporters identified their friends manually.gif-friendly outreach strategy to (mostly) young voters. Facebook in recent months has begun allowing marketers to target ads at users based on the email address and phone number they list on their profiles. where she estimated it brought in an additional $1. featured a Parks and Recreation reference. Here she is introducing the campaign's new grassroots fundraising page as part of OFA's one-stop organizing portal. director of digital analytics: Showalter.slate. Ewald's working in an expanded role. Hoover's role is that of a community builder. highlighted by the campaign in private social media briefings.gif. Laura Olin. the office was unique in its scope. she brought A/B testing—sending variations of a headline or photo to a randomized set of users to determine what's most effective—to the Clinton Foundation." What that means. Facebook began allowing marketers with their own lists of email addresses and phone numbers to target ads at specific groups of Facebook users of at least 20 at a time. brings a simple philosophy to her work for the campaign: "Quantitative political consulting is producing the right metrics and models to make well-informed decisions. Catherine Bracy. in layman's terms: Showalter specializes in digging through demographic data and voter files to figure out where and how to hunt for voters. (A sample post. part of the campaign's . Olin is the voice—often ebullient.264 notes. Facebook’s tough grip on member data made it impossible to match up users’ Facebook profiles to their voter-file identities.com/blogs/victory_lab/2012/10/02/advertising_on_facebook_it_s_finally_good_for_win ning_votes_. Facebook matches up that outside data with information users have entered into their profile. but on encouraging local digital pros to chip in for the campaign in their free time. Dashboard: Marie Ewald. *This story originally stated that D'Agostino reported to Chief Analytics Officer Dan Wagner. occasionally snarky—of the official Barack Obama Tumblr. Slate: Advertising on Facebook: It’s Finally Good for Winning Votes http://mobile. who cut her teeth targeting voters through television.html Sasha Issenberg October 2.022. is the thing that could finally make Facebook a useful platform for winning votes: To amp up the effectiveness of its ads.Amelia Showalter. 2012 This. Betsy Hoover. but there was plenty of room for improvement. Ads had to be targeted through users’ “likes.571 in aid for Haiti. community outreach lead: Bracy reached out to heavyweights in the Bay Area's digital world. a Michelle Obama . Based in the city's tech-heavy SoMa district (it shares a suite with a social media startup). reporting to digital director Teddy Goff. This time around.In September. aimed not at making phone calls and knocking on doors.) But it's always on message: The campaign recently used its Tumblr as part of an online voter registration push. or based on their surfing habits on other sites…. from today's Wall Street Journal. digital organizing director: The Obama campaign's social media prowess in 2008 was well documented.” which naturally made it a poor platform for the two dominant modes of electoral . and 8.

Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan is outpacing Vice President Joe Biden by leaps and bounds in both fan page likes and people talking about this. what’s the downside? But the ability to link Facebook users to individual data points on their voter-file records ought to dramatically expand the type of electioneering that can be intelligently conducted on social-media platforms. For example. putting the Wisconsin native more in the league of his running mate and the president than the vice president.com/paul-ryan-campaign-strategists-favorite-facebook-features_b100939 Jennifer Moire October 1. A look at the Facebook pages for each presidential campaign says a lot about how the race on Facebook is managed behind-the-scenes. has talked openly about his team’s focus on engagement. Is anyone who clicks to “like” Barack Obama going to possibly be persuadable? And is someone who goes to the trouble to “like” Mitt Romney going to be the type of voter who requires an extra nudge to the polls? Since no campaign wants to individually engage voters in those terms without knowing who they are and how they are likely to vote. it might surprise you to learn that Romney actually leads Obama in the people talking about this metric. but typically with the goal of converting supporters into volunteers or donors. If one of the ads is served to a Cheadle-loving Republican. . A recent get-out-the-vote experiment by UCSD's James Fowler involving 61 million Facebook users demonstrated the network’s unique potential to combine online social pressure with offline voter identification. All Facebook: Paul Ryan Finds Winning Facebook Formula as Campaign Strategists Name Favorite Features http://allfacebook.communication: persuasion and mobilization. or engineered stunts that could go viral. One strategist on Capitol Hill with knowledge of the Ryan approach says the team has done a good job with Facebook growth and shows a willingness to try different methods. where poor targeting carries little risk. While Zac Moffatt. campaigns stuck to ancillary activity on Facebook. They produced content they hoped would be shareable. Ryan’s Facebook team appears to be more aggressive. They experimented with ad buys. It wouldn’t be a surprise to this strategist if the Romney campaign’s Facebook ad buy totaled $250. while President Barack Obama leads Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Facebook fan page likes. campaigns are working overtime to gain an advantage on Facebook in order to motivate supporters and get out the vote. Facebook ads have also played a role in the Republican presidential campaign’s fan growth.000 per week. top digital strategist for the Romney campaign. A fun example of this is suggested by Joe Trippi in a Politico story about small-dollar online fundraising: sending ads to promote a meet-George-Clooney fundraising contest to those who liked Ocean’s 11. There appears to be a clear strategy to funneling all of the campaign’s digital resources into Obama’s Facebook presence. 2012 With Election Day only 40 days away in a cycle that’s been dubbed the first “social” election. Ryan’s strength on Facebook makes me wonder why the Obama team — which pioneered the use of social media in presidential politics — isn’t doing more to make Biden competitive on Facebook.

a campaign could target senior citizens who are interested in fiscal issues and lost a child in Iraq. One strategist said he expects to see both camps use open graph integration.com/2012/09/28/social-media-obama-romney/ Samantha Murphy September 28. mobile advertising and Facebook’s new power editor are new and improved tools that are incredibly helpful for candidates.S. But the payoff could be huge for either party. including as a cornerstone of the campaign’s voterregistration drive — an issue that Democrats in particular have invested heavily in promoting across the country. As more potential voters turn to the Internet to stay connected — and less are catching political TV spots — the need to leverage social media to hit respective audiences has never been greater. a firm that works primarily with Republican candidates for the U. a partner with Connect Strategic Communications. Readers: Have you clicked on any Facebook ads from politicians this election year? Mashable: Behind the Social Media Campaigns of Obama and Romney http://mashable. both Democrats and Republicans are kicking their campaigns into high gear. We’re looking forward to watching the click-through rate for ads targeted to supporters we may not have been reaching on Facebook before. named this new Facebook feature as his favorite tool: Something we’re excited about is the brand-new custom audiences ad targeting. We asked digital strategists about some of their favorite Facebook features this election year. and now being able to target these supporters directly on Facebook is great timing for us. 2012 With about five weeks left until the 2012 presidential election. . Our campaigns have all spent a year or more building massive email lists.There’s certainly nothing wrong with using Facebook ads to spur growth. and the ability of candidates to properly showcase visually their records. Mobile CTRs are sky high. as well as location-based targeting and ads promoting sponsored search results. Custom Audiences Ryan Cassin. In the waning days of the race. House of Representatives and Senate. For example. With custom audiences. Obama had made a significant investment in using Facebook ads in myriad ways. expect both campaign’s to leverage Facebook’s ad targeting features to get specific voting groups to the polls. When it comes to advertising. especially with ads pushing last-minute fundraising. campaigns can now target very specific voting groups and quantify their reach like never before. People Talking About This GOP digital strategist Vincent Harris says his go-to metric is the people talking about this number: This cycle has made timeline incredibly important.

and then momentum builds throughout the day as projects in need of approval pour in. His day begins at about 7 a. Not only is it leveraging his more than 20 million Twitter followers and nearly 29 million Facebook fans — . President Obama’s team is also keeping social media top of mind throughout the campaign. Romney’s digital director.” Meanwhile. website and online advertising and mobile strategy — says the campaign is getting ready to ramp up efforts in the days leading up to the election. as well as email and text message marketing. “When we get into the final stage. from voters to journalists.” To do so. I have a young daughter at home.m. it’s important to have the right people around you. but it’s hard to measure success right now. “There have been a lot of really late nights. “We are moving into a phase of mobilization where every day is important. we will work with state teams for volunteers who do door-knocking and boast up our online strategy about eight times more.” he said. As time rolls closer to Election Day. We need to keep that engagement thriving. things wrap around 8 p. “Fortunately. “We are always monitoring the online audience. and the campaigns have to be that much faster.” he said. and we know people are engaged. with a series of conference calls and meetings that conclude around 9 a. across different states and departments.m.The force behind the campaign for Republican candidate Mitt Romney includes a digital rapid response department that works alongside the communications team at its Boston headquarters.m.” To manage the flow. coupled with the 6 million people already engaging on Facebook and Twitter. “There is a higher level of expectation for speed than in past elections for getting information out. The meetings don’t pick up again until about 11 a.” But after the election. Zac Moffatt — who oversees all social media initiatives. The campaign keeps an eye on social media sentiment and what people are saying. “I also want to spend more time with my young daughter and my wife. “There are about six million people connected to the campaign on social media sites right now. adding that he’s relied on Diet Coke to make it through the sleepiest of times.” he said. About 6 million people are already connecting to Romney’s campaign on social media sites. On a good day. so I like to be as close as possible to my family. Moffatt has just one thing on his mind: “Sleep. and not everyone is watching TV spots anymore. the team went from 14 staffers in the primaries to about 120 people. millions of people will start to visit the website in the next 30 days. whether it’s through mobile or social media sites such as Google+. and social media will play a big part in that. “The Internet is a powerful thing. Facebook and Twitter.m.” Moffatt said his team has become especially close throughout the entire process. so the team is about to ramp up efforts now more than ever. Plus. I don’t have to travel that much — it’s far more time-efficient not to travel and just get work done at the office. Moffatt said the team is about to work even harder in the days leading up to the debates and Election Day.” Moffatt said. noting that many even went to his wedding: “When you spend so much time doing what you do for work. so we’re trying to use the web to our advantage the best way we can.” Moffatt said.” Moffatt said.

Murphy has denied any such special deals occurred. with more than 200.S. 2012 In a prepared statement. Obama received national attention for participating in an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session on popular site Reddit. and volunteers can share their progress with others on Facebook and Twitter along the way. Social media is also being blended into other strategies.000 users viewing the session at one time. The campaign is using a Dashboard tool for supporters and volunteers.” Many applauded the campaign’s use of social media to respond quickly to what was happening. “As we push through the few weeks of this election. run by his campaign — of him sitting in a chair marked “the President.significantly more than Romney’s social media presence — by sending out registration information and statements about Obama’s views. Senate candidate Linda McMahon Thursday released what it is calling “its newest installment in the ‘Murphy’s Law’ series in the form of an interactive Facebook game.S.nhregister. Chris Murphy. including mobile.” the prepared statement said. social media is one important way we can keep a conversation going with our supporters and undecided voters across the country about the clear choice Americans face in this election — between the President’s plan to keep moving forward with an economy built on a strong middle class. both online and offline. Connecticut Senate: McMahon Campaign Facebook ‘Game’ to Urge Murphy to Release Documents http://ctsenate2012. Rep. Those behind Obama’s social media strategy are clearly sharp and quick. Senate to receive special deals from his hometown bank. It marked a key moment for the blending of politics and Internet culture. and his “personal ethics” and financial matters. so they can get all of the necessary information to become engaged with the campaign. each dot building the case that Murphy used his position of power in the U. Democratic candidate U. D-5. In addition. they uncover alarming facts about Congressman Murphy’s personal history.” His caption: “This seat’s taken. volunteers making calls through the Dashboard tool can have results uploaded in real time to the exact same system used in the field offices.” Obama spokesperson Adam Fetcher told Mashable. For example. the campaign of U. This eliminates duplication and redundancy.com/2012/09/27/mcmahon-campaign-uses-facebook-game-to-urgemurphy-to-release-documents/ Helen Bennett September 27. which took place at the 2012 Republican National Convention last month and became a meme that spread like wildfire across the Internet. they are also posting articles.” It contains a theme similar to the campaign’s previous use of what it called “Connect the Dots” to issues it has raised about about McMahon’s opponent.S. tweeting facts about Romney’s stances and using it as a platform to respond quickly when needed. . Obama tweeted a picture — sent from the @BarackObama account. too: It didn’t take long for Obama to react to Clint Eastwood’s “Invisible Obama” routine. and Mitt Romney’s plan to go back to the same failed policies of the past. “As players click from dot to dot.

how she plans to pay them back. such as the cookies she wants to bake for her grandchildren and. Senate candidate Linda McMahon's campaign tweets regularly.com/2012-09-24/news/hc-social-media-0922-20120921_1_social-media-campaigntweets-pinterest Amanda Falcone September 24. but he can’t hide the truth forever. he can rest assured that the McMahon campaign will continue the calls for him to come clean on behalf of Connecticut voters. reported the McMahons intended to repay the debts. Facebook wasn't as widely used by voters. questions still remain. 2012 U.000 home equity line of credit he was given by Webster Bank in 2008. An email seeking comment on the Facebook issue was sent to the Murphy campaign. As long as Congressman Murphy insists on ignoring his constituents. also as previously reported. Further. most did not tweet and Pinterest didn't exist. how much.” Hartford Courant: Social Media: Candidates Nationwide for Various Political Posts Are Using Social Media as a Campaign Tool http://articles. Her 2010 campaign spent most of its time and effort on more traditional campaign strategies like television commercials. also in the statement. but apparently not all. Todd Abrajano.99 percent loan was in the middle range of rates. the Murphy campaign has criticized McMahon for failing to pay debts associated with the 1976 bankruptcy action she and her husband filed. Voters deserve to know who she still owes. Senate seat two years ago. of her debts. of course. The bank released material showing the 4. It’s a shame that it took 36 years and mounting political pressure for Linda McMahon to finally pay some. .S. “How long will Congressman Murphy continue to remain in cover-up mode and refuse to provide the documents regarding his special deals?” McMahon campaign manager Corry Bliss said. "We try to keep the message consistent across all platforms.As this site has previously reported: Murphy has said he will not release his application for $43. Murphy’s income had tripled since the foreclosure threat 16 months earlier and the bank said it awarded loans at that time based on which partner had the best credit. “The McMahons had the ability to pay these debts a long time ago.” The game the McMahon campaign placed on Facebook allows users to “join the call” for Murphy to release the documents and is ”part of the McMahon campaign’s continued effort to urge Murphy to release documents” about 2005 and 2008 loans. The Day of New London. the statement said. and why she only now decided to make right on her debts.courant. interacts with supporters on Facebook and even uses new social media site Pinterest to highlight things that she likes. But times — and means of communication — have changed since McMahon's failed bid for a U. the Republican Party.S. which discovered the McMahon bankruptcy documents in the National Archives in Massachusetts." said McMahon's spokesman.” Murphy spokesman Ben Marter said recently. “Even after this stunning and desperate late-night reversal by Linda McMahon. “Chris Murphy’s dishonesty seems to have no bounds. which in this case was his wife’s.

including social media. McMahon's campaign employs one person who is dedicated to social media. he said. Murphy mostly uses Twitter. to make sure voters know the truth about Chris and the facts about Linda McMahon." "Our digital effort. For All. Rosenstiel said it's hard to determine whether using social media helps political campaigns. explaining that in 2008. got more than 600 responses. also uses social media. Last winter." Obama's opponent. Abrajano says that each campaign uses social media differently. the Pew Research Center conducted a nationwide telephone survey to find out whether voters pay attention to politicians on social media. The first photo of McMahon's opponent. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Recently the campaign announced a new initiative. and it's designed to engage Americans between the ages of 18 and 29. he said.S. Facebook and YouTube to complement other aspects of an aggressive campaign that includes reaching out to voters and discussing the issues that matter to them. The phenomenon began in 2008 when President Barack Obama got people's attention by mobilizing supporters through social media. McMahon's campaign recently launched a photo caption contest on its Facebook page. Obama is using social media again this year to reach voters in his bid for re-election. Abrajano said." said Obama campaign spokesman Michael Czin. They're being used in addition to television ads and interviews with reporters. The initiative asks supporters to post photos on social networks that "highlight why we are greater together regardless of race." he said. says campaign spokesman Eli Zupnick. but using platforms like Twitter and Facebook has become commonplace and he said people will notice if a candidate doesn't use them. For example. Sen. "We are certainly going to use every tool at our disposal. Democrat Chris Murphy." he said. director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. but the ideas for some of the more creative uses of social media are generated from a larger group. and now candidates across the country — from those running for president to those vying for a state legislative seat — are adding social media to their list of campaign tools. He continues to use social media platforms to reach people from the White House . This year." Abrajano said. "The biggest risk is not doing something. Facebook was much smaller and Twitter was just getting started. background. sitting across from former U. sexual orientation or zip code. Chris Dodd. the use of social media by political campaigns has exploded. but his campaign couldn't be reached for comment. It learned that a portion of social networking site users say social media is important for some of their political activities and the way they decide how to engage with . "It would appear from the numbers that we are doing something right. "In the case of social media that is making sure we are using all platforms to give our supporters the tools they need to reach their own networks of friends and family . Chris Murphy's campaign also has one staffer focused on social media efforts.McMahon is not the only political candidate who is now using social media to get a message out. said Tom Rosenstiel. particularly to young voters. McMahon and Murphy are in a statistical tie according to the most recent University of Connecticut/Courant poll. just like our ground game effort. tries to reach supporters and voters where they are.

one of your friends probably does. But Woo Factor is Thought Slight http://azstarnet. he said. links to press releases and take jabs at their opponents. Even if you don't "friend" or "like" any candidate on Facebook or "follow" them on Twitter.but only a quarter consider these sites important for discussing political issues or recruiting people to get involved in a cause. Rosenstiel said. 16 percent. LinkedIn." said David Steele. While less partisan. lawn signs and meet-and-greets. stressing that even with technology at their disposal. it remains largely ineffective at winning the minds of undecided voters. those voters are often less informed and may not be the people you will reach on Twitter or Facebook. leaving politicians to target the swing vote during campaign season. free and easy way to get their messages out.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/candidates-cast-their-nets-on-facebooktwitter-but-woo-factor/article_670b2ac2-35d0-5bb8-b95a-9aec2f63feb0. 2012 Good luck opening Facebook or Twitter these days without seeing something from candidates vying for your vote in November's election." Rosenstiel said. . a social blogging service. and that is different from when campaigns run television advertisements. 66 percent. A second survey found that 12 percent of adults who go online use Pinterest. campaign teams see these channels as a fast. Twitter. But in the end. When campaigns interact with people through social media. political strategists say. most users also said they do not use the sites for political purposes or debates. Arizona Daily Star: Candidates Cast Their Nets on Facebook. They regularly post videos. Rosenstiel said. 12 percent use the photosharing service Instagram and 5 percent use the Tumblr.TV and radio ads. "Who you are and who you are appealing to dictates your technology strategy to some extent. Votes are still won through old-school channels .campaigns and issues. they are likely talking to a more engaged audience. mailers and knocking on doors. "Its role is really best suited for mobilizing people that are already supporting a particular candidate to go out and get that candidate elected. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 66 percent of adult Americans use social networking sites such as Facebook. 20 percent and Twitter. However.html Brady McCombs September 23. stereotypical way — through television ads. and it says users who are the most politically engaged get more from social networking sites. LinkedIn or Google+ . a political strategist in Tucson. it's still necessary for candidates to reach voters in a more standard. he said. 40 percent of voters side with Republicans and 40 percent side with Democrats. But even as social media drives the election chatter. With social media playing an ever-larger role in everyday life. commentary. People have to choose to follow politicians and to participate in discussions. More adult users stay connected through Facebook. Pew says the amount of political material users post on social networking sites is relatively small.

S." Candidates keep their feeds lively. spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "You ignore it at your own peril. the Democratic candidate for U. but it's no magic bullet. any viable candidate now has a Facebook page. Twitter and YouTube . FaceBook posts The familiar icons of the social media giants . a Twitter account and strong presence across all the digital platforms. Senate. TV ads and campaign events. "It is a key component to getting your message out and communicating with both voters and decision makers.Even though they encounter plenty of political activity while browsing friends' profiles and news feeds. coming from someone seeking a second term." wrote Richard Carmona.000 online in just the last week. "It's not a wise strategy to rely on social media to persuade undecided voters. they also weigh in on news of the day." Facebook is increasingly used to post longer commentary or post pictures. In addition to the standard announcements of endorsements. a Republican candidate for U. A social media plan is essential to any successful campaign.S. President Obama tells a Univision audience that he has learned that 'you can't change Washington from the inside. such as YouTube.' " Jeff Flake. Whether running for president or county board of supervisors. often with several posts a day. only 16 percent said they have changed their views about a political issue after discussing it or reading a post on social networking sites. on his Facebook page. "But it is a good tool to talk to your supporters and hopefully they amplify your message. a Democratic political strategist.can usually be found prominently positioned on a candidate's Web page. "Keeping in touch with friends and family is by far the main reason why most people use social networking sites. co-author of the study and senior research specialist with the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. is used to post links or for quick jabs. positive news stories or other accomplishments. "The average donation was $70 and that tells me our strategy of leaning on grassroots donors over secret money and Super PACs is working … I don't think there's any doubt now that we have the momentum. we've raised more than $51. Spokespeople and supporters of candidates often engage in what have become known as "Twitter wars. which has a 140character limit. "So." Tweets. "Thanks to your efforts." said Aaron Smith. . How 'bout we elect someone who hasn't already thrown in the towel?" Candidates often use the sites to promote favorable polls." said Rodd McLeod. Twitter. Senate. "Curious statement." trading snarky barbs about an issue or something a candidate has done or said. wrote on his Facebook page this week.Facebook." said Daniel Scarpinato.

