by Shai Sachs, Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 09:39:18 AM EDT
Having spent a fair amount of time on My.BarackObama.com and at Obama volunteer rallies over the last couple of weeks, I think it's safe to report that Obama's grassroots are reasonably well-organized. However, its grasstops could use a bit of help.
Perhaps this is an artifact of living in the Boston area, where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a dozen Obama supporters. But from all appearances, Obama volunteer organizers in the area are slowly getting overwhelmed with the tidal wave of demand for volunteer opportunities. Recently I spoke with an organizer who told me that he had posted a small phonebanking opportunity on My.BarackObama.com at some unholy hour, like 3 am; he had a dozen volunteers by 11 am. As far as I can tell, he and a handful of other organizers are making a heroic effort to keep up with this demand, but they just don't have sufficient support from the campaign.
Now, in some ways this is just a problem we have to grin and bear - I don't expect Obama to put many resources in Massachusetts, and I'm actually a little surprised that there's even a single Boston field office. (It's dedicated to funneling volunteer power to New Hampsire, and registering students here so that they can absentee vote back home.) But there is a lot more that the campaign can do to support its volunteer leaders, particularly through My.BarackObama.com. Follow me across the flip for more on how this site could be expanded to help volunteer organizers...
by Shai Sachs, Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:29:12 PM EDT
Recently the Obama campaign quietly released the Neighbor to Neighbor tool, an innovative approach to field work which releases volunteers from the need to go to a campaign office in order to reach potential voters and volunteers. This tool has been kicking around Democratic circles for a while - first in the Lamont campaign's postcard tool, then in MoveOn's phonbebanking system for the 2006 general election, as well as Deval Patrick's DIY canvassing effort in the run-up to his landslide victory in Massachusetts.
The basic idea is simple. If you want to volunteer for Obama, just go to my.barackobama.com, and either sign up or register for an account. Once you're logged in, you'll see a list of "Neighbor to Neighbor" campaigns on the left hand side