That gives a political mailer at least a fighting chance to get read by somebody not actively seeking out political material. "With all the clutter in the messaging marketplace. a campaign would send out a press release by having interns fax it around.After a story came out in which Republican U. strategists say. the secret weapon isn't high tech. interns post the full version on the campaign website. A 30-second spot that comes on between a popular show watched by a wide cross section of people. "I better go like all the candidates (on Facebook). mailers still big For raising money. "If somebody is undecided." Flake's spokesman shot back: "@CarmonaForAZ never ran for office as a Republican because it turns out he is liberal.com/sites/kellyclay/2012/09/19/is-romney-more-social-media-savvy-than-obama/ . with a link to it on Twitter and shortened version on Facebook. and enlisting and mobilizing volunteers. But winning the votes that often decide close races means getting your candidate's message in front of people who aren't actively seeking political news and information. Carmona's supporters deluged Flake supporters with Tweets that efforts to paint Carmona as a 'rubber stamp' for Democrats were bogus. national party committees have already spent nearly $1 million on TV ads. "The hard part of reaching undecided voters is getting their attention in the first place." That's why candidates still spend huge chunks of their campaign coffers to buy TV ads. Carmona's spokesman Tweeted: "Flake's attacks look pathetic in light of the fact that AZs top Rs wanted @carmonaforaz to run for Congress and Gov. Most people go to the mailbox and browse through their mail. social media is effective. such as "American Idol. and Web videos touting their campaigns. For him. it's not like they get up in the morning and say. In the tightly contested Congressional District 1 race between Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and Republican Jonathan Paton. many candidates have their own "channels" on YouTube that host collections of TV ads." Forbes: Is Romney More Social Media Savvy than Obama? http://www. People have to choose to follow candidates on Twitter or Facebook. connecting with media. Now." Steele said. McLeod said. Sen. "direct mail is still the most effective tool." said McLeod. but no tech." Also. Mailers also remain popular ways to try to reach undecided voters. meaning most followers are already supporters. the Democratic strategist." is a better investment than driving home your message with in-the-bag supporters. political strategist Steele said.S. Jon Kyl admitted that Republicans once tried to recruit Carmona to run for office. Before Facebook and Twitter. TV ads.forbes.

his official website. if you search for Obama on Facebook. and so on. Wired: ‘Social Media’ Really Does Rock the Vote http://www. A lingering question remained: Does that online social influence translate to real-world behavior when people step away from the computer? The challenge is to find online and real-world behaviors where cause and effect can be teased out with controlled experiments on a large enough scale. Social media savvy brands already do this in other arenas. Obama does know a thing or two about social media. you also get the kind of search results you would expect – news about his latest PR gaffes. The study comes hot on the heels of a Science paper originally published online on 21 June that tracked how people influence each other’s online behavior through Facebook. boasting 28 million fans on Facebook. If you search for Mitt Romney on Google. Biden. Of course. A search for Bill Clinton – who gave a monumental supporting speech for Obama at the DNC a few weeks ago – returns a sponsored search result Mitt Romney. and more.Kelly Clay September 19.com/wiredscience/2012/09/social-voting/ Sciencenow September 13. Instead. It appears Romney’s camp is utilizing a new feature in Facebook that allows a Page on Facebook to pay money to show up as a “Sponsored” result in Facebook search if users search for specific terms (such as “Obama”).wired. Paul Ryan. But is Romney’s sneaky campaign on Facebook indicating that his team might be a little more social media savvy than Obama’s? Instead of leveraging Romney’s own terms to promote his own campaign. a strong web presence and even a popular Instagram account – but Romney’s social ad campaign is something we haven’t seen much from the current President. his Wikipedia page. and is ready to harness the full potential of social media and advertising to reach as many Americans as possible before the election. while none of this will likely even matter in November. A study of 61 million Facebook users finds that using online social networks to urge people to vote has a much stronger effect on their voting behavior than spamming them with information via television ads or phone calls. though. such as with Google Adwords. or Clinton. whether it was Obama. presidential election. There’s not many rules to this form of advertising. he paid for his name (and Ryan’s) to appear as a sponsored result when Facebook users searched for his competition. 2012 If you search for Barack Obama on Google. . it’s a good lesson for business owners that have competition to always be one step ahead of them – no matter how big or small your potential audience is. and many brands take it for face value. hoping their own search terms earn them a place in that “Sponsored” slot when Facebook users search for their business or related topics. a link to The White House website. but this move by Romney shows he – or someone on his team – knows a little something about new media. You don’t get search results for the sitting President. 2012 Brace yourself for a tidal wave of Facebook campaigning before November’s U.S. you get the kind of search results you expect – links to Obama’s official website. a sponsored search result for Romney shows up. A similar thing happens if you search for Vice President Biden – you get Romney’s running mate. But a funny thing happens.

Do they influence me in different ways? Absolutely. student Robert Bond led the research team. With just a few tweaks to how those messages were published.D. It included links to local polling stations. Eventbrite. each containing about 600. and Facebook was planning on rolling out a nonpartisan “Get Out the Vote” campaign. But his campaign has reached out to tech companies like Facebook.” SF Gate: Romney campaign: biggest user of Facebook’s mobile ad platform http://blog.” says Dylan Walker. the director of a new “data science” team at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. to track who actually voted in the election. The study is “both significant and convincing. Then. would the Facebook campaign have an impact? Since no personal data of Facebook users would be released. and most of that boost came from the people’s closest friends (judging closeness by the frequency of interaction on Facebook). is to see what kinds of relationships matter most. about 60 million people received a message that encouraged them to vote. others are old college friends. Mitt Romney wins the presidential election in November. congressional elections were coming up in November of that year. yet others are high school peers with whom I seldom engage offline but whose updates I read on a regular basis. California. the campaign could be converted into a massive controlled social science experiment: With less than 40 percent of eligible U. I have different types of friendships with my online peers that go beyond the distinction of casual versus close. a social scientist at Boston University School of Management. a golden opportunity fell into the lap of James Fowler. . That translates to an additional 282.000 people. Two control groups. “For example. Marlow agreed.S. These companies allow us to be so much more successful because they bring their expertise to bear and allow us to be able to better glue together the best minds. a clickable “I Voted” button.sfgate.39 percent more likely to vote than those who received messages with no social information. He had recently been introduced to Cameron Marlow. It just so happened that the U. San Diego. On Election Day. and photos of six of their randomly chosen friends who had already clicked the “I Voted” button. a social scientist at the University of California.” Romney digital campaign manager Zac Moffatt said during an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt. 2012 If Gov. The Republican presidential nominee might not necessarily win over the area’s voters. Google. Fowler’s Ph. or no message at all. Rally and Square for help with its digital campaign strategy. he says. The photos apparently worked: People who received messages alerting them that their friends had voted were 0. the team reports online today in Nature. Twitter. If the influence of Facebook friends extends beyond the Internet. reminding people to vote by publishing a message on Facebook users’ news feeds. The next step. The effect was four times stronger than just seeing the voting message without photos of friends.S.In the spring of 2010. the team matched people’s names and birth dates with those in the official state election rolls. he might have the Bay Area to thank. Some are work colleagues that I see on an everyday basis. then seeing the profile photos should translate to voting out in the real world. Fowler wondered if he could create an experiment using Facebook’s giant social network. either received a version of the message with voting information but no photos of their friends. citizens normally voting in congressional races.com/nov05election/2012/09/12/romney-campaign-biggest-user-of-facebooks-mobile-adplatform/ Benny Evangelista September 12.000 votes cast.

” In the last 60 days. are also the ones who are most likely to volunteer. 2012 At TechCrunch Disrupt today.” Political Campaigns And Online Advertising One reason why digital is also becoming so important is because so many people now time-shift their TV viewing. “This will be the first (political) campaign in history where digital advertising moves from list building and fundraising application to persuasion and mobilization. those volunteers collected about $1 million nationwide. According to Moffatt. making it a lot harder to reach likely voters. “Nothing else has the scale and flexibility like digital. In his view. Interestingly. said Moffatt. Other technologies like Eventbrite’s event planning tools and Rally’s fundraising platform are helping the campaign generate better engagement with voters. Moffatt said his team found that one-third of potential registered voters did not watch TV last weekend other than for sports. The people who do this. but also because numerous startups now come out of presidential campaigns. Asked about this pretty astonishingly high number. “People are living their lives online and you can’t pretend this doesn’t exist. is that online advertising serves as prospecting to get people from Facebook to eventually creating an account on MittRomney.” Tech Crunch: Mitt Romney’s digital director Zac Moffatt: you can’t run a political campaign without digital http://techcrunch. “Online advertising is redefining the way people are going to get their message out. Twitter and Google+.com/2012/09/12/romney-digital-director-zac-moffatt/ Frederic Lardinois September 12. And the lessons presidential campaigns learn also should provide guidelines for future ad campaigns by businesses. “the only way we’re going to define success is if we can win in November. However. after all. not just because of the money it brings in through advertising and other means. ranging from the importance of online ads in political campaigns to the allegations that the Romney campaign bought Twitter followers. Moffatt said. the Romney campaign is now seeing click-through rates on Facebook that are close to 10% on mobile. Moffatt said. he said. Moffatt said. including through Facebook. the Romney campaign has become the biggest user of Facebook’s experimental mobile advertising platforms and report click-through rates of about 10 percent. As Ferenstein noted at the start of the panel. The discussion touched upon a wide variety of issues.” he said.Traditional television advertising may not be as effective in political campaigns as before.com. politics is becoming very important for technology. it’s now impossible to run a campaign without digital.” he said. That means a big segment of their target audience needs to be reached in new ways. this will also “be the first campaign in history where the campaign moves from just fundraising to mobilization. an engagement rate far higher than normal Web based ads. Moffatt pointed out that one thing in the . The campaign has also used mobile payments service Square so volunteers can collect donations on the spot at pop-up merchandize stores at events. During the week of the Republican National Convention. he said. our own Greg Ferenstein interviewed Mitt Romney’s Digital Director Zac Moffatt. What’s important to note here.” he noted.

“which raises doubts about the effectiveness of information-only appeals to vote in this context.2% increase in verified votes). users sharing messages with friends who would otherwise never have seen it. and the robust culture of civic . this study is an attractive selling point to campaigns and causes looking for a way to maximize their impact for little cost or effort. but more important to get people to take actions. Interestingly. Those who did not see pictures of their friends were barely affected by the message at all. Justin Bieber Would Be President One issue the Romney campaign is facing is that the Obama campaign has far more followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook. as opposed to television or radio. These. He argues that engagement is far more important and even though the Romney campaign has fewer followers on the usual social media sites.campaign’s favor is that “not everybody is running for president. face-to-face canvassing. though here the focus is more on video and getting people to share content. Romney ’12 is. produces about an 8% bump in turnout. Published in the latest edition of the prestigious science journal. the most important finding was that 80% of the study’s impact came from “social contagion”. If vanity metrics mattered.2%.” Tech Crunch: Important study: Facebook quadruples the power of campaign messages http://techcrunch. said Moffatt. This is the first definitive proof that social networks. among many others. In the 19th century. have uniquely powerful political benefits. While Facebook is unlikely return the United States to the 80 percent-plus voting rates of the 19th Century. which had a link for more information about local polling places.” The Romney campaign is also using Apple’s iAds. The campaign is also working with a number of Silicon Valley companies to optimize its processes. The study should be put in a bit of context. This is a far cry from when the United States had arguably the most active democracy in history. the 3pronged experiment displayed two types of “I Voted” messages. he argues.” surmise the authors. Turnout was verified from a database of public voting records. While the single-message study produced a moderately successful boost in turnout (a 2. though. As for the allegations that the Romney campaign bought Twitter followers. for example. because it would be wrong to both assume that Facebook could have dramatic effects on turnout or assume that it’s limited to 2.com/2012/09/12/important-study-facebook-quadruples-the-power-of-campaignmessages/ Gregory Ferenstein September 12. 2012 The first large-scale experimental research on the political influence of social networks finds that Facebook quadruples the power of get-out-the-vote messages. one with pictures of friends underneath and one without. Google.” It’s less important that people talk about you (and it’s hard to know if these conversations are positive or negative anyway). the 61 million participant study randomly assigned all Facebook users over 18-years-old to see an “I Voted” counter at the top of their newsfeed with the number of total users who had voted on Nov 2nd. “Justin Bieber would be president. For Moffatt. Nature. help the campaign to glue together the best services and do things like setting up pop-up merchandise stores during its convention that took in more than $1 million and used Square for mobile payments. this doesn’t seem to be a major issue. locally-controlled government. rampant vote-buying. it’s seeing similar engagement rates. political festivals. The best get-out-the-vote practice. If Vanity Metrics Mattered. using tools from Facebook. Square and Eventbrite. Moffatt only had one comment: “We had nothing to do with that.

who dominate social media. “The only way [Lt. However. so the power of social networks probably has a ceiling of about 10% at best for presidential campaigns. grassroots-centric race unlike anything previously seen in Texas. could not be matched to voting records.” he writes The likely upshot from the study is that Facebook may be able influence all the likely voters that would ordinarily cost a lot of money to reach. if we were to adjust for all these factors. . campaign messages could have a much larger impact than the study found. as researcher Professor James Fowler reminds me in an email. Facebook is potentially (very) powerful. Had no one under the age of 30 voted in 2008. Campaigns & Elections: A Social Media-Fueled Upset http://www. roughly the same amount that this single message-study did (of course. as Facebook bleeds into older demographics. In other words. or had already voted.thtml Vincent Harris 9/11/2012 Six months after Republican Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for U.campaignsandelections. we knew a strong digital presence was critical to Cruz’s chances because initially the campaign simply did not have the funds to compete with Dewhurst on TV.participation of post-Civil War America did more to boost voter turnout than all of the billions of dollars in modern campaigning could ever do (for more information. but there’s a certain percentage of Americans who just don’t respond to modern campaigns. the entire 2008 presidential parade only boosted youth turnout by 2. Social media allowed the campaign to motivate and coordinate grassroots supporters. Young people. From the outset. have a notoriously inconsequential effect on elections. Why America Stopped Voting and Amusing Ourselves To Death).com/case-studies/327457/a-social-mediafueled-upset. who?” Despite being outspent 3 to 1. which was critical for an insurgent campaign in a state as big as Texas. the study reached older demographics. 56 percent to 44 percent. Additionally. This case study looks to examine only one aspect of the campaign’s strategy—its digital operations. Gov. But.S. noted Texas political pundit Paul Burka posed this question in print about a race the overwhelming majority of pundits thought was a foregone conclusion: “Is it even worth writing about?” he asked. Ted Cruz went on to win a Republican primary against one of the most powerful Republicans in the state. Dewhurst was not only the heavy favorite from the start. On the other hand.1%. at the very least. Most importantly. many of those targeted by the study were not registered to vote. A lot more research is needed to understand how Facebook could impact voting rates and engagement with causes.. Obama still would have won every state but two. For instance. Senate. but he was backed strongly by the Texas GOP establishment. “We were intentionally conservative in our estimates published in Nature since we were testing scientific hypotheses. as well). And that would be . digital was baked into all aspects of the campaign from communications to political fieldwork to polling.. David] Dewhurst loses is if someone with more money and better conservative credentials than he has gets into the race. I think for comparison to other GOTV [GetOut-The-Vote] campaigns our effect size would be more in the neighborhood of 5% to 8% and we would find that the message actually got closer to a million extra people to the polls. Facebook could make it a lot easier and cheaper for campaigns and causes to reach all of the latent. I recommend two excellent books. With Ted at the helm. civically active citizens waiting to make their impact on the world. the Cruz campaign ran an aggressive.

The buy-in from the campaign’s senior strategists allowed us to effectively meld traditional media and new throughout the race. Google Ad Words and Twitter. we raised $4. Even Bing and Yahoo. Additionally. Travis McCormick. Running online ads allowed us to raise money. This was roughly a 10 to 1 return. combat opposition attacks and gain name recognition. Often underutilized on campaigns. generate online donations and respond to attacks from the Dewhurst campaign. for example—we targeted advertising on Facebook to people who “liked” those individuals’ pages. In the end. even another staffer. Paving the way for the campaign’s online success was a consulting team that completely bought in when it came to digital. We also used ads to rebut attacks coming from the Dewhurst campaign and his Super PAC allies. Social media and the digital space were used as a tool to raise Cruz’s name ID.180 on Sarah Palin keywords. which only represent 35 percent of online searches. For example. we found search advertising incredibly effective. Face book.525 of of those ads. Josh Perry. and the campaign created a robust blogger action center encouraging bloggers to post supportive widgets. By Election Day there were no less than three full time people working on digital. was brought on to manage the campaign’s day-to-day web operations. We also ran ads contextually around the name of the endorser. Ted met with bloggers in person and via phone often. Texas has a large network of active conservative bloggers and giving access to them was important to promoting Ted’s conservative message and helping generate buzz about his candidacy among the party base. Ted utilized web videos early on to break through the clutter and gain some earned media. we used our endorsements as key words for Google search ads. The goal here was to connect them to Cruz and garner donations. Sarah Palin. Online Advertising The campaign advertised across a multitude of platforms including Bing/Yahoo. General Consultant Jason Johnson and Campaign Manager John Drogin both believed that digital was an inexpensive way to help level the playing field with the wealthy Dewhurst. The campaign engaged bloggers to help energize the grassroots. and only spent $43. was added to the campaign’s in-house digital arm. produced a positive return. We ran uniquely branded search ads when someone searched “Cruz China” and other attacks that would lead people to a “get the facts” page on the main Cruz site. a young conservative who had experience in digital. Online advertising wasn’t used merely as a rapid .Ted announced his candidacy for Senate on a conference call with conservative bloggers. Additionally. employed a variety of online ad strategies and supplemented our traditional fundraising with successful online efforts. Josh understood the quick pace at which news spreads online and worked tirelessly with Drogin to respond to voters across the state. and created a segmented email list to update bloggers from. Once Ted received a major endorsement—talk show host Sean Hannity or former Alaska Gov. Between July 26 and July 31.96 on these ads. supplemented by my firm and the candidate himself. As the campaign progressed Jason and John reached out to me about bringing my firm into the race to supplement what Josh was doing and oversee a broader digital strategy. It shows how successful the ROI on online advertising can be when ads are part of a rapid response strategy. we spent $365 on Bing and Yahoo advertising and raised $3.

Talk radio listeners were another good fundraising source.com. There’s no doubt that TV ads have an impact on persuading voters and moving the needle in public opinion polls. Surprisingly. It linked to a Cruz Crew store. 1. Organic support for Ted on Facebook and Twitter was supplemented with ads on both sites.org. Ads were placed contextually through the Google Display Network on articles mentioning Dewhurst’s name. This way. Often a branded theme would accompany the money bomb: “Help launch the Cruz missile” or “Light the torch of liberty!” These microfundraising initiatives would have their own set of branded graphics for ads.000 donations under $100 and an average donation of $155. we made our way onto their screen with ads reminding them to go vote. What Does It All Mean? Virtually every study done on the consumption of mass media by voters still shows the dominance of television.098 shares. 42. if our content wasn’t organically showing up on voters’ news feeds. Most importantly.432 impressions. Ted would push listeners to his website. even in a state as big as Texas.response mechanism but proactively to promote opposition websites like Dewbious. Among its features was an interactive map showcasing Ted’s support county by county across Texas. and the campaign would meet them there with a uniquely branded landing page welcoming listeners of whatever radio show he was on. Cruz campaign manager John Drogin had the idea to build a branded microsite that would empower Ted’s grassroots supporters. the site provided tools for voters to connect and spread the word with their friends easily via Twitter. Facebook and Twitter also raised some money but paled in comparison to money raised via email. . Thecampaign would plan moneybomb initiatives. The campaign utilized online advertising. Facebook and email. sometimes weeks in advance.000 unique donors. During interviews. email fundraising and themed money bombs to successfully raise money online. we ran a promoted post advertisement to our fans and fans of our endorsements and received 793.58.136 clicks. around notable end-of-quarter deadlines or holidays. which invited volunteers to take on tasks and print out campaign literature. the website and emails to ensure that everything was uniform when it came to the visuals. Throughout the day new “promoted tweets” ads went up to people following Ted on Twitter encouraging them to vote and counting down the hours until voting closed. The concept came to fruition when we released CruzCrew. This melding of traditional media and new media was important to online fundraising success. The site popularly featured a “Grassroots Spotlight” that showcased dedicated volunteers and supporters. Ted had over 33. talking one on one to voters and utilizing the web as a means to harness support proved incredibly effective. email reigned as the best source of online donations. The money rolled in immediately following his on air requests. where voters could purchase t-shirts and other apparel in support of Ted. 1. That said. On Election Day.880 likes and 1. When it came to proactive fundraising asks by the campaign. Online Fundraising By the end of July.

The average Facebook user spends more than eight hours a month on the social network. we provided voters with tools to promote our campaign.org’s Donations Shows Us America’s Stingiest States http://pandodaily. Our effort to interact with voters on Twitter resulted in 2. donations and eventually votes. but 135 of those focused on interacting directly with voters. such as FacebookTimeline covers and profile pictures that touted our #ChooseCruz hashtag. earned media. Rally found that Democratic-leaning states were the biggest givers.646 shares and 14. Who attracts the most chatter on Twitter? That’s Obama. Now. PandoDaily: Rally. if you happen to live in a northeastern state or Wyoming. ”This election cycle candidates and campaigns have much more granular awareness of the impact of their messaging. . Every campaign could benefit from a strong digital presence—one that doesn’t simply talk at potential voters but that has a productive conversation with them. with a measly 49 shares and 392 likes.000 politically-oriented causes. and why. In total. but the two parties were pretty much even when it came to “moderate” donations (between $100 and $150) state by state.com/2012/09/11/rally-orgs-donations-data-shows-us-americas-stingiest-states/ Hamish McKenzie September 11. online donations tool Rally. On the day of the July 31 runoff.org can inform candidates in detail how people are reacting to particular campaign content. Sixteen of our tweets encouraged voters to head out to the polls.There’s no doubt where people are spending their time online: Facebook. Additionally. Make no mistake about it: Ted Cruz’s natural ability to drum up grassroots support and convey the conservative philosophy is what won him the election. we’re getting better data for this election campaign than ever before. where Dewhurst was only retweeted 64 times. and the Cruz campaign wanted to make sure if a voter was on Facebook.253 likes on our posts. whereas the Dewhurst campaign tweeted only 11 times. Digital simply served as a way to productively channel the energy into Facebook shares. As Rally’s infographics show. you’re more likely to vote with your wallet than folks in other states. and who are the most generous givers. The Dewhurst campaign updated its Facebook page just once. Rally provides analytics that help reduce the guesswork political campaigns previously had to do on what messages were moving the needle. The campaign’s social media efforts didn’t end there.144 people retweeting us that day. the Cruz campaign outperformed the Dewhurst campaign on social media. with a total of 2. the Cruz campaign tweeted 151 times.” says Rally co-founder and marketing head Jonas Lamis. What were the top ten most talked about moments from the Democratic and Republican conventions on Facebook? There’s a page for that. The Cruz campaign Facebook page was updated 11 times that day. So who among us are the most willing to dig deep into their pockets for political purposes? After studying the online giving patterns of 1 million individual donations across more than 10. You’re a candidate and want to know where your donors live? NationBuilder can help you with that. 2012 Thanks to digital platforms and the increasing importance of social media. they were interacting with us.

One of the takeaways is the boost that social media can give unknown candidates who lack the resources to launch radio and television advertising. and 1. launched to motivate volunteers to tackle mailing and other campaign tasks. In the end. And in the waning days of the campaign. a microsite.S. which yielded a 10-to-1 return on investment. Readers: Do you think campaigns this election year will turn on digital media tools such as Facebook? POLITICO: Tech Firm Snafus Snarl Conventions http://www. features a profile of Senate candidate Ted Cruz’s recipe for primary success by his digital strategist. The average Facebook user spends more than eight hours per month on the social network. it all comes down to engagement.com/news/stories/0912/80934. Cruz clearly had a message that resonated with voters. 2012 Facebook and social media played a pivotal role in the outcomes of several U. Harris added: There’s no doubt where people are spending their time online: Facebook. Cruz was a featured speaker at last month’s Republican National Convention in Tampa. and the Cruz campaign wanted to make sure that if a voter was on Facebook.html?hp=t1 . A new case study broke down just how the social network propelled one tea party candidate in Texas from a virtual unknown to a political insider. The David Dewhurst campaign updated its Facebook page just once. As far as fundraising.All Facebook: How Facebook propelled U. Yet Harris noted that.S. This way. they were interacting with us. 1. with a total of 2. as well as Twitter. Cruz spent money on Google search ads.098 shares. Vincent Harris.646 shares and 14. Campaigns & Elections. Senate Candidate Ted Cruz to Primary Win http://allfacebook. CruzCrew.politico. the campaign was able to not just talk to voters. it made our way onto their screens with ads reminding them to go vote. Senate primaries this summer. Harris said emails and appeals via talk radio were the most effective. which generated 793. if the content wasn’t organically showing up on voters’ news feeds. such as a Facebook timeline cover image and profile pictures that touted its #ChooseCruz hashtag. The politico’s handbook. as we’ve heard before. Fla.253 likes on its posts. the digital team ran a get out the vote (GOTV in campaign parlance) promoted post to fans and fans of their endorsements. Harris said tools to promote the campaign were shared with voters. through digital media. Here’s a look at how Cruz’s Facebook strategy played out: Facebook ads supplemented Cruz’s organic support on Facebook.432 impressions. but have a productive conversation that resulted in a major victory. although some donations were generated via Facebook. 1. The Cruz Facebook page was updated 11 times that day. For example. On the day of the election. as well as advertising on Bing and Yahoo.880 likes.org.136 clicks. yielding 49 shares and 392 likes.com/ted-cruz-primary-win_b99360 Jennifer Moire September 11.

The news-sharing site Reddit crashed while hosting President Barack Obama's question-and-answer session. online. Yet as of late morning on Wednesday.” Social media no doubt enjoyed dramatic successes over the past fortnight. YouTube.” according to a statement from a Google spokesperson. politics and culture. “After Tuesday's live stream ended. spokesman Andrew Noyes said. YouTube shut off public access to video of the DNC’s first night — including Michelle Obama’s speech — for nearly 12 hours. . Users who wanted to scroll back to see the first lady’s much-lauded talk encountered various error messages indicating that the material had been blocked because of copyright issues. who teaches about technology. to remind us that 2012 is part of a transition era rather than an accurate depiction of the ultimate technological destination.” said Fordham University communications professor Paul Levinson." he said. But snafus and misfires abounded. YouTube briefly showed an incorrect error message on the page hosting the completed live stream instead of the standard ‘This event is complete’ message. and its subsidiary. The DNC’s live stream was hosted by YouTube in a special arrangement. with Twitter and Facebook clearly firming up their places as reliable go-to spaces for online sharing and even political organizing. 2012 The political world has seen the future and the future — for now — is glitchy. This was the year technology was expected to transform an American relic: the national convention. We can look at this almost as a tryout for the major leagues. “This is still an age of trial-and-error for all these new channels. knows few rivals when it comes to posting and viewing videos.” The trouble was never fully explained. Facebook’s efforts to get the thousands of RNC attendees to identify themselves in a high-def photo from the hall drew only 75 participants. Top of the screw-up heap: Visitors to the Democratic National Convention’s own website could not play back any of Tuesday’s proceedings for many hours. and on-air. Facebook felt generally positive about its experience. “They constantly put up new gimmicks or options. Many of Google’s video “hangouts” were riddled with sound problems. we believe Facebook helped make these important quadrennial gatherings the most social in history. "From our teams' personal interactions with attendees in Charlotte and Tampa to the global audience reached through information and insights shared in print. some more serious than others. Google certainly maintained its dominance in Internet search. Yet many of the newfangled elements trotted out to open digital doors to folks far from Charlotte or Tampa encountered technical problems.Steve Friess September 8. drew tiny audiences or simply proved ineffectual. users continued to find that attempts to play the video yielded a message with a frown-face reporting the content they sought to view was “private.

“It’s a head-scratcher. It seems like when you’re having the president of the United States. a large audience online is relative.” Among the biggest surprises was that up-and-comer Reddit crashed while hosting Obama on Aug.” said law professor Jack Lerner.” said Dartmouth’s Brendan Nyhan. “We had a discussion with the journalist Rachel Sklar and Julie Moos of Poynter that had those lighting and glitchy audio technical issues and we showed parts of it on the air. We are working on improving bottlenecks in our infrastructure that should make the site faster overall and especially [during] massive events like this. you might anticipate he might draw a large audience.” said Vincent Harris. Twitter was quick after Obama’s Thursday night speech to announce “a new record political moment” after logging 52. 29 for a live chat.1 million were watching on TV. whose network conducted several Hangouts. Years ago. also ran into some challenges. a big number for the Web but a sliver of the millions who watch even the low-rated TV shows. it's an amazing feat that a social data-heavy site with only 20 employees was able to handle it at all.000 hours of video watched. used Hangouts to create videos for their sites.757 DNC-related tweets per minute during Obama’s acceptance speech. sites regarded it as a badge of honor to be forced offline by overwhelming demand. Many outlets. but “you’d think people would learn. including C-SPAN and The Daily Beast. Yet video and audio quality was wildly inconsistent and unreliable in many cases. The search company built special booths at both conventions from which politicians. director of the University of Southern California Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic. Seventy-eight thousand people is small town.” Reddit general manager Erik Martin said they "wish it had gone better but considering the short notice. C-SPAN spokesman Howard Mortman. a Republican digital campaign strategist working for Senate candidates Ted Cruz and Linda McMahon. more than 25.000 votes in a swing state could swing an election. Yet YouTube clearly remains a supplement to the still-dominant audience aggregator that is television.000 on Wednesday. it’s not a lot. Nielsen reported.5 million views of convention-related material during the GOP event for a total of 300. Meanwhile. “That’s Google’s technology. And YouTube eagerly proclaimed it counted more than 2.” Google+ Hangouts. perhaps 78. “It’s not really cute anymore to crash websites.” . but that’s in one state. a government professor who focuses on social media in politics. “No. Former President Bill Clinton’s stem-winder. The president’s speech on Thursday peaked at 178. for instance. too. “I can’t imagine that the Democratic Party wasn’t on the phone screaming at Google." Of course.000. drew a top live YouTube audience of 78. Google declined to make anyone available to discuss the Hangout or YouTube problems. “It shows there are limits. journalists and others could hold live chats with non-attendees scattered across the country. It will get better. praised the service for the convenience and cost savings it offers — no studio or satellite arrangements needed — but acknowledged there were downsides. a recordable online video conference venue heavily promoted at the RNC and DNC.” Mortman said.

and we’re always looking for new audiences. Paul Ryan for his “brass” — as clues to how these mediums interact. but more than 12. “Is there a shakeout coming? Yes. “It’s a way to take our content to where people are. creating accounts on every platform available. Users who checked in on the app while visiting certain locations in the convention cities would earn a special RNC or DNC-related “badge. albeit on Thursday. that can have an impact. Those who checked in also encountered Time’s convention coverage within the app. Pinterest and Foursquare. Foursquare had a surprisingly good fortnight.000 views. executive editor and Washington bureau chief Michael Duffy said.” Both conventions took all-of-the-above approaches to technology. A notable exception: The DNC posted on Flickr shot of Obama cuddling with his daughters as they watched the first lady’s speech from the White House that has drawn more than 186. “The real big. Facebook and Google search were incredibly dominant.650 total views for a set of 176 photos posted on Wednesday night. Given that the total attendance at both conventions. Flickr or LinkedIn. In the end. Even Obama — or a staffer on his behalf — checked in.” Indeed. The DNC posted the same message at the same time asking its Facebook fans and its Google+ followers to relate their favorite moments from Tuesday’s convention proceedings. was the 2. the call drew 200 Facebook responses but just six on Google+. there was precious little activity on Pinterest. is amplifying and echoing the news.” Nyhan said. it was easy to see what worked and what turned out ineffectual. Foursquare doesn’t release how many badges are awarded. “Essentially this is another platform to provide Time’s content.” Levinson said.” Actually. including delegates. Twitter.” The truest test of what the future looks like. “What’s interesting is what is happening in the interaction of tradition and social media. Harris and others say. a few hours before his acceptance speech. Levinson pointed to two moments — the RNC spectacle of Clint Eastwood quizzing an invisible Obama in an empty chair and the DNC moment of Clinton zinging Rep. That’s the future.” Harris said. Levinson said. “YouTube. “If you can get a compelling photograph. They’re not places people expect to find witty repartee or discussion. then.” Duffy said.” an online collectible of sorts.What these online platforms are good for. “But the nature of the convention is that there will be very few compelling photos. speakers and the media. Everything else is in the land of the niches. that’s a fairly high level of participation. The here-I-am location-based smartphone app paired up with Time magazine for special RNC and DNC programs in which politicians and Time journalists kept users apprised of where they were. long thumping tail is what people are tweeting about. was a combined 60. though. .000 Foursquare users have announced on Twitter that they’d obtained one at one of the conventions. A more typical Flickr tally for the DNC. will be when these tools are no longer newsworthy. That’s the problem with Flickr.000 people. there’s not much room in there for discussion.

intending for it to be shared across Facebook.C. And of course. urging supports to stand with “My President. To demonstrate their support on Facebook.org/mediashift/2012/09/mediatwits-55-twitter-facebook-rule-dnc-amazons-big-week251. Facebook Rule DNC. the reaction on the social network was swift and varied. As a follow-up. which serves to drive the message home. or his remarks. there’ll be much less talk of what impact social media is having. Fla. leveraged the sharing power of Facebook and the platform’s unique ability to influence voters through the power of friend-to-friend communications. like. Posts appeared 10 times over and every second. Romney’s campaign used the president’s primetime address to get his supporters fired up via Facebook. 6 million users were talking about the president. Here are some examples: Obama for America. While there was nothing that compared to the empty chair meme.” All Facebook: Obama Supporters Flock to Facebook During Acceptance Speech http://allfacebook.“By the time we get to 2016. Facebook users weren’t shy about sharing their feelings for the president. at the Democratic National Convention. and share reaction from multiple platforms and across the U. 2012 Last week.com/obama-acceptance-speech_b99092 Jennifer Moire September 7.” he said. N. the campaign’s grassroots organizing arm. users posted applause lines from the speech that friends could like or share. AllFacebook looked at the reaction on Facebook to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney‘s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.pbs. The campaign.. as well as advocacy groups. 2012 . Our informal observations revealed that users from both sides of the aisle joined Facebook to comment. It also shared this post.html Mark Glaser September 7.” Facebook users shared news photos of the president delivering his speech as the address unfolded. By the end of the speech.S. PBS MediaShift: Mediatwits #55: Twitter. we tracked public posts on Facebook when President Barack Obama had his turn Thursday night in Charlotte. Obama’s campaign arm for gay rights posted on marriage equality. the Obama campaign’s Facebook page showed that 2. “It’ll just be part of the landscape. launched a fundraising appeal midway through the speech. Amazon’s Big Week www.

and she also writes for Press:Here. But what will it all mean in the end? Will it move the needle for the election? Also. This week. She has more than a decade of experience as a professional journalist and college writing instructor. journalists. This convention season has been a hit on social media. who are continuing their fight in court? Will it lead to cheaper e-book prices? We ask paidContent's Jeff Roberts. and our MediaShift correspondent Ari Melber. Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up. NBC Bay Area's technology blog.S. and we've seen so many numbers and graphics showing popular hashtags and memes. where he focuses on government and political outreach and has directed the company's election efforts since 2007. non-profit organizations and the faith community. He leads a team driving creative use of the platform by governments. Previously. covering e-book issues. we follow up our report from the RNC with three guests at the DNC in Charlotte: Adam Conner from Facebook. Government. Android Phone. Previously he was executive producer for digital services at C-SPAN and deputy chief of staff for U. Ari Melber is an attorney. Senator Mary Landrieu. announcing a new line of Kindles. Kindle Fire and other devices with Stitcher. with Mark Glaser and Rafat Ali as co-hosts. Amazon has had a banner week.com. Adam Sharp from Twitter. Where does that leave the other two publishers and Apple. Jeff specializes in mediarelated copyright. Previously. Guest Bios Adam Sharp is Twitter's Senior Manager. He has previously worked for Reuters and written for the New York Time and The Economist. patent and privacy issues. Adam Conner is a Manager for Public Policy in Facebook's Washington DC office. as well as MediaShift correspondent Barbara Hernandez. mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio's Music Alley. And the company's nemesis Apple was disappointed by a settlement in an e-book price-fixing lawsuit between the states and three large publishers. Melber traveled with the Obama Campaign on special assignment for The Washington Independent. A former practicing lawyer.S. . Senate and as a national staff member of the 2004 John Kerry Presidential Campaign. including an illuminated Paperwhite and a larger Kindle Fire. Find Stitcher in your app store or at stitcher. mediatwits55. Barbara Hernandez is a correspondent for PBS MediaShift.Welcome to the 55th episode of the Mediatwits podcast. Adam was the Director of Online Communications for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. News and Social Innovation. television commentator and a correspondent for The Nation magazine. political candidates.mp3 Subscribe to the podcast here Subscribe to Mediatwits via iTunes Follow @TheMediatwits on Twitter here Our show is now on Stitcher! Listen to us on your iPhone. Jeff Roberts is the legal reporter for the GigaOm's paidContent. he served as a Legislative Aide in the U. During the 2008 presidential election.

Here are some highlighted topics from the show: Intro 1:00: Big news in the political world and gadget world 1:30: New devices coming from Nokia. including new app from Obama campaign Amazon's big week 26:20: Special guests Jeff Roberts and Barbara Hernandez 29:10: Roberts: Big surprise that judge approved the e-book price-fixing settlement 31:30: Hernandez: Will Amazon go back to selling e-books cheaper? 32:20: Roberts: Amazon gaining power.com/2012/09/07/the-biggest-tech-themes-of-the-democratic-national-convention/ Hamish McKenzie September 7. Facebook rule DNC 7:00: Special guests Adam Sharp. Amazon and Apple 4:20: Rafat: Are we only hearing our viewpoints echoed on social media? 6:15: Rundown of topics on our show Twitter. with some editorial judgment 13:10: Conner: People on Facebook distribute their own news about conventions 16:10: Melber: Fact-checking tweets gaining currency. 2012 . Adam Conner. Ari Melber 10:30: Sharp: Special #DNC2012 Twitter page highlights tweets that get most response. Motorola. Samsung. publishers hate them for keeping data on customers 34:20: Mark: Shouldn't price of e-book be cheaper than hardback book? PandoDaily: The Biggest Tech Themes of the Democratic National Convention http://pandodaily. going viral during conventions 18:30: Sharp: Twitter sentiment for candidates does mirror polls 21:30: Melber: The press has addict behavior when it comes to political conventions 24:30: Conner: We see a lot of use on Facebook for political organizing.

We can meet that goal together.” Emphasis on Education One of the major policy issues for startups and tech giants alike is developing and educating talent for the future. And from what I heard. Help me recruit 100. They increase good jobs.I’ve got to admit – I underestimated just how significant a presence the tech industry and startup community would have at the Democratic National Convention. that presence was just as significant at the Republican convention. The education theme was a big feature of speeches by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. As talk of building an “innovation economy” intensifies. in a way that should benefit both. too. Bill Clinton. it seems that both the political set and techies are waking up to their mutual challenges and opportunities. and improve early childhood education. and the President himself. teachers. driven by innovation and creativity. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. engineering. technology. artists. and math (the so-called “STEM” fields). From the ground in Charlotte this week. Patrick: But those Orchard Gardens kids should not be left on their own. laborers and civic leaders we desperately need. The informal organization. And among them are the future scientists. These were the most important. HyperVocal. and Fighter Interactive made sure that convention attendees knew there is such a thing as a startup community in this country. and they create new wealth for all the rest of us. engineers. President Obama: And together. especially in science. Those children are America’s children.000 math and science teachers in the next ten years. I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth. hosted a big opening night party featuring The Roots. Startup Culture A startup group led by EventFarm. entrepreneurs. Clinton: We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. nightly VIP sessions in the late hours . Emphasis on Innovation As well as many informal discussions about the importance of innovation to the American economy – including the Huffington Post’s “What Is Working” panel and a bunch of panels hosted by The Ppl that covered everything from gaming to government – former President Bill Clinton paid it special attention in his prime-time speech. called StartUp RockOn. some clear tech themes emerged. Key takeaway line: “I want a [President] who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy. by education and – yes – by cooperation. yours and mine.

demonstrated its self-driving car. Tumblr hosted a Wednesday night “watch party” with free drinks and tacos and tumbled both conventions.) Instagram Party conventions are carefully orchestrated events that are primed for maximum visual impact for TV audiences.756 – the peak number of tweets per minute related to President Obama’s speech 9.com/2012/09/07/startups-get-political-how-engine-advocacy-is-bridging-washington-andthe-valley/ . those efforts were undercut somewhat by the thousands of attendees who recorded the week by Instagram. government and startups. and tweets-per-minute became one of the most important metrics of the convention. but I was assured it happened.(including performances by Talib Kweli and ELEW). It didn’t matter how loud it got in the Time Warner Cable Arena. and sponsoring startup events. participating in panels. giving us a glimpse at what the convention looks like from behind the scenes.) Microsoft was on site giving demonstrations. staged Hangouts. Here’s an example courtesy of TrèsSugar. and a dinner-and-drinks session in a crowded restaurant. Some quick data:     52. (More on this in a post later today. (A local Charlotte magazine blogged more details of what Google and Facebook did in Charlotte. Substantive Discussion Between the Startup Community and Politicians This happened behind closed doors and at breakfasts I wasn’t invited to. This year. and innovation in gaming. Twitter Even from Charlotte. it was clear that most of the discussion about the convention was actually happening in the form of tweets. Twitter sat on panels and had something called a “#DNC2012 Nest” that I never actually saw.5 million – total number of tweets related to the Democratic National Convention 4 million – number of tweets about the convention on its final day 4 million – total number of tweets about the Republican National Convention PandoDaily: Startups Get Political: How Engine Advocacy is Bridging Washington and the Valley http://pandodaily. a startup challenge. Facebook hosted an “Apps & Drinks” meet-and-greet session with demonstrations from local startups. which included discussions on innovation in journalism. The Tech Presence Google hosted a bunch of panels. and several meet-and-greet sessions. in case you’re interested. and took up half a city block with a stack of colorful shipping crates converted into a giant working space and meeting zone. It was also involved in the aforementioned series of panels. all the noise was on Twitter. innovation in digital media.

It was. started Engine with Josh Mendelsohn. except all of its sections are labeled “bacon”. and if you’re right on social issues. This it the first time. assiduously attending the late-night “VIP” parties hosted by StartUp RockOn in a trendy art gallery on the fringes of the city’s downtown core.” . and helping push forward an agenda for a part of the tech industry that isn’t represented by Google. But entrepreneurs have long been reluctant to get involved in politics beyond cursory advocacy and contributions for social issues. all of which have established lobby groups in Washington DC. *for+ small or large or in-between [startups] in the Valley or in entrepreneurial communities. and the tabling of the Startup Act. claims more than 300 startups as its members. “I like to tell people this is an aspirational T-shirt. On his red T-shirt is a butcher’s map of a pig. which would encourage the import of highlyskilled immigrants who want to start companies in the US. as far as McGeary knows. I’ll write you a check’. and it’s strange now to look back and think that startups wouldn’t be represented in the forming. McGeary is co-founder and political strategist of Engine Advocacy. or destruction. 2012 Mike McGeary meets me at a downtown Charlotte cafe in what counts for an early morning start at the Democratic National Convention this week: 11am. This guy is one of the most important voices for startups in the political sphere. Microsoft. who has a background in politics. McGeary. “For a long time. it is probably the first sustained and coordinated push for an organized group of startups acting in politics period. Entrepreneurs preferred to dedicate their attention and resources to their products. which pays McGeary’s salary. and startups are now starting to pay more attention to the political climate. “When you’re hiring that fifth employee. and has five employees. it was just ‘Let me do my job’. and Engine has been involved with them all: the dumping of the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA). That’s a lot of work for a one-year-old. it celebrates its first anniversary. who he had worked with at Palo Alto-based online music startup TuneIn. Like others from the Bay Area and the “startup community” – a term I’m going to have to keep using in its broadest sense throughout this piece – he has had a series of late nights. Mendelsohn and To also co-founded a venture capital firm called Hattery. But McGeary says there has been a “seismic shift”.” he says. This year has seen some groundbreaking political developments that directly affect the startup community. and Joshua To.Hamish McKenzie September 7. who is 28. which would have implemented severe curbs on Internet freedom and innovation in the name of copyright protection. McGeary has been representing the group at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. that the startup community has had a significant presence at the conventions. the passing of the JOBS Act. This month. of these landmark pieces of legislation had Engine not been around. Engine is based in San Francisco. thick-rimmed hipster spectacles. and a thick but trimmed beard cradles his chin and creeps halfway up his face. schmoozing with their staff. In fact. or Facebook. is wearing his brown hair gathered into a small peak. ‘Just don’t get in the way. an advocacy group cum think tank that represents the interests of entrepreneurial communities from across the country. talking to politicians. you’re not hiring a government relations flack straight out of law school. which allows startups to seek investment through crowdfunding.” he jokes. McGeary.

” McGeary says. government looks at Silicon Valley and says. It was actually really interesting to see.000 miles a minute. While the night-time activities seemed to be well patronized by young convention attendees. While the Presidency enters its “lame duck” phase. and they’re not going to take me seriously because I have a pig on my Tshirt that says ‘bacon’. ‘We don’t understand the breakneck speed.” With SOPA. “There have been so many amazing strides. the JOBS Act. and the Startup Act. No . isn’t prepared to relax. But we teach them about that at the same time.” says McGeary. I reported on the efforts of a group called StartUp RockOn.” Luckily. Engine will be upping the ante on its economic research.” he says. or will be for some time. Had the bill passed. You guys are going at 400. I’ve been struck by the odd optics of the laidback startup culture attempting to mesh with buttoned-up political culture. He recounted a scene from an “Apps & Drinks” event hosted by Facebook the previous day in which the New York Senator Charles Schumer wandered around the room looking at various products with which he was deeply unfamiliar. As good as the first year has been. McGeary.” So far. “He clearly had no idea of what any of them do. and teaching that to the Valley has been hard because it’s just anathema to the way we think.” Slutsky said. And the hard-partying entrepreneur set seemed far removed from the senators and policy wonks that were holding forth at other events.org. “After SOPA. “But in the same way. At the start of the week. most Congressmen have staff around them who very well understand technology issues. it has been a hectic and crazily successful first year for Engine. placing particular emphasis on the spread of tech jobs and how they’re affecting the economy. and hope and pray that they wouldn’t get regulated out of existence. In Charlotte this week.But SOPA was a turning point. it’s the first year of a much longer fight. who heads up partnerships for Change. I haven’t found that yet. “Government is deliberate. “I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that they don’t get it. and he was just wide-eyed looking at this. Silicon Valley and Washington DC occupy very different worlds. how to talk about any of them. When he attended a breakfast hosted by Senator Patrick Leahy on Wednesday. both public and private. look at their product. But he insists fashion shouldn’t matter. though. Engine will continue to educate government and startups at all levels and build a stronger lobby. and vice versa. however. which brought a travelling showcase of parties and meet-and-greets to both the Democratic and Republican conventions. like a kid in the candy store. that’s a problem. I don’t know what the hell a dongle is. some of the panels and events – such as Tumblr’s Wednesday night “watch party” – didn’t draw crowds. individual users on a single Web page. I don’t know what’s going on. he hasn’t encountered too many difficulties with the cultural collision. which allows Internet companies to get away with hosting copyright content on their sites as long as they remove infringing content as soon as they have been alerted. It could also have undermined the “safe harbor” provided by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. and it hasn’t been clear from this convention that those worlds have been fully bridged.” McGeary says Engine’s goal is to educate entrepreneurial communities about how Washington DC works. told me at an event hosted by Emily’s List that some politicians straight-up don’t understand where the techies are coming from. he says. much less where and how that works’. It has sometimes been a tough task. he dressed up – by wearing a polo shirt. Slutsky said. “If I’m going to them with economic data that suggests my industry is creating all the net job growth in this country. On a metaphorical level. Matthew Slutsky. it could have allowed law enforcement to block entire Internet domains based on the actions of unrelated. throughout the week. “The good news is. people understood that they could not sit back anymore and just put their head down.

com/andrewkaczynski/the-democratic-convention-by-the-facebook-numbers Andrew Kaczynski September 7. “We are on the edge of something. those goals will only become ever more important. rock stars. but it’s been growing for 10 years and we just haven’t paid attention to it. 1) President Obama’s Speech 2) Bill Clinton’s Speech 3) Michelle Obama’s Speech 4) Mitt Romney’s Speech 5) Clint Eastwood’s Speech 6) Paul Ryan’s Speech 7) Joe Biden’s Speech 8) Ann Romney’s Speech 9) Chris Christie’s Speech 10) Marco Rubio’s Speech The last night of the DNC went up against the MTV Video Music Awards. Barack Obama's speech led to an 800% increases in mentions of "Obama" on Facebook. Bill Clinton’s speech..buzzfeed.. Here are the mentions of politicians vs. 1) President Obama 2) President Clinton 3) First Lady Michelle Obama 4) Mitt Romney 5) One Direction 6) Clint Eastwood 7) Lil Wayne 8) Vice President Joe Biden 9) Taylor Swift and Frank Ocean (Tie) 10) Ann Romney . The top ten convention moments in terms of total mention count were.. because this is exactly the kind of growth that either candidate in this race will tell you is important. “It’s beyond time for us to focus our efforts in terms of helping the startup community in strengthening our efforts to grow the economy at this level.” says McGeary. 2012 Barack Obama's speech was mentioned 192% times as often as Mitt Romney's and 40% more than the second-most mentioned moment.matter who becomes the next President of the United States.” BuzzFeed: The Democratic Convention By the Facebook Numbers http://www.

Pres. It was about so much more than that. 3.A. scan a newsfeed or fire up a laptop to get a sense of the important topics that were discussed at this week's Democratic National Convention." posted @bethreinhard.A." @rickklein tweeted. #dnc2012" tweeted @brfreed. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong. "Literally #drink" "If you take a drink every time Biden says 'literally' you literally will be passed out by the time Obama takes the stage.literally -.S.! Sure. It was about -.html Dorrine Mendoza September 7.it was about healing an unbearable wound. literally Grammarians and wordsmiths everywhere cringed as Vice President Joe Biden used the word literally instead of figuratively several times during his Thursday speech. His speech went something like this: "Look.' " @indecision suggested." tweeted @MichaelHarris_." (Crowd cheers) Death should never be a celebration.Anyone can turn on a TV.CNN: 5 OMG Moments at the DNC http://www. But the explosion of "U. This is not about those important topics. "Osama bin Laden is dead. The text of Biden's prepared remarks did not include the offending word." drove a record 43. and General Motors is alive. 1. 2012 (CNN) -.S. . I'm the President. U. Getting social President Barack Obama's statement.! U.!" chants at the mention of his demise made some uncomfortable. "Not sure anyone has gotten louder cheers tonight than dead Osama bin Laden. bin Laden's death represented more than the fulfillment of a promise or the resolve of America. a nearly unbearable wound in America's heart. really didn't like that line Mr.cnn.646 tweets per minute. it was no longer appearing when searched following the conclusion of the convention.com/2012/09/07/politics/5-omg-moments-at-the-dnc/index. "Joe Biden literally thinks 'literally' means 'figuratively. "I'm no longer just the candidate. "Ah. 2." "Vice President @JoeBiden: Osama bin Laden is dead. Politico reported the Obama campaign bought this promoted tweet to run when users search for "literally. Barack understood that the search for (Osama) bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield.A. Biden goes off-script." However.S.

OBAMA EKES OUT A WIN ON FACEBOOK AS WELL.m. Giffords survived a gunshot wound to the head in a 2011 attack that killed six people and wounded 13 others. "Barack Obama" was the most mentioned political term Thursday night on Facebook. (CNN beat out ABC. progress or condition of the political news cycle BREAKING: WHILE CLINTON TOPS OBAMA IN SPEECH REVIEWS. The conventions are finally over No one said it would be easy. they said. Obama’s Thursday night speech edged out former President Bill Clinton’s Wednesday night . 2012 http://politicalticker.757 tweets per minute. across broadcast and cable news networks. Politics beat out pop culture Thursday night on Facebook. #hero.cnn. 29 million television viewers watched President Obama's speech last night from 10 p. CNN: CNN’s Gut Check for September 7. While we wait for official Nielsen numbers. resilience." tweeted @ElizabethBanks. "Gabby Giffords just led the Pledge of Allegiance at #2012DNC and made me cry. up against fierce competition from the NFL. perseverance and beauty!" 5. 40% higher than Bill Clinton mentions Wednesday.9 million viewers for the key football game. Arizona. Facebook officials told CNN.blogs. On Wednesday night. Obama mentions were 192% higher than Mitt Romney mentions on the night of his acceptance speech. President Barack Obama was mentioned more times overall than MTV’s Video Music Awards show. including the lawmaker. to 11:15 p. Craig Robinson. Speaking of heroes. @CoryBooker posted. According to Facebook’s Talk Meter. Over 9 million tweets sent about #DNC2012" Imagine Michelle Obama bragging someday how she beat the president's tweets-per-minute record only to have her brother. 2012| 5 p.com/2012/09/07/cnns-gut-check-for-september-7-2012-2/ Mark Preston and Michelle Jaconi September 7.n. and CBS. during a constituent meet-and-greet in Tucson.m. which measures the amount of buzz a person or event gets on Facebook.S. "A new record political moment on Twitter: @barackobama drives 52. now Gabby Giffords just made me cry. "Ok. What a testimony to strength. which aired the same evening as the final night of the Democratic National Convention. former president Bill Clinton's speech attracted an estimated 25 million viewers vs. Literally..@gov released these figures. as well as all cable networks.m. thanks to your loyal viewership). ... OBAMA BEATS HIM IN THE RATINGS. We cried Former U. set her straight over a family dinner. an average 23. Rep. a pause to assess the state.. 4. 2012 NN's GUT CHECK | for September 7. the preliminary ratings data shows that cumulatively. Gabrielle Giffords received an emotional reception Thursday night as she recited the Pledge of Allegiance at the convention.

business once again added jobs for the 30th month in a row for a total of 4. "This year. Even so. – Kevin Liptak 11:44 a." a senior Obama campaign official told us. we were struck by two things that made this cycle distinct: 1) the contrast between the two parties' conventions was starker than ever. I think public . approximately four people dropped out of the workforce. Seeing that kind of report is obviously disheartening to the American people who need work and are having a hard time finding work. Nowhere is this combined passion and patriotism more celebrated than the quadrennial political conventions. has accelerated.m. Sure. Covering politics is our calling. We need to create more jobs faster.000 jobs a month when I took office. and we need to come out of the crisis stronger. bringing into sharp reality the challenges President Barack Obama will face in the two months remaining until Election Day. as we live to kick the tires of the men and women who want to lead this amazing country we call home. the deadlines were relentless with all platforms demanding publication and insights – from short. But that's not good enough. ET: Mitt Romney at a media availability in Iowa: “After the party last night. This year.6 million jobs. – Eric Weisbrod DEVELOPING: CAMPAIGNS SPIN THE DISMAL AUGUST JOBS REPORT… Friday's jobs report indicating only 96. we were struck by how much the cycle of the political year has changed. as in all facets of our life. Even though Obama won overall buzz. pithy tweets to long essays designed to break through the noise. the hangover today. we're in the fourth quarter. Clinton garnered more buzz from user about the age of 45. What was the longest Democratic convention in history? MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN) What caught our eye today in politics We love what we do. For journalists. "I love politicians. as there are so many differences between the organization and surrounding events that help inform an inquisitive mind. it is our journalistic pleasure to once again smack down the notion that conventions are somehow passé. we learned that after losing 800. ET: President Barack Obama at a campaign event in New Hampshire: “Today." It is true. as the quadrennial question of "will they get a bounce" becomes the topic du jour. As the veteran journalist Al Hunt said at his surprise party this week. We need to fill the hole left by the recession faster. For almost every net new job created.” TRAIL TRIVIA (Answer below) This year’s Democratic National Convention was three days long – as was the Republican National. we wish all Americans could attend both conventions. Now with 16 conventions between us. First. while both speeches ranked higher than their competitors in primetime – the MTV’s Video Music Awards on Thursday and the National Football League’s season opener on Wednesday.000 jobs were created in August brought a quick end to any lingering Democratic euphoria from this week's party convention. and scouting out the future talent is one of the most rewarding parts of the whole week. but also a thrill. The jobs numbers were very disappointing.m. And 2) the pace of the news cycle and the campaign has made the coverage and the message harder to keep up with.address. they both have things in common. We know it is not good enough. that the pace. "It used to be that Labor Day was the traditional kick-off of the campaign.” 1:04 p.

The primary season over and the nominating conventions complete. for Romney at least. Once again. – John F. Fed Set To Pump. ABC's Jake Tapper. Ranked by Klout: 1. And once again. from Biden. @pfeiffer44 78 5. Top Five List of Democratic Strategists. – Lucia Mutikani Leading HuffPo: Simpson-Bowles References In Obama. we want to salute the staffers behind those politicians who have found a way to keep up with the pace of modern campaigning in a way that has magnified their influence. 368. Dan Pfeiffer." – Ryan Grim Leading Politico: Two conventions tell the tale of 2012 Republicans last week in Tampa and Democrats this week in Charlotte were not faking it. Harris and Jim Vandehei Leading The New York Times: Joblessness May Undermine Obama Convention Bump Presidential candidates can usually count on luxuriating in a few days of warm feelings from their convention as they ride the high generated by impassioned supporters and cross their fingers for rising poll numbers.1%. Paul Begala and Hilary Rosen deserve a shout-out for their use of social media to get their message across. and if neurosurgeons and dentists can have conventions every year. @mitch_stewart 76 the LEDE Did you miss it? Leading CNNPolitics: Post-convention campaigns get under way Now it begins. David Axelrod. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama hit the ground running Friday for the final stretch of a campaign that began. Progressives Journalists here are homing in on Vice President Joe Biden's criticism of the GOP for not supporting any of the deficit-reduction proposals over the past year. for instance. +96. the Labor Department said on Friday. – Jim Rutenberg .000 'Not In Labor Force' Jobs growth slowed sharply in August. All over again.000.service is a noble calling . Mitch Stewart. 88. including Donna Brazile. noting that President Barack Obama did not embrace a report put out by the co-chairs of the Simpson-Bowles panel. and both sides look at the other’s agenda with genuine incomprehension. an "incredible line. as we leave you to head to the airport. much of it focusing on key battleground states. we partnered with Klout to rank the top five Democratic strategists according to Klout's scale of 100.000 Dropped Out. Stephanie Cutter. Over the next 60 days of campaigning. we removed CNN contributors even though some of them. the two men will pitch their visions for the country to a divided electorate.000 last month. Biden DNC Speeches Vex Media. Nonfarm payrolls increased only 96. @davidaxelrod 85 2. Jim Messina. – Michael Pearson Leading Drudge: 8. more than a year ago in Iowa. called the following. why can't politicians every four?" So. @stefcutter 79 4. setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to pump additional money into the sluggish economy next week and dealing a blow to President Barack Obama as he seeks re-election. Partisans on both sides really do regard the other party’s nominee with contempt...921. @Messina2012 80 3.

Bryan for vice president. And we went through something in 1972. Davis was in large part a compromise-candidate when no one could agree on whether to nominate Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo and Gov. (laughs) So.a Roman Catholic . During the convention.cnn. In the general election. The 1924 Democratic National Convention. It was a whirlwind for our family. The real historic moment from the 1924 Democratic convention was the unwanted participation of Klu Klux Klan members." – Dem says the ‘convention seemed more emotional’ – BEAU BIDEN. In a resurgence of the Klan. Barack Obama said four years ago if I can’t turn this economy around after three-and-a-half years I am looking at a one term presidency. the bigoted group gained political power in the Deep South and some mountain states.com/2012/09/07/obama-outshines-mtvs-music-awards-on-facebook/ . My mom rebuilt our family.” TRIVIA ANSWER If three days is too long. Everybody up here has gone through something. let’s talk some horse sense. When Gov. Davis and Bryan were defeated by Republican Calvin Coolidge. Well. GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE (why aren’t you in it) Congratulations to Daniel Holt (@DanielHoltdb) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. then no one wants to go back to 1924. It took a record 103 ballots to nominate John W. My dad had just gotten a call. the Klan organized a protest in New Jersey that featured thousands of hooded Klansmen. Smith was nominated . Al Smith. leading some members to become Democratic delegates. JOE BIDEN’S SON AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF DELAWARE. CNN: Obama Outshines MTV’s Music Awards on Facebook http://politicalticker.” – Ann talks ‘horse sense’ – ANN ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN VIRGINIA: “I should tell you I feel right at home because I am in a barn.TRAIL MOMENTS The political bites of the day – You don’t know me – SARAH PALIN IN AN INTERVIEW ON FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: "I think he diminished himself by even mentioning my name. it is our turn to the economy around and I know Mitt can do it.blogs.the Klan grew incensed. Holt was correct when he tweeted “1924 Democratic National Convention. How does he even know my name? I mean. Davis for president and Charles W. at Madison Square Garden in New York lasted a whopping 17 days. The protest led some to become “fearful of Klan and Anti-Klan” clashes in Madison Square Garden. There was a great energy obviously in 2008. IN AN INTERVIEW WITH “STARTING POINT”: “The whole convention seemed more emotional to me. aren't these guys supposed to be these big wig elites who don't waste their time on little people like me representing the average American.” Happy Friday all.

Joe Biden – 4.06 10. but also NFL season opener and Hurricane Isaac.09 3. which assigns a number to a person or event's magnitude on a 1-10 scale. Republican National Convention overall – 6. When looking at overall mentions. Besides overall mentions. MTV Video Music Awards – 6. and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney were all discussed more than stars of Thursday night's music awards like One Direction and Lil Wayne.29 13. Louisiana & Georgia. North Carolina. Michelle Obama – 5.28.Politics beat out pop culture Thursday night on Facebook. Barack Obama registered the highest with a 7. first lady Michelle Obama.24 9. but he did surpass Taylor Swift and rapper Frank Ocean in overall mentions. Vice President Joe Biden didn't get as many mentions as those pop stars. Hurricane Isaac – 5. It wasn't just Obama who was discussed more than the VMA's.28 2. Julian Castro – 3.82 5. Ann Romney – 4. Barack Obama – 7.53 18. Mitt Romney – 5. According to Facebook's "Talk Meter" analysis. . NFL season opener – 6. Mississippi. 1. Obama on Thursday was talked about 40% more than Bill Clinton was on Wednesday.S.41 7. Chris Christie – 3.12 15.69 16. President Barack Obama was mentioned more times overall than MTV's Video Music Awards show. Bill Clinton – 7. which aren't scientific and don't measure sentiment. Democratic National Convention overall – 7. Obama's Facebook mentions have remained high throughout the Democratic convention. and 192% more than Romney last Thursday when he gave his convention speech. Here are the full "Talk Meter" rankings.Eric Weisbrod September 7.87 12. Obama also gained the largest jump in buzz on Facebook among all political figures and news events in the last two weeks. 2012 Washington (CNN) . Elizabeth Warren – 3.08 4. Bill Clinton ranked higher among users age 45 and older. who were all of voting age when he was elected president. gaining more momentum than not just the VMA awards. Obama's jump in chatter was highest in Washington. Condoleezza Rice – 4. but his acceptance speech resulted in a nearly 800% increase in mentions of his name. DC.04 11.46 8. which aired the same evening as the final night of the Democratic National Convention.57 17.27 14. Marco Rubio – 3.67 6. but provide a glimpse which topics are gaining the most steam among Facebook's 160 million U.45 While President Obama edged out former President Bill Clinton in overall buzz. Paul Ryan – 4. former President Bill Clinton. Clint Eastwood – 5. users.

social media carries on the tradition of inclusive political debate in America. Ryan's name had already been discussed in the news more than Biden's in recent weeks. and elected officials through partnerships. almost every aspect of the political environment has become more social.” Sometimes this outreach is done in one-on-one meetings or at larger. talking. We know—and politicians do too—that Facebook and other social media give people another way to get engaged with their elected representatives. From Paul Revere’s “midnight ride” to whistle-stop tours made famous by Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. campaigns. Barack Obama leaned heavily on social media to build a movement behind his candidacy. For more raw data on who is discussing the candidates on Facebook. Long before people started connecting with each other online they were meeting in town squares. who was tasked with the job of introducing Facebook to elected officials and candidates. 2012 Politics and governing in the United States have always been social. The Washington D. Adam Conner. we’re witnessing candidates like U. office started in late 2007 with just one person. Today.campaignsandelections. our country has always cherished the act of meeting. when then-Sen. Interactivity with candidates—a privilege once reserved for high-level donors and political insiders—is now an expectation of voters and a priority for campaigns. the Facebook Politics & Government Team has focused on continuing the evolution in the electoral sphere and now. his move was hailed as groundbreaking.C. Our office does a significant amount of outreach to show them how effectively they’re reaching their intended audience and share some smart tactics (such as posting more photos or images between 9-10p.) that might help them engage more people and grow their “likes.While Vice President Joe Biden ranked significantly lower than the President on the Talk Meter scale.cnn. the team scaled up as we prepared for the Republican presidential nomination battle and the general election season. In 2011. nearly every single candidate for public office from president of the United States to city council is harnessing social media’s power. and push voters to the polls. raise money. Now. only four years later. organized gatherings. In 2008. Over the past four years. coffee shops. he did gain a bigger jump than Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.com/fbinsights. and organizing.S. This may be related to the fact that Rep.thtml Facebook’s Politics and Government Team September 7. The amount of chatter about Biden popped the most among users ages 55-64. Senate hopeful Ted Cruz in Texas defeat better-funded opponents in part thanks to their savvy use of Facebook and the Internet to interact with voters. and around water coolers to discuss important issues of the day. .com/magazine/us-edition/327317/cementing-social-mediaand39splace-in-the-campaign-world. check out the Facebook CNN Election Insights tool at www. Campaigns & Elections: Cementing Social Media’s Place in the Campaign World http://www. We’ve found that our team works best with candidates.m. By expanding the sphere of engagement and fostering a genuine dialogue between politicians and constituents.

Successive studies have shown that engaging with political activity on Facebook encourages a person to become more involved. Frequent Facebook users were also nearly six times as likely to have attended a political meeting they found through Facebook. The future of politics will be marked by the ability of Americans to engage with the political process in productive ways through social networks once considered mere. They’ve also discovered that the best digital strategy is an integrated one that works in tandem with everything else they are doing. Examples of this include the Obama campaign and House Republican leaders such as Eric Cantor. both Romney and Obama have similar levels of users actively commenting and sharing content online. They’ve discovered that Facebook allows them to bypass the mainstream media filter and talk to citizens directly to engage them in the policymaking process. Partnering with offices. and providing a steady stream of ideas on how they can be using our platform better is how our team has worked to earn the trust of politicians and their staffers.” says Zac Moffatt. Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy—each of whom visited Facebook headquarters in 2011 to learn more about what we do and how they can apply it to governing. Zac Moffatt. and the political process is not exempt from the ever-increasing push for transparency and accountability. People enabled by technology continue to advance the idea of the public commons enshrined in our Constitution and our political institutions. and the smartest campaigns run their ads on TV and also on Facebook. Tech Crunch: Underdog no more: how Romney’s digital director. For instance. being available to answer their questions. Moffatt has won digital parity with the Obama juggernaut by partnering with the brightest Silicon Valley firms. where citizens can now register to vote via Facebook. The relationship with House leadership paved the way for our first-ever bipartisan Congressional Hackathon last December. Infrastructure will soon catch up to this trend. We find the best firms in the country and glue them together to achieve our goals. Without the luxury of a 4 year head start to build out it’s own campaign tools. The world becomes more open and connected when we share information with each other.com/2012/09/07/how-romneys-digital-director-zac-moffatt-got-silicon-valley-brightestminds-to-work-for-the-campaign/ Gregory Ferenstein September 7. The time the largest number of people are engaging on Facebook is during prime time TV viewing hours. Expect even greater political engagement as an increasing number of Facebook users turn their online political activity into offline action. We think that’s a great thing. . though Obama has 4 times the number of Facebook fans. got silicon valley power the campaign http://techcrunch. as it already has in Washington State. A June 2011 Pew study showed that Facebook users two and a half times more likely to attend a political rally.The politicians that do best on Facebook are the ones who are personally invested in their digital strategy and integrate it into all aspects of their campaigns. Mitt Romney’s Digital Director. 2012 “As a campaign we would not presume to know more than the collective intelligence and resources of the marketplace. and were 53 percent more likely to vote. That way a constituent might see a commercial on TV and get that message reinforced with a Facebook ad that tells them which of their friends support that candidate.

“In 48 hours. The mobile advertising cash-cow has famously eluded Facebook. A few experts from Google’s website traffic analytics team have donated their valuable 20% time. Among many impressive Facebook strategies. on the only platform which could achieve this. “We never wanted to be that we’re not engaging the best minds to be successful. built the campaign a custom Federal Elections . from scratch. mostly for free. Writer Brittany Darwell noticed that team Romney was exploiting a brand new feature.” Facebook isn’t the only major player in Moffatt’s Silicon Valley brain trust. Walking Billboards and Events Silicon Valley partnerships have helped team Romney bolster two of the oldest forms of campaigning: merchandising and events. Square. “You know who the power mobile users of Facebook are?. While it’s difficult to know how the Google partnership has helped the Romney campaign (since unlike Facebook. A source close to Facebook tells us that Romney’s national campaign has provided “great” data for their foray into mobile. Moffatt explains that it was the Facebook team. Mobile users seem especially valuable to campaigns. It’s success like this that makes it a no-brainer for Facebook to tip Moffatt off to every imaginable upcoming feature. They have to move quick. we created the single largest coalition. reach every imaginable audience. But.” concludes Moffatt. Google activity is private). a Facebook Politics & Government team member. that has been instrumental in giving the Romney campaign its edge. Moffatt tells us that he’s managed to get a whopping 10% click through rate on their targeted mobile advertising. even though over 500 million users check-in with cellphones each month. Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life. to their credit. on the conservative side of the country. it would be difficult for any brand. And. Moffett recalls. when Obama campaign advisor Hilary Rosen made headlines with the assertion that Mitt Romney’s wife. single voters have notoriously low turnout rates. team Romney has had pitch-perfect timing funneling the impulsive civic rage of power moms into meaningful engagement.” wrote the social media blog. web search traffic could be even more valuable.” Moffatt had Ann Romney respond on Twitter and Facebook. to give the once digital underdog some much-deserved tech cred.” says Jamie Smolski.” Young. InsideFacebook. Ann Romney was overflowing with 85. Mobile credit card reader. in a highly contentious post about the superiority of Romney’s social media prowess. ten times higher than Facebook’s average. to so quickly exploit Facebook’s constantly changing ad system. ”The Romney team has been quick to adopt new products and features and provide valuable feedback on how we might make those tools better. especially a national campaign. In just a few days.” asks Moffatt. “sponsored” results.From partnering with Square to turn each Romney activist into a mobile fundraiser to getting Googlers to give up their famous 20% time for the campaign*. which displays Romney’s Facebook page when users look for “Obama” or “Democrat”. which is Facebook. Facebook And Google Power “Republican candidate Mitt Romney is leading President Barack Obama in Facebook engagement and new Likes.000 engaged users. Moffatt has leveraged Silicon Valley’s brightest minds. “stay-at-home moms. as users searching for information are often actively looking to get involved in some way. and excite users’ most passionate beliefs. so political campaigns salivate over the 35+ demographic that has both the time and technology-savvy to get their coveted friends engaged online. itself. For instance. a time allotted to all Google employees to work on experimental projects. The reason for Facebook’s close ties to Moffatt are simple: political campaigns are a delicious proving ground of data and experimentation.

“It’s a very public validation. Republicans made a concerted effort to hire and promote their ardent geeks. The data on the most-mentioned moments during the conventions — in the Facebook era of presidential politics — come just as Obama is set to accept his party’s nomination for a second time at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. “Nothing is more about believing in a cause than when you are willing to wear a campaign’s merchandise on your body. to bring some much needed experimentation to the ever-evolving communication landscape. $31. and hire a large team of power players. After a sound defeat by Obama in 2008. The Romney campaign’s experience is an important lesson for businesses and government everywhere: give power to smart geeks. the Eventbrite partnership clearly helped them scale effectively.C. All Facebook: Obama Bests Romney in Facebook Mentions During Both Conventions http://allfacebook. .” The same partnership-happy philosophy led Moffatt to team up with popular event organizing startup. Every t-shirt sold not only refills their coffers. but turns supporters into walking billboards.” says Moffatt.Commission-compliant app that helped turn their Republican National Convention volunteers into an army of walking cashiers. Eventbrite. But. Matt Lira. The tired stereotype of Republican luddites just doesn’t seem to hold true anymore. such as open-government champion. which likely decreases overall turnout). during the convention. 2012 Mentions of President Barack Obama on Facebook bested those of Republican challenger Mitt Romney by almost a two-to-one margin during the two weeks of the presidential nominating conventions that come to a close Thursday night.” Recently released data from Eventbrite seems to confirm that the partnership has paid off: Republicans hold 42% more events than Democrats through Eventbrite (71% vs. such as Colorado and Florida (77% vs. While Obama’s team has chosen to build out much of their own technology for offline engagement.” So. in fulfilling Romney’s need to go from winning the Republican primary to competing on a national scale with the Obama digital juggernaut. your geekiest employees and their friends will astound you. Moffatt says that “we would rather go to someone who wakes up every morning and worries about event-ticketing. 42) and 14% more events have been community-driven and free in battleground states.com/obama-romney-mentions-conventions_b98935 Jennifer Moire September 6. Romney was no exception: Moffatt was given access to fully integrate digital through the entire campaign. Republican gatherings have an average of 14 more people (68 vs. 29%). Facebook cited the speeches by first lady Michelle Obama and keynote speaker and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on the first night of the convention as the key moments that drove the president’s mentions to increase by 745 percent from the baseline mentions he received in previous hours. how much money did Square help rake in? A knowledgeable campaign official tells TechCrunch that the official Romney pop-up stores “did well into the seven figures. It should be noted that Eventbrite represents some unknown fraction of the total political events nationwide. and the Democrats earn a lot more per event sale ($115 vs. Invariably. 63%). N.

but it was ex-President Bill Clinton who stole the show with his rousing nomination speech Wednesday night. Aug.” skyrocketed by 41.280 percent increase over the amounts of mentions in previous hours.800 percent. There was a 2. in which the Dallas Cowboys knocked off the defending Super Bowl champions and host New York Giants. ranks as the fifth-most-mentioned moment from the conventions. therefore. According to Facebook-CNN Election Insights.It’s worth noting that the data were released before former President Bill Clinton‘s rousing nominating speech Wednesday night. the top five political terms mentioned on the social network Wednesday were: 1. His speech Thursday. which ranks third among most mentioned events of the conventions. adding that one of the keywords of his speech. but even topping the National Football League’s season opener. not only propelling him to the top of the list of political mentions on Facebook for the day. 30. Bill Clinton/Clinton Obama Romney Michelle Obama Elizabeth Warren Facebook-CNN Election Insights also mentioned that Clinton’s percentage increase above his baseline buzz was 9. Eastwooding: Clint Eastwood‘s buzzed-about speech to an empty chair on the final night of the GOP convention resulted in a baseline increase of 8.. led to a mention count on Facebook that was the secondhighest across conventions to date. there weren’t as many mentions on Facebook ahead of his now-infamous speech that put him fourth among most-mentioned events of the 2012 conventions. Among the other most-mentioned events from the past two weeks of presidential nominating conventions:    Michelle Obama’s speech Tuesday night resulted in a 5.com/bill-clinton-nomination-speech_b99012 David Cohen September 6. 29. N. 2012 President Barack Obama may be the focus of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. with a baseline increase of 422 percent from mentions in previous hours. 2. Aug. The actor was a surprise guest and. 4. Romney’s acceptance of his party’s presidential nomination ranks as the second-most-mentioned moment of the conventions. 5. this week.900 percent. 3. Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan‘s red-meat-laden speech Wednesday. Readers: What do you think of these numbers? Did you take to Facebook during any of these moments of the 2012 conventions? All Facebook: Facebook Abuzz After Ex-President Bill Clinton’s Nomination Speech at DNC http://allfacebook.400 percent bump in Facebook mentions as compared with the baseline established in the hours leading up to her emotional address. .210 percent during the event.C. “arithmetic.

Twitter. A companion Facebook group attracted tens of thousands of fans. Slutsky’s twin brother Matthew is head of partnerships at Change. Slutsky shouted over the noise of clinking glasses and moshing suits to tell me that the petition started off as a bit of fun but has turned into something more serious. but he doesn’t know if White is going to have a role tonight. the New Yorker started a petition on Change.org.” and “Romo. When I was a kid she was old on ‘The Golden Girls’.” “Giants. Slutsky takes issue with the “old” part. a little Tumblr. “I would say ‘Give me the microphone!’ and I would go up there and be hysterical. you can thank Peter Slutsky. It has nearly 13. CNN. Soon after Eastwood’s speech.Despite the popularity of the NFL and the marquee opening-night match-up.500 signatures. Before getting on a plane to Charlotte on Monday. Now she’s like the oldest person ever to walk the Earth. “Betty White speaks to that. but Slutsky is hoping she might make an appearance via video. Readers: Are you surprised that Clinton’s speech generated so much buzz? PandoDaily: WordPress Staffer Petitions Dems to Enlist Betty White as Obama’s Opening Act http://pandodaily. As of this morning. the number of signatures started ticking into the thousands. and then the thing took off. the New York Daily News. “It was like this really cool moment that I’m like. and it was awesome. The actor’s agent told Entertainment Weekly that she probably can’t attend the convention. and the Washington Post.” Slutsky said. (Conveniently. If he were a senior citizen. The media started noticing. But on Sunday. 2012 If Betty White makes an appearance at the Democratic National Convention tonight.org. Clint Eastwood’s bizarre speech to an empty chair last week was characterized by many as the work of a rambling old man. hardly anyone paid attention.) At one of many booze-fuelled receptions in Charlotte yesterday. “A little Facebook. the petition has been covered by USA Today. and then Saturday. Slutsky started by Tweeting at Obama. ‘This is really working’.org in an effort to elevate his favorite Golden Girl into a prime-time position at the convention: introducing the President. Friday passed.com/2012/09/06/wordpress-staffer-petitions-dems-to-enlist-betty-white-as-obamasopening-act/ Hamish McKenzie September 6. The director of platform services for WordPress VIP took advantage of timing and technology to spur a counter-story to one of the defining media narratives of the Republican National Convention. the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. . because her entire career she’s been old. among others.” for Tony Romo.” Slutsky knows from his contacts inside Obama’s campaign that news of the petition has reached the very top of the organization. and it’s all coming together and people are seeing what we’re doing. but she’s still funny as shit. Perhaps it could be a Google Hangout. and the 90-year-old White but got nothing back. CNN Politics reported on its Political Ticker blog that Clinton was mentioned more on Facebook Wednesday night than the terms “Cowboys.” said Slutsky. he put a message on his Facebook wall telling people it had gone viral. he would have felt alienated when the pundits talked about Eastwood being old.” “football.” For the first two days of the petition. a little Change.

"What tech execs are busy doing is running companies.5 million watched Clinton speak during prime-time coverage covered by ABC and CBS. despite the numerous sponsorships by Web companies of parties." "football" and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. many of his big-name tech backers are missing in action. former White House chief technology officer. Aneesh Chopra.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/248041-clinton-beat-by-nfl-on-tv-but-won-in-facebookconversationsAlicia Cohn September 6. totes his iPad everywhere and touts tech on the campaign trail. while 7. according to Nielsen data reported by Reuters. "This is a political convention.The Hill: Clinton Beat by NFL on TV But Won in Facebook Conversations http://thehill. . David Cohen. also is here." "Giants. 2012 CHARLOTTE. an investor in clean energy. And you won’t see Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg or Yelp's Jeremy Stoppelman wandering around the Time Warner Arena. He and his wife have bundled more than $1 million for Obama this cycle.html?hp=r4 Tony Romm September 6. Top bundler Marc Benioff. either. but on Facebook the former president ruled the night. But according to Facebook data reported by CNN.C.politico. N. but at his party's convention. About 21 million Americans watched the National Football League's season kick-off game on NBC between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.com. Uber." There are a few big tech and telecom backers on hand at the DNC. according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Facebook said mentions of Clinton increased by 9. is in the Bay Area prepping for a software event. and what you do at political conventions is go after specific demographics. Facebook has partnered with CNN to provide insight into what Facebook users are talking about up until the election.” said Michael Petricone of the Consumer Electronics Association. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was in New York on Wednesday at a press conference. Yet it's not something that bothers many in the tech set. Bill Clinton got more mentions on the site than the terms "Cowboys. And a number of startup companies are represented — including the car service.com/news/stories/0912/80826.800 percent over the evening. 2012 More people watched the kick-off game of the NFL season on Wednesday than Bill Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention. executive vice president of Comcast. the CEO of Salesforce. POLITICO: Silicon Valley Stars Are a No-Show in Charlotte http://www. The only Valley rep taking the forum stage during the three-day event is Steve Westly. Silicon Valley at times drives the Democratic agenda — the convention platform touches on everything from building out broadband to beefing up cybersecurity — but it has a backseat here in Charlotte. attended the convention. product demos and panel discussions. — President Barack Obama has raised millions from Silicon Valley. This week the tool has tracked a spike in Facebook chatter nationwide for President Obama and other Democratic speakers.

like Benioff. Yelp's Stoppelman. which begins later this month. constructed a new building mostly out of colorful crates in uptown Charlotte. and Whitman is a key Romney campaign adviser. Facebook maintained a high profile while in Charlotte. according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Joe Lockhart. Hoffman is among the ranks of the president's biggest donors. He’s skipping Charlotte to be near headquarters as his company prepares for its annual Dreamforce event in San Francisco. hosted a pricey. The co-founder of LinkedIn also is missing: Reid Hoffman was supposed to attend and participate in a panel. But both had been active in politics. not at a convention at which the hot-button issues relate to health care. Google confirmed Schmidt has no plans at this time to join the action. Workers and PACs at communications and electronics companies are among some of Obama's biggest contributors this election season — chipping in more than $10 million as of August. like long-time GOP-backer and Cisco CEO John Chambers. the absence of boardroom-level tech presence here in Charlotte creates a surprising contrast. who's donated big bucks to the Obama campaign in both 2008 and 2012. either. chief Joel Kaplan. Two of Romney's big supporters — HP CEO Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina — canvassed media to emphasize the candidate's strengths. economic recovery and gas prices. Still. though his company is sponsoring a pop-up lounge in the city.000 for the president. The lack of a tech exec Who’s Who in Charlotte to rival the gaggle of bold-face names from Hollywood doesn’t suggest that Obama somehow has lost his geek advantage over GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Facebook's Sandberg. as Google is reportedly talking with Apple on a truce in the smartphone patent war and Schmidt was at an event in the Big Apple on Wednesday to showcase Google’s new acquisition. however. too. . Here. are not. Company officials are quite busy these days.C. but couldn't make it because of a late scheduling conflict. And technology and the Internet also are key elements of a Democratic Party platform that emphasizes the need for future investment and innovation. a member of the campaign’s Technology for Obama. having each run for office and lost.But many other prominent Obama backers in the tech set. Yet she isn't on the premises. building off its work in Tampa for the Republican National Convention this week. His spokesman told POLITICO he still "supports the president and his reelection efforts" and would watch the speech. Google. and in Tampa it featured top D. stocked it with a charging station and some other goodies and parked its self-driving car outside. is also AWOL. meanwhile. But there aren't any speeches by those execs. however. it's brought its communications chief. say the situation is instead a reflection of the Valley ethos. But you won't find here any trace of Schmidt. and his company hosted the president at a town hall last year. Motorola Mobility. meanwhile. Benioff has helped cobble together more than $617. the company confirmed this week. Some tech veterans. swank fundraiser for the president last year. And there were some notable absences there. There weren't many tech execs making waves at the RNC in Tampa last week. according to data crunched by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama is a longtime member of Facebook and has used it and other platforms -. The Republican Party is also working its social-media angle and has a Facebook app called the "Social Victory Center. The Obama campaign also recently launched the "Commit to Vote" app via Facebook. The app was noted in a post on Facebook's U. Twitter said in the post. First lady Michelle Obama's speech Tuesday night captivated Twitter. Now. Known as the social-media president. The first night of the Democratic convention saw 3 million tweets. inspiring more than double the tweets per minute of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's address Aug. Pinterest.C.com/technology/article/Social-media-has-key-role-in-12-election-3843166. Users can simply click on the Facebook share button and answer some preference questions to get the app started. "We're measuring in real-time conversations that used to only take place at coffee shops and water coolers. Fla." said Rey Ramsey. He also spent time recently answering questions on Reddit.php Julie Bykowicz September 5. That just has never been the cultural norm. the company said in a blog post. viewers can share on their timelines that they're watching the speech. Twitter's head of government."In this case. it's a cultural dynamic." said Adam Sharp. which prompts users to register to vote. leader of TechNet." CNET: Obama Facebook App Lets Users Show They’re Watching the DNC http://news. news and social innovation. less about the high-level visibility being up on the stage. 2012 Gone are the days when politicians can sleep easy if their convention speeches please television talking heads and newspaper columnists. 2012 Facebook is becoming part of the Democratic National Convention viewing game hours before President Obama gives his speech accepting his party's nomination for a second term in office.S. Information is here. The dominant platforms. this week and also was at the Republican gathering last week in Tampa. . socially speaking.cnet. Politics on Facebook page." San Francisco Chronicle: Social Media Has Key Role in ’12 Election http://www. 30.sfgate. 1 million shy of the total tweets during the entire three-day Republican gathering.. which is available on the Obama-Biden Web site. are hosting events and keeping track of who's up and who's down.such as Twitter. they also need Facebook likes and Twitter retweets by millions of followers. Social media prowess is on display during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. "It's all about the products. With the launch of the Obama 2012 Social Sharing App. Bay Area social networks Twitter and Facebook. and Instagram -. noting the RNC faced a similar problem.to get out his political message.com/8301-1023_3-57507942-93/obama-facebook-app-lets-users-show-theyre-watchingthe-dnc/ Dara Kerr September 6. N.

at times more than Obama. . Romney has more than 1 million Twitter followers and. Democrats have dominated social media. and its Democratic counterpart. Sharp said.4-year difference Four years ago.000 pages for politicians. Last week." President Obama and Romney are spending millions of dollars to advertise online. Yet Republicans." said Katie Harbath. Staying connected Twitter and Facebook are going one level deeper. like Obama. Romney got more juice on Twitter during his wife's speech than his own. Romney had more than 2 million people posting about him on Facebook . On election day 2008." said Joe Green.behind celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. a spokeswoman for the San Francisco company. This year. The social network has partnered with two polling firms and analytics company Topsy to validate data. and that is what social media enables at the grassroots level. She said Romney leveraged the convention to build his social media base.8 million tweets. That's how many Twitter followers he has.000 political Facebook pages in the United States and 11. which helps Republicans. Now. "This will be. president and co-founder of NationBuilder. are now "on equal footing. Romney's team became the first political campaign to purchase a "trending topic" on Twitter. Last week. gaining more than 1 million fans during the week. Lots of helpers The presidential candidates' campaigns have digital strategists on their payrolls and also work with firms such as Targeted Victory. "Democracy in its most basic form is really about mobilization of the masses. without a doubt. Harbath said. ensuring that his message would pop up prominently in the social network's stream. the term "social media" wasn't widely used. manager of public policy and communication for the Menlo Park company. which analyzes the 400 million tweets per day to discern how users feel about Obama and Romney. there were 1. When Obama takes the stage in Charlotte on Thursday. There's a daily Twitter Political Index. In 2008. making his account the sixth-most popular in the world . multiple Facebook pages. in some ways. a Facebook public policy manager and liaison to Republicans. that many tweets are sent every six minutes. said Rachael Horwitz. Blue State Digital. the most socially connected election season ever. there are more than 110. Most candidates also use blog network Tumblr. including with placed media with Facebook and Twitter. he will essentially have 19 million potential publicists to spread his message. photo-sharing site Instagram and niche web venues like Pinterest to spread their messages. said Andrew Noyes. Facebook was popular mostly among college students. Led by Obama and his 2008 technology team. measuring how well the presidential candidates are connecting with their audiences in addition to how often. The Los Angeles company helps campaigns organize their online presence.

000 political Facebook pages in the U. and Facebook Inc. Twitter said in the post. 2012 Gone are the days when politicians can sleep easy if their convention speeches please television talking heads and newspaper columnists. Romney had a score of 14 the same day. The dominant platforms. 1 million shy of the total tweets during the entire three-day Republican gathering. On Election Day in 2008. This year. socially speaking. 30. and both candidates' scores had been dropping in recent days. though.S. Sharp said. news and social innovation. the company said in a blog post. San Francisco-based Twitter’s head of government. Facebook is tracking sentiment about the candidates through the volume of Facebook activity about the election. First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech last night captivated Twitter. president and co-founder of NationBuilder. are hosting events and keeping track of who’s up and who’s down. The Los Angeles-based company helps campaigns organize their online presence. said Andrew Noyes.com/fbinsights. the most socially connected election season ever. Facebook was popular mostly among college students.com/news/2012-09-05/twitter-deputizes-millions-of-pundits-at-politicalconventions Julie Bykowicz September 5. and that is what social media enables at the grassroots level. The first night of the Democratic convention saw 3 million tweets. is movement from day to day. there were 1.. this week and at the Republican gathering last week in Tampa. there are more than 110.8 million tweets. without a doubt. photo-sharing site Instagram and niche web venues like Pinterest to spread their messages. Masses Mobilized Most candidates also use blog network Tumblr. North Carolina.000 pages for politicians. Twitter Inc. a Twitter spokeswoman. “Democracy in its most basic form is really about mobilization of the masses. Now. said Rachael Horwitz. means that tweets about him are more positive than 25 percent of all other Twitter messages.” . now that many tweets are sent every six minutes. In 2008. cnn. Bloomberg Businessweek: Twitter Deputizes Masses of Political Pundits at Conventions http://www. age groups and male versus female.A score of 25. manager of public policy and communication for Facebook. they also need Facebook “likes” and Twitter “retweets” by millions of followers. Social media prowess is on display during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.” said Adam Sharp. The trend line of improving or deteriorating sentiment closely follows the movement of Gallup poll approval ratings. inspiring more than double the tweets-perminute as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s address Aug. and 11. enables visitors to view trends occurring in different states. Four years ago. Fifty or above is considered good. Florida. The site.businessweek. More telling. the term “social media” wasn’t widely used.” said Joe Green. “This will be. “We’re measuring in real-time conversations that used to only take place at coffee shops and water coolers. as Obama had Wednesday. Through a partnership with CNN. until Tuesday.

at times more than Obama. No one touched Clint Eastwood during the Republican convention. Twitter and Facebook are going one level deeper. including with placed media with Menlo Park. measuring how well the presidential candidates are connecting with their audiences in addition to how often. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin shared photos from the convention floor in Tampa with the 26. The Obama campaign quickly posted a photo of the president in a chair and the message.” said Katie Harbath. When Obama takes the stage in Charlotte Sept.@ChristieKeynote -. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan peaked during his speech with about 6.” As of Sept. 4.766 followers and featured backstage photos of himself. he will essentially have 19 million potential publicists to spread his message. Politicians are taking extra steps on social media to highlight their activities during the conventions. Romney got more juice on Twitter during his wife’s speech than his own. “This seat’s taken. quickly popped up and now has more than 68. which helps Republicans. multiple Facebook pages. Blue State Digital.000 tweets-per-minute when he spoke about his faith and again when talked about government spending. Harbath said. Led by Obama and his 2008 technology team. Romney has more than 1 million Twitter followers and. ensuring that his message would pop up prominently in the social network’s stream. Romney had more than 2 million people posting about him on Facebook -. Democrats have dominated social media. Sharp said.President Barack Obama and Romney are spending millions of dollars to advertise online.behind stars such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. in some ways. ‘Equal Footing’ The presidential candidates’ campaigns have digital strategists on their payrolls and also work with firms such as Targeted Victory. She said Romney leveraged the convention to build his social media base. 6. like Obama. Last week.000-plus people who have “liked” her Facebook page. . featuring a picture of an empty chair.the most activity of anyone during the Republican convention and the second most ever from Obama’s account.000 times -.000 followers. A spoof Twitter account @InvisibleObama. That’s how many Twitter followers he has. are now “on equal footing. Political Index New Jersey Governor Chris Christie started a special “Twitter handle” -. and its Democratic counterpart. it had been retweeted more than 54. a Facebook public policy manager and liaison to Republicans. @InvisibleObama’s Seat The surprise speaker spawned a Twitter tsunami when he addressed an empty chair as if it were Obama. Last week. gaining more than 1 million fans during the week.that attracted 7. Romney’s team became the first political campaign to purchase a “trending topic” on Twitter. Yet Republicans. California-based Facebook and Twitter. making his account the sixth most popular in the world -.

" "football. Sharp said. Normally. though is movement from day to day. the vice-presidential running-mate speaks the night before the presidential candidate accepts the party's nomination. The site.com/fbinsights. Even though the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants in last night's NFL season opener. means that tweets about him are more positive than 25 percent of all other Twitter messages. Clinton’s Speech More Popular Than NFL Kickoff Game http://politicalticker. Clinton's 48-minute address received the highest level of political buzz across both conventions with only one night to go. Facebook (FB) is tracking sentiment about the candidates through the volume of Facebook activity about the election." and "Romo. but because of concerns that Vice President Joe Biden's speech would be overshadowed by the game. Romney had a score of 14 the same day. .” which analyzes the 400 million tweets per day on Twitter to discern how users feel about Obama and Romney. A score of 25." "Giants. 2012 (CNN) – President Clinton took the ball and ran with it last night. age groups and male versus female.cnn. it was the former president who garnered the most attention on Facebook. jumping 41. CNN: On Facebook.210% on Facebook. and Facebook has the numbers to prove it. 4." the Cowboy's starting quarterback.There’s a daily “Twitter Political Index. Through a partnership with CNN.800%. Fifty or above is considered good. as Obama had Sept. According to data provided to CNN from Facebook. Bill Clinton got more mentions on the site than the terms "Cowboys. mentions of Clinton increased by 9. because Clinton's speech proved to be an effective attention getter on Facebook. The trend line of improving or deteriorating sentiment closely follows the movement of Gallup poll approval ratings. social media is adapting to politics: Twitter and Facebook both have employees roving throughout the conventions and have sponsored parties and events to raise their profile. convention organizers scheduled his address for Thursday night for maximum exposure. Compared to the previous hours. enables visitors to view trends occurring in different states. Clinton's use of the word "arithmetic" to explain how he delivered four surplus budgets as President also gained buzz. cnn. Facebook's numbers show that the worrying was for naught. Trend Line More telling.blogs. until yesterday. The social network has partnered with two polling firms and analytics company Topsy to validate data. and both candidates’ scores had been dropping in recent days.com/2012/09/06/on-facebook-clintons-speech-more-popular-than-nflkickoff-game/ Eric Weisbrod September 6. Just as the politicians have adapted to social media.

com/apps-and-drinks-dnc_b98831 Jennifer Moire September 5. voter registration info. and get-out-the-vote efforts. NationBuilder.C. . Campaigns are leveraging Facebook to accomplish basic campaign tasks — from phone banking to door knocking and direct mailings. including Joe Lockhart and Sarah Feinberg. app developers aligned with Democrats were featured in a contemporary art gallery. while also helping President Barack Obama‘s campaign reach a much broader audience not already on its site.. friends connecting with friends. Charles Schumer (D-N. Facebook is rapidly evolving into a necessary resource. The firm says that 30. Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren. according to the data. Sen. videos. For campaigns. All Facebook: Facebook Highlights Democratic App Developers at DNC http://allfacebook. The event highlighted the following Democratic apps:     NGP VAN: The integration tool behind last year’s “We Are Ohio” campaign recently launched Social Organizing. Facebook is becoming akin to a virtual volunteer. N. And rich voter data are overlayed on the Facebook platform tapping into the most powerful connection of all. a former special assistant to Obama. the tool is now faster and more “fierce” than before. As Tobias Quaranto. advocacy organizations. Among the features he highlighted for us was the enhanced “friend mapping” feature. A similar event was held last week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. and other campaign activities with friends. As one company representative noted. which enables people to match their Facebook friends to voter files. as well as a stronger “gamification” component that allows users to post badges publicly to their Facebook walls when they make calls or send emails to their friends.) was seen at the event (pictured below). 2012 Facebook application developers were in the spotlight for the second week in a row at the social network’s “Apps and Drinks” event held in Charlotte. grassroots fundraising. which is ideal for campaigns and advocacy groups. followed by Mitt Romney. volunteer recruitment. WeForPresident.000 actions have been completed through the tool. Their voter registration app can be added to any Facebook page and allows people to connect via Facebook to register to vote and share with their friends. powering voter ID. This time. and the Facebook-CNN “I Voted” app. Fla. which empowers activists to carry AFL-CIO’s message to friends by matching their Facebook connections to AFL-CIO’s targeted voters on the voter file.Y. Obama for America: The Obama Facebook app helps people share stories. Two-thirds of these were part of last year’s effort to overturn an anti-union law. a sales director with NGP VAN.Barack Obama was the second most talked about political figure last night. Our Time: Our Time is a site dedicated to youth empowerment through the voting process. AFL-CIO’s Workers’ Voice: Political action committee Workers’ Voicee recently introduced the Friends & Neighbors app. and any group using grassroots to advance ideas or legislative agendas. Some of the other apps included were Votizen. told AllFacebook. along with Facebook representatives with roots in Democratic politics. Tuesday to coincide with the kickoff of the Democratic National Convention.

feeling is what counts.charlottemagazine.com/Blogs/The-DNC-In-The-CLT/September-2012/Inside-Facebook-andGoogle-at-the-DNC/ Jarvis Holliday September 5. Meanwhile. The numbers are impressive. 2012 This is the Twitter election. Even Republicans would have to concede that it was a masterful display. where guests relax on futuristic-looking. which is exactly what the conventions are. and special guests. and excitement while subtly undercutting everything Romney said the week before. exuding confidence. with Facebook staff. whoever was manning Barack Obama’s Twitter account tweeted a photo of him on his couch with his two daughters. In 2008. there were 3 million tweets related to M’Obama’s prime-time performance. Aside from the Google Lounge. 2012 According to web information company Alexa. Google-logo-colors-inspired furniture and plug in their gadgets. What matters more is that Twitter amplifies feeling. Google has set up shop on Tryon Street in Uptown in a massive tent that looks like it should be a permanent structure. along with a quick video of an impromptu musical performance. As of about midnight. On the night of Mitt Romney’s speech alone.com/2012/09/05/pull-up-a-chair-and-enjoy-the-twitter-election/ Hamish McKenzie September 5. pride etched deeply into his silent expression. That’s twice as many as Mitt Romney got at his Twitter peak during his speech last week. Last night I posted a sample of my Twitter timeline as Michelle Obama’s speech played out. Facebook and Google are currently the number one and two most-visited websites in the world. In political theater. even as TV ratings fell dramatically compared to four years ago.000. Facebook hosted its “Apps and Drinks” private event at Elder Gallery in South End. but they’re not what counts. there was also a reception honoring African-American and Latino-American leadership.000 tweets per minute. hope.003 tweets a minute. PandoDaily: Pull Up a Chair and Enjoy the Twitter Election http://pandodaily. Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech last night peaked at 28. (As I suggested in another post yesterday. Below are a few photos from inside the two events. members of the technology developer community. the number of tweets over the course of the two conventions combined totaled 360. the . there were 4 million tweets related to the occasion. I attended events yesterday the web giants are hosting while the Democratic National Convention is underway in Charlotte. Comedian Kal Penn tweeted his #sexyface and started a trend that generated 2. coincidentally going to a Facebook event first and a Google event second. Soon after she stepped off the podium. watching the speech on TV.Readers: Have you used any of the apps Facebook featured in Tampa or Charlotte? Charlotte Magazine: Inside Facebook and Google at the DNC http://www.

On Twitter. adding glaze to the lines that jumped out at the viewers: We learned about honesty and integrity. Campaign politics so often hinge on moments – and moments are what Twitter specializes in. but the chatter on Twitter makes the pundits obsolete before they can even get to their microphones.nationaljournal. that last statement still seems extreme. But not on this scale. it can at least pirouette on a perfectly placed post.) But while the television coverage captured her delivery in high-definition. And yes. Google has talked a lot about the importance of YouTube. that was also true of the 2008 election. You reach back. but it’s more of a broadcast medium than a zone of interaction. on the other hand. to the extent where you could sensibly claim that 140 characters can swing an election.public’s online reaction seems to focus on emotion rather than facts. Romney’s moment in the spotlight last week was overshadowed not so much by an old man on stage gibbering to an empty chair. The people you follow are the people you would be happy to debate in the lunch hall. which has been livestreaming both conventions. TV is still a powerful mode of content delivery. And if an election can turn on a bead of sweat. it puts them on a pedestal. by any means. you do not slam it shut behind you. He believes that when you work hard and do well and walk through that doorway of opportunity. Twitter crystallized it in gleaming little nuggets. It certainly plays a large role. On the evidence we’ve seen in this campaign so far. not with this emotional force. and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. But it is not farfetched. Talking about politics there just makes the whole conversation awkward. That you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules. Facebook is a place where we hang out with friends and family. it gives them biggest megaphone that has ever existed. Twitter. And even the major stations rely on Twitter to enhance their coverage and push their message. I have seen firsthand that being President does not change who you are – it reveals who you are. YouTube comments aren’t going to win any hearts and minds. you are part of the conversation. our peers. And success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square. but by a barrage of tweets that buried the former Governor under their enormous collective weight. You can scroll quickly past a tweet that isn’t providing nutrition. Twitter doesn’t only capture moments. and not. Twitter was as much part of the story as it was the story itself. but it doesn’t drive or capture the emotion-of-moment like Twitter can.com/daily/obama-app-links-facebook-friends-to-voter-lists-20120905 . That the truth matters. You can track hashtags for particular topics and events. You can skip right to relevance and slake your thirst for instant context and community. Facebook has made strong claims to its relevance during this campaign. and the voices we respect enough to follow. No matter how hard Google tries to sell it. part of the political process. National Journal: Obama App Links Facebook Friends to Voter Lists http://www. is for interests. and it attaches them to our friends. Even though not every voter is on Twitter – it has only 140 million users worldwide – the influencers are. creator and consumer of your own campaign narrative. Twitter drove the discussion that night and predicted the headlines of the next minute’s news.

but there is no guarantee that the data will be used for its intended purpose. Coney said. The Social Organizing tool allows users to essentially reconstitute their personal networks within the confines of the NGP VAN site and organize them based on their location.” she said. turnout history. The matching of voter lists to social networks “widely crosses the line.” said Lillie Coney.Adam Mazmanian September 5. and responses to survey questions. associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Hamlin said. Coney is still concerned that the data from these apps could be abused.” Trevelyan said. The technology has the potential to turn ordinary activists into virtual precinct captains.7 million voters is available to anyone who asks and pays $7. A link to the app was distributed on Tuesday night by the official Barack Obama Twitter account. His app was highlighted at a Facebook event in Charlotte on Tuesday. registration status. and other factors. What is different in this election cycle is the volume and depth of information that has now become accessible to campaign volunteers at the touch of a button. points out that a CD-ROM of the state’s database of 3. in order to contact friends on behalf of Democratic candidates. “We’re confident that we abide by Facebook’s terms of service and also abide by privacy rules.” Trevelyan said. “There’s nothing special about having facilitated that with Facebook data that makes it some sort of privacy invasion. said Stuart Trevelyan. “When you start putting enough information online about the lives of people in communities. without going through Facebook. She thinks that voter information should be shareable across social-network lists only on an “opt-in” basis to protect the privacy of unregistered voters. The matching of social-network lists to voter registrations doesn’t actually occur within Facebook’s system. codirector of elections in Washington state. but users input their information into an online form provided by the state’s Elections Division. Volunteers working with the NGP VAN list use their Facebook login to access the Social Organizing interface. Democratic activists can also access a service called Social Organizing—from left-leaning elections-technology firm NGP VAN—to find out which of their Facebook friends are registered by tapping into an extensive voter database that includes basic personal information. Washington state has an online voter-registration app that works much the same way: It loads within a Facebook frame. “Being able to monitor whether they do register or not can raise questions they don’t really want to get into trying to answer. stated political preference. Shane Hamlin. lots of profiling that’s . The Obama app functions as a frame within a Facebook page. Someone could be a nonvoter for religious reasons or because of a felony conviction they don’t care to disclose to Facebook friends. head of NGP VAN. 2012 The Obama campaign is looking to increase voter registration and stimulate turnout with an app that lets Facebook users match their social-network contacts with voter files.” she said. Much of this voter information is already publicly available. lots of data-matching. but the privacy policy indicates that the information flows directly into the campaign site. you do start creating some problems. “What’s going on with modern campaigns is lots of data-mining.

In the last 12 hours. Chris Christie speech 7. Mitt Romney speech 3. 2012 The Obama campaign's use of sophisticated digital tools designed to oil its ground operation and increase engagement with voters on the doorstep could give the president a one or two point advantage over Mitt .cnn. Chris Christie. Data is updated every hour on the hour. Fifth most buzzed about convention speech on Facebook was Ann Romney's. check the Facebook CNN Election Insights tool to see if Obama gets a bump from the speech. Ann Romney speech 4. Michelle Obama speech was the most mentioned convention-related event so far on Facebook. We will keep you posted! After Clinton's speech. Clint Eastwood's speech was talked about more on Facebook than Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's speech. Followed by the speeches of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and New Jersey Gov. Mentions of President Obama on Facebook are up 244% from this time yesterday. Michelle Obama speech 2. Barack Obama dominated the political conversation on Facebook in every state except Utah and Wyoming.uk/world/2012/sep/04/obama-jim-messina-online-organising?newsfeed=true Ed Pilkington September 4.com/facebookinsights Guardian: Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina Puts Faith in Online Organising http://www. when Romney had the majority of the chatter in most states.280% increase in Paul Ryan mentions compared to previous hours.900% during his speech. There was a huge spike in Obama chatter last night after Michelle Obama's speech. Mentions of Biden are up 354% compared to last night at 10pm ET Which convention-related moments were mentioned the most on Facebook? 1.co. Mitt Romney's speech is the second most mentioned convention event on Facebook after Michelle Obama's speech. Paul Ryan speech 5.taking place. Compare this to the last 7 days. Mentions of Eastwood increased by a whopping 8. Clint Eastwood speech Facebook mentions of Barack Obama increased 745% during Michelle Obama's speech compared to the previous hours.guardian.” CNN: Conventions Live Blog http://politicslive. Julian Castro speech 6. More people mentioned Barack Obama during this speech than people mentioned Romney during his own speech. which comes in fourth. they’re going to be categorized in a way that may not be great for them in the long run.cnn. There was a 2. Romney mentions increased by 422% during his speech compared to the previous hours. If a person is asked repeatedly to register to vote and they don’t register to vote.com/Event/2012_Conventions_live_blog?Page=0 Eric Weisbrod September 5. The third most discussed convention event on Facebook was Clint Eastwood's speech. All this data can be found at www. 2012 Vice President Joe Biden (the teal line) is finally getting some buzz on Facebook.

. "We have been organising in this campaign for 500 days. Romney and his Super PAC supporters have taken a more conventional approach of blitzing battleground states with largely negative television advertising. "The Romney campaign are doing more than the McCain campaign did [in 2008]. said that the president had an important advantage over his Republican challenger. He also claimed that Democrat's investment in innovations such as the canvassing tool set Dashboard and a massive database of voters' details that interfaces with Facebook had left the Republicans standing. combined with Facebook and online micro-targetting of specific groups of undecided voters. since Obama launched his first bid for the White House in 2007. his campaign manager has predicted. We're going to make 2008 on the ground look like Jurassic Park". the Obama campaign's chief spokesman. The Chicago team prides itself with having developed over the past five years. redirecting it to help fight battles faced by his administration such as the passage of healthcare reform. has allowed the campaign to amplify and extend the traditional door-todoor efforts of volunteers digitally. "This election is going to be very close. Messina said that a two-point bounce in key swing states such as Florida. That means that he was able to start campaigning for re-election historically early. I want to give them credit for that." LaBolt said. The Chicago headquarters that is spearheading the effort to re-elect the president normally avoids discussion of its technical operations for fear of giving away trade secrets to the opposition. But they are nowhere near where we are on the ground. who heads an army of several hundred staffers that has been working for 18 months to secure Obama's re-election. The outcome of the presidential race could in part hinge on this fundamental difference – a modern digital campaign versus a conventional TV one. That. and Ohio where the disparity on the ground is even greater at 100 Obama offices to Romney's 30. volunteers can access anywhere at any time. through Dashboard. the most sophisticated digital campaign in global political history. Ben LaBolt. He gave examples from two important swing states – North Carolina where the convention is being held and where the Obama campaign has 50 field offices up and running while the Romney campaign has yet to open its 20th. said that the digital campaign that has been assembled this year to interact with voters is "light years ahead of where we were in 2008. It is centred around a gargantuan unified database of millions of voter files which. Obama took the unprecedented decision at the end of the 2008 race to leave his digital campaign largely intact. Iowa and Colorado could be decisive in determining the outcome of the 6 November election. Jim Messina. While Obama has put a large portion of his war chest behind the largest and best oiled ground operation ever seen. while the Republicans were out there pummelling each other during the primaries." Messina's comments on the 2012 election's ground war were unusually direct for the Obama campaign. Ohio. We have been building a ground operation that will give us the one or two points that we need to win these states and we are on track to do that.Romney in the key battleground states upon which the outcome of the election depends." Messina told an event at the Democratic National Convention sponsored by ABC News and Yahoo News. our supporters were talking to their friends and neighbours about the president's record and vision.

I know you like to think that PandoDaily’s political coverage is super coordinated. in other words. where the politically inclined get to celebrate. and EventFarm. including teaching politicos how to instal MS-DOS. and discussing “issues” with furrowed brows. WordPress. for once. and chanting at each other for scripted paeans to their own political pomposity. So. I’ll be doing this a bit gonzo style (trade the napkins for an iPhone and a Macbook. There’ll even be panels.) . which includes a panel series that will focus on topics such as governments and startups. In other words. By necessity. and Tampa. Microsoft. I’ll be checking out The Roots and the punctuationally challenged will. in conjunction with Startup America. or a job at Applebee’s. the real action happens outside the stadium. anyway.am at a show put on by HyperVocal. is not political. ethanol imbibing. My preference for the DNC. Tonight. at events and parties around town. I just got back from China and I was in no mood to haul ass to the Sunshine State to breakdance with Newt Gingrich. chiefly because I don’t have media credentials for the actual thing in the stadium where suits spend all day waving signs. But for everyone else. I’ll be here throughout the week reporting on tech stories related to the convention. Charlotte is doable. and Tumblr. PandoDaily: Yep. From there. including Google. tighty whities. This time. who rely on the big stage and TV spotlight for an important chance to tell the public that the opposition candidate is not fit for office.com/2012/09/03/yep-were-at-the-democratic-national-convention-in-charlotte-nc/ Hamish McKenzie September 3. NC http://pandodaily. but keep the booze). And actually. why am I here when I wasn’t at last week’s Republican convention? Two reasons: mildly wilder parties. They’ll be throwing parties and engaging in outreach efforts. and innovation in gaming. the election campaign. (I’ve heard the Dems want to bring back joysticks. of course that’s what matters most for the politicians and the parties. as you can guess. being the cool kids on campus. Fighter Interactive. It was only as the convention got ever closer that I realized how big a role tech would be playing here. Messina claimed that the campaign has registered 150% more voters and knocked on 147% more doors this year than at this stage in 2008. We’re at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.i. though whether or not that translates into actual votes cast remains one of the big questions of this presidential election cycle. But Florida? Well.While the 2012 digital campaign launched by the Obama team undoubtedly looks slick. coming here was a last-minute decision. Many of the major tech and social media companies have a strong presence in Charlotte this week. these things aren’t really so much about what you see on television. Startups will also play a big part. I live in Baltimore. Well. As all 24 minutes of my convention-covering experience tells me. but we’re a startup and we’re trying to cover a hundred things at once. 2012 I’ve just arrived in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. cheering. many of the claims made for it have so far been unsubstantiated by any solid data. That. innovation in journalism. Twitter. The party kicks off a week of events called StartUp RockOn. and anyone who talks to an empty chair on stage. the Democratic National Convention is South By Southwest for khakis. means flesh pressing. Facebook.

this must be the most digital-y convention ever. And CNN and Time have colaunched an app. but with a Democratic-oriented interface (ie. Spotify users can subscribe to the Romney Ryan 2012 campaign's playlists. that features breaking news." "Google and YouTube are transforming the political process. as well as others such as Politico. news. Paul Ryan. Aside from the obvious Facebook.) We saw at the RNC just how big a deal social media was in amplifying and fact-checking the messages of Romney. the RNC named Google and YouTube as the "Official Social Platform and Live Stream Provider. on Facebook. Pinterest and Foursquare accounts . and daily analysis. or video-enabled smart-phone an exclusive backstage pass to the podium of a national political convention. This week we’ll find out if the Dems can turn the Internet to their advantage. Instagram users can view convention photos using the "Convention Without Walls" Facebook app or by searching GOPconvention on the mobile app. all its restaurants and nightlife information is provided by Yelp. providing voters an unprecedented degree of participation and.cbsnews. To me that suggests one thing: the app-makers assume that most politicians don’t know what Yelp is. Supporters can follow Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and his choice for vice president. tablet. giving every American who has access to a computer.services that weren't around during the last election cycle. explore Tampa. and I’m following its Twitter and Facebook accounts. . Google+ http://www. Eastwood. video gaming system. Ryan. will be live-streaming coverage of the convention and related commentary. Additionally. interactive television. it’s blue). It is. all very digital-y. Funnily enough. as well. Twitter. Social media has grown immensely since the 2008 elections. like many others. for the very first time. just as they were at the RNC. The my2012charlotte iPhone app will be my guide to all events. and city information this week. It also comes with a pre-hashtagged Twitter stream (#dnc2012). have also signed up for daily emails from DemList. as you can tell. A good way to start? Well. A Tampa 2012 mobile app has been launched for iPhones and Android devices. how about getting Betty White to introduce the President? CBS News: How to Follow the 2012 Republican Convention on Facebook. the RNC also has official Instagram. Most of the TV stations. An official Facebook app called "Convention Without Walls" lets users tell their stories by submitting photos and videos." said convention CEO William Harris in a press release. and company. Convention Floor Pass. In April. 2012 The RNC is creating several opportunities for supporters to engage on social networks. In fact. alerts. For the first time ever.Outside of the organized events. Twitter and Google+.com/8301-501465_162-57500864-501465/how-to-follow-the-2012-republicannational-convention-on-facebook-twitter-google-/ Chenda Ngak September 3. it has already become obvious just how central a role social media and mobile apps will have throughout the convention. I. the RNC will live stream the entire convention on its YouTube channel. Twitter and YouTube profiles. which can be submitted via YouTube. Google+. and keep up with tweets from prominent Republicans. (I’m making this assumption on the basis that the Dems have more young tikes who understand the Twitters. The app lets users view the convention schedule (with events now delayed until Tuesday after Tropical Storm Isaac's threat). shattering last week’s record set by the Republicans.

S.m.Social media companies are working hard to cater to politicians.com. supporters and the media.com Mitt Romney on Facebook Mitt Romney on Twitter Mitt Romney on Google+ Mitt Romney on Tumblr . politics that highlights politicians and political campaigns. Twitter has set up a political index that profiles the candidates' number of followers. ET and will be streamed live at CBSNews. CBS News will join The National Journal and The Atlantic for daily briefings at both conventions.com Official Facebook page Official Google+ page Official YouTube page Official Pinterest page Republican National Convention on Foursquare GOPconvention on Instagram via Facebook @GOPconvention on Twitter Convention hashtag: #GOP2012 Republican National Convention mobile apps Tampa 2012 iOS app on iTunes Tampa 2012 Android app at Google Play Romney Ryan 2012 social media profiles Romney Ryan 2012 official website: MittRomney. tweets and changes in daily activity. Republican National Convention social media profiles Official website: GOPConvention2012. Here's the full list of social media links for the 2012 Republican National Convention and Romney Ryan 2012 campaign. Briefings start on Aug. Facebook has an official hub for U. 27 at 9:30 a.

S. focus groups are too tiny to be nationally representative. focus groups are rife with problems: bored participants rush to judgement. are heavily influenced by the latent actions of the research director and their surrounding peers. Facebook’s recent experiment with topical chatter during the RNC may have just revealed the social network as the best known barometer of national buzz. the entire map of women talking from coast to coast turned bright red. 2012 For all the millions spent on the Republican National Convention.com/2012/09/02/do-women-love-ann-romney-only-facebook-knows/ Gregory Feinstein September 2. and. or remember monumental life events. they certainly wouldn’t be better at reflecting how they felt during a speech days earlier. a giant spike in female chatter is the best indication we’ve ever had that team Romney hit the bullseye. so. Large surveys are subject to respondents’ notoriously bad memories. . the entire operation could only speculate whether their keynote speeches had any meaningful impact. are by nature. who oversaw a Facebook partnership that visualizes political social chatter across a map of the US. It’d be nearly impossible to ascertain how women actually felt about Ann Romney’s speech using traditional methods. and the Twitterverse is too liberal and young.” recalls CNN producer Michelle Jaconi. Until Facebook achieved near universal adoption among the voting class. While Facebook doesn’t measure the sentiment of opinion. “During Ann Romney’s speech. too tiny to be representative of the national population. However. As we’ve noted before. Hindsight survey’s asking respondents how they felt about a speech over the phone are subject to participant’s notoriously bad memories. which measures opinion while groups of potential voters watch a replay of the speech.Mitt Romney on Spotify Mitt Romney on Pinterest Mitt Romney on YouTube Paul Ryan on Facebook Paul Ryan on Twitter 2012 politics hubs on social media sites U. The second-best alternative is a real-time focus group. brands had no reliable way to gage public opinion. many people can’t remember what they ate for breakfast. Unfortunately. Politics on Facebook The Twitter Political Index Google coverage of the 2012 RNC Tech Crunch: Do Women Love Ann Romney? Only Facebook Knows http://techcrunch.

” Romney’s team boasted Saturday that it is closing the digital gap between the campaigns and accused its rival of running a social media operation that’s just too – well. has achieved near universal adoption in the United States. Fox: Romney campaign claims to be closing gap in social media battle http://www. hyperactive. And.Twitter attempted to reveal national sentiment with its political index. But. it’s hard to imagine a better data source than Facebook. Daniel Gayo-Avello. we created the single largest coalition. on the only platform which could achieve this. on the conservative side of the country. And on that social-media front. Mitt Romney’s campaign claims it’s catching up. for instance. the benefits are sure to spill over into industry marketing. the 2012 presidential election is no different – with Obama far exceeding Romney in the number of Facebook followers and daily campaign tweets. 70% of the Republican’s sweet-spot 35-49 demographic use social networks (and nearly all of them use Facebook).” writes computer science professor.” Moffatt had Ann Romney respond on Twitter and Facebook. Ann Romney had 85K people engaging with her online. 2012 It’s an all-out battle for votes in the last two months before the election – and it’s happening across Twitter feeds. when Obama campaign advisor Hilary Rosen made the unfortunate claim that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life. the Romney campaign has a history of channeling female engagement at the perfect time. would certainly want to know if a Superbowl ad lit up teenage chatter–as would any national brand. Moffatt can target them with specific calls to action. research has shown that the modern state of statistical science just doesn’t know how to accurately measure opinion through the (heavily biased) Twitterverse. Facebook though. According to Pew. “In 48 hours. Moffett recalls. Where the volume of chatter matters more than sentiment. Ford. 15.” CNN’s experiment with Facebook was a proving ground for the social network as a goldmine in demographicspecific buzz. So. on the walls of Facebook and in Google chat rooms everywhere. the campaign now knows that it teed up enough users in the chosen demographic to mobilize passionate supporters.foxnews. The Democrats have long been the leaders in using social media to their advantage. which measures the volume of positive and negative tweets related to each presidential hopeful. put your ear to Facebook’s grindstone. While President Obama and his supporters prepare for what Democrats are calling “the most open and accessible convention in history. who oversees all social media and online advertising for the campaign. “It can be concluded that the predictive power of Twitter regarding elections has been greatly exaggerated. After the election. .” With Facebook. Zac Moffatt asks.com/politics/2012/09/01/romney-campaign-claims-to-be-closing-gap-in-social-mediabattle/ Cristina Corbin September 2. “stay-at-home moms. brands. “You know who the power mobile users of Facebook are?” Ronmey’s Digital Director. from scratch. according to Romney’s digital director. But more doesn’t mean better. Zac Moffatt. Earlier in the year. which is Facebook. According to a Pew Research Center study released Aug. Even if the Facebook chatter wasn’t all positive. In 5 days.

in contrast. “This seat’s taken. Mrs.” Moffatt said that of the 5. The Romney team says it has made strides in engaging users across various online platforms – particularly on Facebook. Despite the Obama campaign’s social media success.” Moffatt said. has tweeted 1.blogs.4 million are using the online social network to “post about” the candidate and his campaign. however. On Twitter. CNN: RNC Nets Higher Buzz Factor Than Hurricane Isaac.685 times and enjoy 19.” Moffatt told FoxNews. about 2. "Believe me.169. which describes her as “Mom of five boys.” Ann Romney set up a Twitter account and fired back. well before Romney announced his running mate and Republicans converged on Tampa for their party’s convention.” “The Obama campaign has an advantage in that they’ve been doing this for six years and have invested a lot of money in it. Obama has 28 million “Likes” on Facebook versus Romney’s 5 million. Out campaigning for @mittromney. Moffatt claims. Grandmother of 18. says that the average number of “interactions” per day on Obama’s Facebook page is not much higher than on Romney’s. noting that the results of the study were released three months ago.” he said.” an independent news service of Inside Network.com/2012/09/01/rnc-nets-higher-buzz-factor-than-hurricane-isaac-facebooktalk-meter-shows/ CNN Political Unit September 1. Romney attracted tens of thousands of followers to her Twitter account.com. 2012 . it was hard work. The Pew research study. The Obama campaign recently showed how it uses social media to its advantage when it responded via Twitter to Clint Eastwood’s impromptu act before the Republican convention Thursday.” he said.cnn. and in some ways we’ve overtaken them.596 followers.729 followers.109 times and has 996. Romney." Almost instantly. for example. Moffatt said. “They think that because you tweet more. nothing’s a priority. Moffatt says the Romney team continues to enjoy a spike in followers across the Twitterverse – and pointed to Ann Romney as an early example of that success.8 million Romney followers currently on Facebook." Romney tweeted. during which the legendary actor addressed an empty chair meant to be an imaginary Obama. finds that the Obama campaign is still active on nearly twice as many digital tools and that the online content it produces generates more responses from users on average. but I think every single day we’re catching up.“The Pew is not an authority on how to use campaign social media. “Barack Obama tweets 30 times a day – that’s not how we want to use Twitter.” the Obama campaign tweeted a day later – and included a photo of the commander-inchief from behind. "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. “We wouldn’t want to do it 30 times a day because if everything’s a priority. that “the average re-tweet for us is much higher than the Obama campaign per tweet. The day after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said on television that Romney’s wife “never worked a day in her life. A report by “Inside Facebook. Facebook ‘Talk Meter’ Shows http://politicalticker. you must be better at Twitter. sitting in a chair at what appears to be a cabinet meeting. Obama and his campaign have tweeted 5.

Next came men between 55 and 64. Rep.." RNC social sharing was more significant in Washington. according to data compiled by the Facebook "Talk Meter.. so Eastwood being outside of the spotlight prior to his remarks helped him jump up the "Talk Meter" scale. Both Romney and his wife. the toss-up states of Colorado.buzzfeed. The data showed that men between 35 and 54 talked about Romney's running mate.While Republicans gathered in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate.C. The data did not. The Facebook "Talk Meter" also assigns a numerical value to an event's magnitude. perceive the state of political play. the state with the largest number of people discussing their performances was Utah. Besides battleground Florida. and Wisconsin. however.12. his home state. and Nevada also placed in the top ten. and the larger population.com/chrisgeidner/obama-responds-to-eastwood-this-seats-taken Chris Geidner August 31. nor did it measure what demographic groups were watching coverage of the convention in greater numbers than other groups. D. according to this scale.(CNN) . and Hurricane Isaac approached the Gulf Coast. nor did it compete with the inauguration of President Barack Obama (8. North Carolina. That state has a high percentage of people who share Romney's Mormon faith. although Florida. The data provided by Facebook did not specify the timeframe for this buzz. . Paul Ryan. placed second in a list of buzz by geography.5) and the announcement of Ryan as Romney's running mate (5. indicate what the Facebook users thought of his controversial remarks. 2012 The Facebook post follows Clint Eastwood's imagined conversation with Obama that took place as the movie star spoke to an empty chair in Tampa. More men and women over the age of 65 discussed Mitt Romney in the recent sampling than any other group. shared through a partnership with CNN. and Ann Romney received buzz among men and women over 55 years-of-age. were also discussed most by those older groups.C. more users of Facebook were talking about the Republican National Convention than the storm. but the Republican convention opened on Monday and concluded with Romney's acceptance speech on Thursday evening. BuzzFeed: Obama Responds to Eastwood: “This Seat’s Taken” http://www.62 in 2012) nor Supreme Court health care decision (6. The RNC ranked at approximately a 6. The "Talk Meter" calculates a jump in buzz. A demographic breakdown of the data provided by the social sharing website found that men over the age of 65 were talking about Clint Eastwood's surprise appearance at the RNC more than any other group.99) in 2008. more than any other demographic.97 earlier this year). But it was no Super Bowl (8. While the data compiled by Facebook. followed by women over the age of 65. He was buzzed about the most in Washington.21). is not a scientific survey. than in any other state. Ann. Romney's campaign may find encouragement in the geographic areas which the RNC received the greatest rate of buzz. Facebook said . it is an attempt to gauge how users of the website. which hosted the convention. D.which placed it above Hurricane Isaac (at a 5. Geographically.

2012 Twitter lit up last night after Clint Eastwood's deeply weird monologue with an empty chair on the primetime stage of the Republican National Convention.ago. and a budget (generously provided by the college) to make a mere 1. I was then a professor of mathematics and statistics at what is today called Bentley University (then Bentley College) and about to start teaching an advanced statistics course. can also become a hot seat in a matter of minutes. and phone exchanges proportionally represented in .com/opinion/viewsday-1. the night before the election.html?utm_hp_ref=technology&ir=Technology Amir Aczel August 31. and at 41. area codes. and sampling distributions. Those surprises can break a president. a sudden geopolitical surprise. I would have them do a class project: use statistics to predict the results of the upcoming presidential election? Professional polling organizations like Gallup have thousands of employees and bottomless pockets.com/amir-aczel/facebook-pollingelection_b_1841296. can make any president squirm in his seat.or at least go with the flow. I was flying from London back to Boston. commanding and presidential. or they can give him a chance to be cool. stratification. with all its regions. Then. all in preparation for our big event. or a nasty weather event that tests the federal government's ability to respond.Newsday: Barack Obama’s Facebook Photo Responds to Clint Eastwood’s Empty Chair http://www. So keep your eye on that chair.000 phone calls to voters around the country.newsday. we stayed up late in our "operations center.000 voters that perfectly spanned the entire United States. we ran a poll of 1. the photo is a stark reminder to Mitt Romney and the rest of us of the power of an incumbent president to set the agenda. and that with 25 students. We spent the semester learning about sampling methods. Looks like the president can take a joke -. bias in surveys.000 feet had one of the most interesting ideas in my professional life. currently occupied by a president well known since childhood for his preternatural cool. I could call the election with high accuracy. but the hubris of youth told me that I knew statistics better than they did. Today. The seat President Barack Obama occupies is the center of political action for the whole nation. Over takeout pizza and countless cups of coffee. I asked myself.and five presidential election seasons -.huffingtonpost.3683911/barack-obama-s-facebook-photo-responds-to-clinteastwood-s-empty-chair-1. the White House weighed in with this Facebook post. But it's helpful to remember that this seat. What would happen. In the middle of all the one-liners. In the two months between now and Election Day. World events don't follow our political calendar. Huffington Post: Can Facebook Call the Election? http://www. 12 phone lines." each group of students manning a phone.3941834 Bob Keeler August 31. if instead of giving my class the usual boring examples. at the end of August 1992. 2012 Exactly 20 years -. armed with a state-of-the-art random sampling scheme we had developed throughout the course that would give every voter in the United States an equal chance of being selected for our representative sample.

Bush. So the frame. Digest editors decided to outdo themselves. the magazine went boldly out with this prediction -. Incidentally. had been able to call presidential elections so well that the New York Times would regularly report the Digest poll results on its front page during every election campaign. hoping to gain even more prestige for their magazine. The Literary Digest was a conservative publication. using telephone numbers to generate a frame from which to collect a random sample was a prescription for disaster.still a sample that is immensely large. they did not fully understand the concepts of randomness and bias. for the other two: Bill Clinton and George H. Because their vaunted sample indicated that the Republican candidate. By 1992. Thus.one was automobile registration plates. But this was 76 years ago: People who had cars and/or phones tended to be wealthier. but they are very few and their phonelessness may not be as highly income-dependent as it would have been in 1936). (There is also the problem of non-response.000. Another interesting fact to note here is that sample sizes need not be very large. They would collect a sample of unprecedented size: 10 million voters! (Of these. A good experimental design allowed us to do so well -. knocking on doors?) and in the meantime phones had become ubiquitous and no longer exhibited a preference to be owned by richer people: so the built-in bias was almost completely gone.and our predictions were reported in some newspapers and on radio programs. History decided otherwise. phones had become the most efficient way to generate good samples because they were easy to use (who wants to travel from town to town. (I have to say "almost" because there are people with no phones. today we poll people using the phone all the time. an important magazine that no longer exists. In 1936. by 1992.from phones to the Internet.4 million responded -. won the election in a landslide.W. would win the election. the Literary Digest.) The hugeness of the sample. the fact that of 10 million people. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have their own . the sampling error at 95% probability is plus or minus about three percentage points. the researchers believed. And the question is: Have we progressed to the point at which using the Internet as a source of statistical information valid or not? And this is what brings me to Facebook. Before 1936.and they are more interesting for us here -.obtain a result of higher overall accuracy than that of Gallup -. would guarantee them a supreme accuracy. my students told the people they polled that their grade in the class depended on their answering the poll.prominently reported on the front-page of the New York Times and other newspapers. Ross Perot.it had a built-in bias to the right -. And we did it! We were able to call the results of the election to within half a percentage point for one of the three candidates who ran that year. respectively. The Literary Digest soon closed its offices in disgrace. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Digest used its readership as one source of sampled voters. So why am I telling you this story? In 1936. and within 1% and 1.our sample. as we know. in which good probability sampling is carried out. The point is that. Kansas Governor Alfred Landon. and wealthy people. and its readers tended to vote Republican. less than a quarter responded.*) We have now moved to the next level of technology -. but that is another issue. thus introducing a bias. for a sample of size 1. 2. the statistical base for the sampling. tend to vote Republican.5%. and the other was telephone numbers! Now.4 million could not make that natural bias go away. Unfortunately.and so even a fantastically large sample size of 2. was highly flawed -. may well contain as little as 1. the sampling error at 95% probability is roughly plus or minus one divided by the square root of n. and the Democratic candidate. telephones had become a viable way of conducting political polls. (The statistical rule is that in a random sample of size n. But two more sources of bias existed -. having lost both face and readership. A well-designed survey. so our non-response was close to zero!).000 voters and still give excellent information. But it hasn't always been that way.

and many non-users seem to have an obsession with "privacy. but I don't know whether this is a fact.250 likes And a day later: 28. as president for almost four years now. and more than 40. fast and easy rough source of some approximate kind of information about where the popular vote might be heading. after the GOP convention nominated him: 5.) Mashable: Google. then using Facebook as an indicator of who is likely to win the November election.000 "likes" the following day.Facebook pages. either richer or poorer than nonusers. for Obama and for Romney." and I am being very tentative here. Another question is whether Facebook users are quick enough to "unlike" a candidate once they change their minds about him. I italicize "might.065 likes And a day later: 5. after the GOP convention nominated Mitt Romney: 28. I think that this might be an interesting pair of statistics to follow as they change through time precisely because I want to know whether or not there is a bias in using Facebook as an indication of who might win the election. is there an inherent bias here? The income element is probably not there: Facebook users are not. and the other is sensitivity to privacy issues.meaning. Is using Facebook like using phone numbers in 1936? -.105 likes on August 28. It appears that Facebook users may tend toward younger segments of the population. Then.something like a continuous kind of opinion poll. I tracked the "likes" for Obama and Romney over three days. several times before its fatal debacle. on which Facebook users can click the "like" button.014. Obama has had more of a chance to collect "like" clicks). Facebook and Twitter’s friendly rivalry at GOP2012 http://mashable. it may be an excellent." If age and sensitivity to privacy move voters either to the left or to the right. because of the cautionary tale of the Literary Digest.the Literary Digest did get it right.524 likes on August 28.332. Otherwise.440. It appears to me that following the two "like" counts. How you can help: You could go to Facebook from time to time and in the "Comments" below paste what you see as the number of "likes" for each candidate. 2012 A day later. after the election results are out. This may be an important hidden factor here.023.000 "likes" a day over two days. from these data it appears that Obama is more liked than Romney by a ratio of five to one (although. Then.918 likes Mitt Romney: 5. as measured at a given moment in time. by any indication.com/2012/08/31/google-facebook-twitter-republican-convention/ . is flawed. and here is what I found: Barack Obama: 28. 2012 A day later. we see some interesting trends here: Obama gained roughly 10. But with Facebook there may be two potential sources of bias: one is age. might be an interesting way of tracking something that may act as a proxy toward the popular vote on November 6 as we move through time -.806 likes First. by chance. But Romney gained more than 100.004. we will see whether this polling method worked or not (although one result will not necessarily tell us whether the method is biased or not -.482.000 "likes" the day he was formally nominated by the GOP at the convention in Tampa.

receiving visits from such prominent politicians as Newt Gingrich and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. “We’re all pulling in the same direction.” Joel Kaplan. manager of public policy communications at Facebook.” she added. mingled with one another and talked shop. 2012 . said “I think it’s the same synergy you see in our shared workplace *with Twitter+. The two shared a co-working space — perhaps in an effort to join forces against rival Google — that became a can’tmiss destination for reporters and socially-savvy politicians.bradenton. meanwhile. Despite the technology companies’ obvious rivalry for attention and business. #gop2012. It’s a friendly relationship. VP at Facebook. with its fully decked-out media lounge. which were all the rage among media outlets covering the event and the convention organizers. Is There Room for the Campaign Button http://www. we think that change should happen on Facebook. told Mashable. was a part of the official campaign logo and the company kept convention-goers up to date with interesting stats.Alex Fitzpatrick August 31. a role they’re also serving for the Democratic Convention. in reference to Facebook and Twitter.com/2012/08/31/4179671/in-the-digital-age-whither-the. overall displaying a “we’re all in this together” attitude towards sparking social innovation in politics. was inarguably the most prominent of the technology companies at the Republican National Convention — a list that also included Facebook and Twitter. 2012 Google. offered a similar sentiment — but he hinted a bit more at the competition lying beneath the surface. Twitter and Facebook employees. Meanwhile. That makes sense – Google and YouTube were the official social network and live stream provider of the convention.” Associated Press: In the Digital Age. Andrew Noyes.” Joel Kaplan. The two companies made their presence known in other ways.” said Samantha Smith. backstage “Conversation Room” and end-of-the-week epic party. too: a Twitter hashtag.html Peter Prengaman August 31. Obviously. including Facebook and CNN’s analytics platform and the Twitter Political Index. spokesperson for Google. Twitter and Facebook. their representatives sat together on many panels about social media’s impact on politics and were warm towards one another. “Politicians now have many ways to get their message out there. “We’re excited about 2012 as the first truly social election. When asked if the competition between the social networks at the convention was intense. meanwhile. Facebook and Twitter used their space to show off their latest political innovations. The company streamed content to hundreds of thousands of viewers and also used the event as a coming of age celebration for Google Hangouts. However. helping people access that information. “We all have the same goal. vice president of public policy at Facebook. Facebook sponsored a party to celebrate innovation and another event for developers to demonstrate several cutting edge political apps built using Open Graph. We’re excited about the changes social media is making to politics. they still made quite the impact. played second fiddle.

TAMPA -. vendors say they don't have to sell many to turn a profit because production costs are low. he said. Today. the more intense the interest in buttons. Increasing urbanization and longer commutes have also likely had a role in diminishing the usefulness of buttons. emails to potential voters and on social networking sites. the campaign button has lost its luster as a central way to promote candidates and their causes." said Jane Morton. the hottest governor from the coldest state. 60. while many voters express their opinions via tweets.Eugene Ola was on a street corner hawking some political buttons with phrases like "Believe in America" and featuring photos of a smiling GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate. or worn similar to a necklace. The hotter the campaign. And most vendors supplement by selling a wide range of other items. attendees roaming the convention halls are more likely to have an iPhone strapped to their belt or a Bluetooth hanging from one ear than a button with Romney's picture fastened to their lapel. Buttons extolling the Republican ticket and tearing into Democrats haven't disappeared entirely. barely looking at the piece of cardboard he carted around with 50 buttons fastened to it. Paul Ryan."buttons" decorating candidate websites. 46. Even if fewer people wear them and their effectiveness is muted. D. To communicate their messages. like hats. football games and medical conferences. Morton. for example. These days." and depict a foot kicking a cartoon image of Obama. by virtue of Barack Obama -. But most passersby simply smiled and kept on walking. "We have had pictures of our buttons taken a thousand times. said Evan Cornog.. a presidential historian and dean of the school of communication at Hofstra University. and travels the country selling paraphernalia at political gatherings. The days when many delegates were seen littered with partisan messages from seemingly head to toe appear to be long past. Facebook posts and blogs. but they are far from ubiquitous.being on the ballot made them more collectible. like: "Sarah Palin. In this era of high-tech and non-stop social networking. who lives in Washington. the most modern form is the digital variety -. who was laid off in May from a product development firm.C. "Who is going to see your button on the Long Island Expressway?" he said. campaigns have fully moved to online media. says her buttons cost $0. emails and mobile phone alerts." said Ola. Politicians and their parties instead push their messages with a relentless barrage of television ads. Those eventually gave way to metal buttons with fastening pins." Campaign buttons have been part of American politics since the days of President George Washington. . "I guess people are just into digital media these days.30 to make and she sells them for $3. who traveled with her 19-year-old son from Kansas City to sell buttons that say "Show 44 the door. Some of the first buttons were sewn on clothes." juxtaposing the photogenic looks of the Republican vice presidential nominee and her state of Alaska. "Maybe they are just going out of fashion.the nation's first black president -. And there were plenty of opportunities for some catchy phrases that worked well. The historic nature of the 2008 campaign. handkerchiefs and T-shirts.

the campaign rolled out "Victory Wallets. announced that the campaign will soon roll out an event app that will handle event ticketing and provide a "social" component by pulling in Twitter and Facebook posts during a several-hour period around events. "I have buttons from every Republican ticket since World War II." the campaign announced Aug. The campaign announced this feature just a few days after Obama's digital group released more or less the same functionality for their supporters." an analog to the one-click donations feature Barack Obama's campaign and the software firm Blue State Digital released earlier this year.Many conventiongoers buying buttons appear to be collecting them as souvenirs.com/news/22796/republican-national-convention-romneys-digital-director-dishesnew-app Nick Judd August 30." Tech President: At Republican National Convention. . TechPresident recently noticed online ads appearing for Romney and Obama on the front page of the Tampa Bay Times website. and then promptly put it in his pocket. I'll update the post if they do. In an arrangement pursued by people in both parties and approved by the Federal Election Commission earlier this summer. Romney’s Digital Director Hints at New App http://techpresident. 25. The Obama campaign announced last week that it had its own version of that functionality up and running. "In just one step." he said. campaigns can collect small donations when users send a given text message to a specific shortcode. in an email listed as coming from Moffatt. The upcoming app is not the only thing Team Romney has been up to. Prior to this. before entering the convention hall. email. his digital team has been busy. Romney's digital director. Victory Wallet is the latest example of the Romney campaign going technologically tit-for-tat with Team Obama. 69. not with the campaign itself — Romney's team can ask donors to re-authorize subsequent donations. Zac Moffatt. a Los Angelesbased columnist who on Wednesday night bought a button. On a public Google Hangout Thursday afternoon. It's also been reported that the Romney campaign is gearing up to roll out donations by text. with a provider that already handles credit card information. you can make donations via the Internet. 2012 In the run-up to Mitt Romney's speech Thursday night announcing his acceptance of the Republican nomination for the presidency. Over the weekend. By storing credit card information where the campaign can access it again — in the Democrats' case." said Andrew Malcolm. or mobile phone. adding wryly that if he ever wanted to put them on a wall it would require "some serious negotiations with my wife. The donation is charged to the donor's cellphone bill. The campaign did not immediately return an emailed request for comment. but an intermediary essentially fronts the money to the campaign until the bills are paid. Are they on display at home? "I just have them in a bag. Team Romney rolled out a custom Square application to collect donations at events.

500 are for community organizations o 12. new media director for Sen." Moffatt shared the hangout stage with National Republican Congressional Committee digital director Gerrit Lansing. Fla. All Facebook: Facebook Highlights GOP-Flavored Apps Over Drinks at Republican Convention http://allfacebook. today during the social network’s cocktail reception they’re calling “Apps and Drinks. recognizing that users are more likely to be swayed by the opinions of their friends. The politicos are taking advantage of Facebook’s unique sharing and commenting capabilities. 2012 The six hottest political apps for Facebook were the talk of Tampa.com/facebook-highlights-gop-flavored-apps-over-drinks-at-republicanconvention_b98629 Jennifer Moire August 30.620 are Pages for political parties o 31.140 are Pages for political organizations o 43. "We have to do what's necessary to be successful in November..000 are politician Pages o 2.S. when the Democrats have their turn in the spotlight. there are now more people in the U. Gov. people on Facebook are 57 percent more likely to persuade a friend or co-worker to vote. Votizen allows users to their see how their friends are registered to vote.But Moffatt says that his staff. 1.C. 2. According to Pew.000 political Facebook Pages in the US. is not trying to compete with their opposite numbers.890 are Pages for government organizations o 7.” Facebook held its first Apps and Drinks event at the Republican National Convention today with a similar event planned next week in Charlotte." Moffatt said Thursday. Engage co-founder Patrick Ruffini. on Facebook than voted in the 2008 election.600 are Pages for government officials o 1. "We don't have to run against Barack Obama's digital team. and campaign with them to elect candidates with shared values. Facebook also released some statistics about this election season:    This year.000 candidates can be found in the system and the average user is connected to 241 voters. 5.500 are Pages for community government Here’s a look at the apps Facebook is highlighting today:  Votizen: Using Facebook login. Of those: o 11. former Republican National Committee digital director Cyrus Krohn. Mitt Romney’s campaign drew attention — some unwanted — with its VP app that was designed to deliver information in the lead up to the selection of Rep.5 million voters have been reached with Votizen. and Lori Weberg. Paul Ryan. N.5 times more likely to attend an event or rally and 43 percent more likely to vote themselves. Apps are the craze this election cycle. There are 110. . which expanded after the campaign shifted from the primary to the general election. Roy Blunt.

online and offline. People can also easily connect and share with their friends as well as Republicans across the country. Conventioneers can use their Facebook login to tag themselves and their friends in panoramic photos taken nightly inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum and posted the next day at GOPConvention2012. With the app. were made by the Republican National Committee. Republican National Committee’s Social Victory Center: The RNC launched this Open Graph-powered app to make it easy for people to find ways to volunteer. American stories. Campaigns can connect via Facebook and tap into a range of social tools. While not an app. and share activity back to Facebook. Facebook points to the apps as examples of what it would like to see from developers going forward. events and candidates.com/entry/facebook-promotes-political-apps Carl Franzen August 30. there’s an impressive use of technology at these conventions between Facebook and GigaPan. such as Facebook Events. this app enables people to share pictures or videos of themselves that express their individual. by joining groups matching their interests.     WeforPresident: WeforPresident connects users with information about key political issues. register to vote and find organizations that match their political interests. nearly 50 percent of users became active around the time of the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall. Since launching in May. as well as what it hopes users will turn to as political campaigning increasingly occurs online. None of the apps highlighted are from official Democrat organizations. the app has generated nearly one million impressions.com. Interestingly. 2012 Facebook on Thursday released a list of third party political apps (not that kind of "third party" -. Facebook-CNN “I Voted” app: The Facebook-CNN “I Voted” app makes it easy for people on Facebook to make their voices heard. A touchscreen monitor inside the Forum enables attendees to view themselves in the photos. Readers: Do you plan on using any Facebook apps between now and Election Day in November? Talking Points Memo: Facebook Promotes Political Apps http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo. the RNC Social Victory Center and the Convention Without Walls. people can share their commitment to vote and to endorse the candidates and issues that matter most to them. Two of the apps Facebook spotlights. People who log in with Facebook can engage in debates. encourage people to vote and keep up to date on election issues. Convention Without Walls: Created by the RNC. Here's the full list. via Facebook:       Votizen WeforPresident RNC Social Victory Center NationBuilder Facebook-CNN “I Voted” app Convention Without Walls . NationBuilder: NationBuilder enables candidates to organize communities.these are apps made by software developers outside the company) that it says are "expanding the sphere of political engagement" on the world's largest social network.

which is exactly what one would expect on the subject of politics. Unlike the harsh light and drab surroundings of most working areas. as evidenced by the constant finger swiping. Want to find someone for an interview? Don’t bother phoning – nobody picks up anymore. and then next week at the DNC. it’s always the same. In the eight I’ve attended so far. whether you’re a delegate or a journalist. and they are very much in use. bringing delegates and activists together with people the world over joining via video chats on Google+. “We’re really here to create conversations. the coffee cold and your feet swollen.” One of the ways – frankly. Four years later. 2012 A colleague in Washington asked me today: “So.com/digital-frontiers/2012/08/30/live-from-tampa-sort-of/ Doug Bernard August 30. the Google lounge is colorful and cool.”There’s a lot of things we think are important to the political discourse. tweet at them. the set is plopped down in the middle of the Google lounge.voanews. . but swank is not among them. He’s correct – everybody here has at least one mobile device. Take the Google lounge here in Tampa.) Covering conventions may be many things. While Facebook. so we’re here in a non-partisan format to just have that conversation here at the RNC. and just about everywhere else in Tampa. Voice of America: Live from Tampa! Sort Of… http://blogs.) Or that there aren’t exceptions here and there. Now. too.Facebook also noted it had invited the creators of the apps to an "Apps and Drinks" event this week in Tampa. “A lot of people said 2008 was going to be the social convention. has a new focus on social media and sharing.” says Google spokesman Daniel Sieberg. bloggers and other malcontents grinding away on the barren concrete floors of the neighboring Tampa Convention Center. I think we’re blowing that out of the water. brimming with hip displays and tired reporters catching up on the news or with each other. they felt more like a side bar for many attendees. Wifi isn’t just a nicety here – it’s a necessity. “Everybody here.” says Facebook’s Andrew Noyes without much hyperbole. Send a text. seems to be anything on the mobile phone. the very cool ways – that Google is hosting that conversation is with something called the Google+ “Hangout Studio. the food is fried.” says Noyes. (For the record. Apart from the free coffee. Not that I’m complaining (much. Twitter and other social networks were up and running in 2008. While Republican delegates are whooping it up on the arena floor of the Tampa Times Forum – or spending off hours at swanky restaurants – there are thousands of journalists. and the campaigns didn’t go much further than offering up a website or sending out news releases on Twitter. It’s a loose and varied conversation. the biggest draw in the Google lounge.* Not that many in the lounge seem to be paying attention. it will be exactly the same at the Democratic convention next week in Charlotte.” An instant TV studio in a plastic cube. Florida. The hours are grueling. it’s a different world. are you getting to see much of Tampa while you’re at the convention?” I’m quite sure they had no idea just how funny that was. chat them on any number of platforms.

Lucky thing there’s always the Google coffee. 2012 Facebook is offering users attending the Republican National Convention this week a chance to show off their spot in history. it’s become easier than ever to forget that there’s a whole world of news still happening. More panorama shots from additional nights of the convention are expected. The social networking site brought four "Photo Spots" to Tampa. The shared photo -. although Facebook data provided to CNN shows that when President Obama was in Iowa on Wednesday. find themselves or friends in the audience. This week.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/246683-facebook-lets-users-tag-themselves-inconvention-panorama Alicia Cohn August 30. an app that allows users to find themselves in a 360 degree panorama shot of the audience at the convention. one next guy. whether digi-skeptics such as myself like it or not. The Republican National Convention featured the tool on their official blog on Wednesday. Logging into Facebook through the application allows users to zoom in with almost shocking detail.” I prefer to think of it as tunnel vision. Attendees can also access photos at a touch-screen monitor at the Facebook workspace in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. it’s all a little overwhelming. the rest of the world tends to evaporate into a blur of speeches. Facebook promoted Gigapan. when you’re here. everyone’s trying to keep a millisecond ahead of the next guy at the convention. security cordons and balloons.) Which leads to a paradox: with all that sharing and immediate access to information. . but rather to learn how to manage it.which includes an audience of thousands at Ann Romney's speech on Tuesday night -will show up on their timeline. former colleague and still friend Don Gonyea with NPR has adorned his Facebook page with much more convention stuff than I have. I’m finding my mobile device only amplifies that. (For example. The Hill: Facebook Lets Users Tag Themselves in Convention Panorama http://thehill. Paul Ryan (Wis. Old hands call it the “Convention Hole. but woe be unto you if you happen to miss the one big thing just because you were unconnected for five minutes. Not like this will change anything. and tag themselves. The task now seems to be not whether to embrace social media. Facebook wants convention attendees to share every moment in real-time with their friends. And I can’t be the only one.But all this leaves one to wonder: just how much sharing is too much? Can there possibly that much interesting happening here? The answer is probably not. Facebook chatter in that particular swing state was a lot more "blue" than the rest of the country has been this week. Whoever you are. Everything else being equal. American conventions and politics are increasingly an online sport. With noses firmly planted in glowing screens. where convention visitors can quickly upload photos to their timelines without waiting for access to a computer. turning a sea of global information into a trickle of convention trivia. Facebook is also monitoring a spike in conversation about the Republican presidential ticket's Mitt Romney and Rep.) on the social networking site this week. Speaking only for myself.

Several noted that their members barely understood how much political power they held or why it mattered until the debate over SOPA and PIPA early this year.POLITICO: Tech Branding Is All Over Tampa GOP Fete http://www.politico. — Walk through the Republican National Convention and it might start to feel as much like a technology trade show as political nominating party. Being present allows politicians to bask in the reflected glow of tech’s record on job creation and innovation. Tumblr and others. director of public policy at Yelp. “We’ve got a great story to tell. the perk of being the event's "official wireless carrier. Fla.com/news/stories/0812/80461." The oversized show of force is a big change for many tech companies — from Apple to Yelp — that didn't used to pay much heed to politics or Washington D. dealing with the administration. After a coordinated effort to protest legislation many viewed as stifling to innovation that included blackouts by Wikipedia. thanks to the branding and lobbying efforts of dozens of tech companies like Google. Facebook holds an invite-only "Apps & Drinks" event for various politics-related app designers to show off their wares to politicians and journalists.html?hp=r15 Steve Friess 08/30/2012 TAMPA. Twitter and AT&T.C. the industry came to play — and. companies as predictable as Microsoft and Apple or as surprising as Tumblr and Uber are bending the ears of officeholders and hopefuls in hopes they’ll make such matters as tax policy and cybersecurity legislation go their ways. “For us it’s not about sponsoring a ton of events. Darrell Issa and Kevin McCarthy. Twitter's giving out Tshirts. TechNet and others to fete Reps. Facebook. and realizing they need a voice. the bills were spiked and the tech world realized it could impact public policy in a big way.” It’s a coming-of-age landmark for many in this industry. “You have companies spending more time dealing with regulation. From sponsoring elaborate parties with free-flowing food and wine to hawking their wares on the political elite. Broadband For America sponsors a panel on the nation’s digital infrastructure. president and CEO of TechNet. Facebook invites attendees to snap pictures at photo booths that post the image direct to a user's wall. Google wants attendees to sip free lattes in a huge. BSA. dealing with Congress. and we want to be able to educate policymakers and their staff about how people using Yelp in their district. at Tuesday’s Innovation Nation party put on to by CEA. colorfully designed rec room. Behind the scenes and away from the cameras. of course. and Google wraps up its dominant RNC excursion by linking with the Young Guns Network for one last blowout bash. something they're pleased to take credit for however unwarranted. And those are just the events made public. ESA.” said Luther Lowe.” said Rey Ramsey. On Thursday alone. as sponsorships can cost up to millions of dollars in goods and services. Now they spend big to fete lawmakers and send representatives to work the rooms as other industries long have. . “Our power is directly commensurate with the awareness that the tech industry is so vital to the United States economy. in some cases. pay. it’s really about being present in the room.” It helps. And AT&T's logo is on RNC signage throughout downtown Tampa. that tech is a rare bright spot in an otherwise shaky economy. making sure members have our app installed on their iPhones and iPads.

before headlining a Wednesday lunch panel sponsored by Google and Bloomberg.” Heimans said. whereas Yelp is focused on ways to bolster free-speech protections for the commenters who fuel the site’s ratings and advice. said he has complained to Republican officials in Tampa that “the debate is so boringly focused on the role of government versus the role of the private sector in the most generic possible way. Now. with the same politicians and staffers. “Before.S. Every tech executive and lobbyist interviewed by POLITICO in Tampa mentioned how the struggle to find qualified labor is inhibiting their ability to grow and. the arrival en masse in Tampa and Charlotte. in turn. most tried to strike a balance so as to keep avenues of communication open on both sides of the aisle. That prediction proved true. GOP leaders spoke from the convention podium about the importance of changing the tax structure to unleash innovation. different companies have different priorities. public partisanship. lower taxes or more visas for high-skilled workers. they bemoaned the troubled public education system and urged better intellectual property protections. “The tech industry is stronger and better organized than ever. founder of the tech startup consultancy Purpose. they said doing so away from the shadow of the Capitol dome has important merits.C. CEO and co-owner of the campaign software maker NationBuilder. The Business Software Alliance. Ramsey. people would be setting up businesses with real employees in the Cayman Islands.” Like any big. diverse industry. There is one uniting issue. Instead. has IP protection atop its list. when you’d go to the tech community you’d talk to tech people. While Silicon Valley is a hotbed of social liberalism and Democrats.” “The Republican party focus on taxes as being the be-all and end-all of what is required for innovation is just ludicrous.” said McCarthy. for instance. If it was just about low taxes.” insisted Joe Green.” Heimans’s remarks were a rare example of direct. but few industry figures at panels and events dwelled on that. something that has not gone unnoticed in the halls of power.” But he balanced that by noting that President Barack Obama “has been very accessible to the tech sector” and also has made several pilgrimages to innovative companies across the country. I’m seeing young people who are in politics working in the tech community also. said that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney “gets it” on tech because he’s visited the Valley frequently and has a background in starting businesses so “he’ll do pretty well. You’re beginning to see a marriage of what tech can do to open up politics as well as the tech community understanding how these policies affect them. “It’s about so much more than low taxes. While many of the same lobbyists and execs visit regularly in Washington D. . “If you ask any CEO here which would they rather have. every one would take the visas any day of the week. help revive the stagnated economy. for instance. however — loosening up regulations to allow highly skilled foreigners to work in the U. the House Majority Whip and Southern California representative. CEO Jeremy Heimans.Thus.

a pause to assess the state. who had challenged the law.” said Liba Rubenstein.com/2012/08/30/cnns-gut-check-for-august-30-2012-2/ Mark Peterson and Michelle Jaconi August 30.” said Matthew Reid. Tumblr. “Whenever people come from different backgrounds and different points of view. “Most of the people I work with and interact with are very inexperienced in terms of the political realm. senior vice president of the Business Software Alliance. and that’s better.cnn. Being at the RNC and DNC. acknowledged Scott Case. an ticket management site that this year is handling most Romney campaign events. after he appeared on a lunch forum hosted by Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington that also included LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue and Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith.” said Engine’s Edward Goodmann.” The industry’s other purpose in Tampa and Charlotte — hawking its wares — is evident everywhere around Tampa. but I think it’s more surprising how much we have in common.” Nonetheless. so this is a learning experience for them and I think it’s a learning experience for the policymakers as well because they don’t know as much as they think they know.” CNN: CNN’s Gut Check for August 30. Well-known social media outlets. 2012 CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 30. including the rollout of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in Norfolk. Then. “It’s great for relationship-building and for seeding some issues that will be covered in greater detail.” Case said. “They’ve never dealt with Washington. “is an experiment for us. a former Senate intern and longtime policy analyst.blogs. That takes some getting used to.n. . “Most people we work with on all levels of government are much more open to your ideas and accomplishing something than they are concerned about whether you’re wearing red. untucked striped shirt. CEO of Startup America.“You’re dealing with people in a more relaxed setting. Many tech-related executives are under 30 and in Tampa showed up for speeches. there is some culture clash.” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a written statement. The decision is a major victory for the Obama administration and its Democratic allies. progress or condition of the political news cycle BREAKING: TEXAS VOTER ID LAW STRUCK DOWN… A federal appeals court in Washington has struck down the Texas law that required photo identification for voters at the polls. – Terry Frieden . 2012 | 4 p. is on hand to teach public officials how to use the blogging site better. Va. “The court’s decision today and the decision earlier this week on the Texas redistricting plans not only reaffirm – but help protect – the vital role the Voting Rights Act plays in our society to ensure that every American has the right to vote and to have that vote counted. there’s going to be a culture clash. are joined by lesser-known rising stars like Eventbrite. she said. “I see Tumblr as a particularly good platform for open government and putting constituents in touch with their representatives. jeans and gym shoes — he said.” Some have thrown their lots in with seasoned Hill vets hired by nascent trade associations and consortiums. white and blue sneakers or not. the site’s first director of outreach for causes and politics. from Twitter to LinkedIn.m. pointing to his own clothes — a tieless. meetings and parties in far less formal attire. too. 2012 http://politicalticker. Older GOP lawmakers are accustomed to dealing with business leaders their age in suits and ties.

000 balloons rain down from the ceiling … that will help shape the rest of Mitt Romney’s life. the LEDE Did you miss it? Leading CNNPolitics: For Romney.The moment when 120. he will turn to friends. TRAIL TRIVIA (Answer below) “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. tonight’s surprise speaker at the Republican National Convention. though. Tonight we will be watching a moment in history. the rising star. could make a run for president himself in 2016 if Romney loses in November.A philosophical underpinning about what he believes what the role of government should be . the speech of his life The challenge for Mitt Romney as he accepts the Republican presidential nomination is to push past the the . our attention will turn north to Charlotte where we will be doing it all over again – except with the Democrats.The most important moment in Mitt Romney’s political life . which is not widely understood. Eastwood will soon do a walk through of the Tampa Bay Times Forum in preparation for his remarks. in fact.How he thinks government should interact with people .DIRTY HARRY WILL BE IN THE BUILDING… Legendary actor Clint Eastwood is.The moment when Romney introduces his faith to the American people . A Romney adviser tells us that the former governor will make his case to the American people in a speech that can be separated into four segments: . There will be members of his church on the stage talking about how he has “helped people get through difficult times” – fully opening the door on his Mormon faith. with an opportunity to introduce himself to the nation. family and supporters to help tell his story. R-Florida. Marco Rubio.The Olympic moment when more than a dozen athletes take the stage . According to reporting by CNN’s Deirdre Walsh.Biographical . perhaps Barack Obama’s life and maybe the future direction of the country.The Hollywood moment when Clint Eastwood strolls onto the stage .And how his vision contrasts Obama In the hours leading up to Romney’s speech. Come tomorrow.The Marco Rubio moment . Rubio. Olympians will also take the stage to express their support for him as will Clint Eastwood – one of the few Republicans from Hollywood. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. This evening will also provide Sen.” Who said this at the 1964 Republican convention? MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN) What caught our eye today in politics Tonight will be about moments … .

The speech Romney delivers at the Republican National Convention’s final night in Tampa will be one of his last opportunities to sketch a portrait of who he is and what he stands for to a country whose battleground states have seen him relentlessly portrayed by the Obama campaign as a heartless corporate raider — a perception that has dented his approval ratings and made it difficult for the GOP to change the campaign narrative. you know that the consensus among journalists and independent observers is that it was .000. factually challenged. insurance coverage for birth control — that have at times engulfed the Republican nominating contest..stiff and reserved perception that's been created for him by opponents and comedians and make a heartfelt and profound appeal to the millions of Americans who will be watching his speech Thursday night. He even dishonestly attacked Barack Obama for the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville.. RYAN SPOKESMAN FOR ROMNEY CAMPAIGN. What is missing from the all-inclusive spot? Any discussion of the social issues — abortion. samesex marriage. the Labor Department said on Thursday. pointing to a labor market that was treading water. He lied about Medicare. Republicans Reverse Support For Campaign Finance Disclosure Outside of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. he worked on the commission with Democrat Alice Rivlin to put together a comprehensive health .” – Ryan campaign defends speech... sponsored by the Young Guns Network. OBAMA’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER. The prior week's figure was revised up to show 2. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits were a seasonally adjusted 374. where the Republican convention is taking place. – Paul Blumenthal Leading Politico: Mitt Romney's make-or-break night Mitt Romney is about to face the most important political moment of his life. He lied about the Recovery Act. is the Woman Up! Pavilion. Wisconsin. IN A FUNDRAISING E-MAIL TO SUPPORTERS: “If you've seen any coverage of Paul Ryan's speech in Tampa. Leading HuffPo: Awash In Secret Donations.000 more applications than previously reported. a plant that closed in December 2008 under George W. says it was ‘factually accurate’ – BRENDAN BUCK. He lied about the deficit and debt. He also failed to offer one construc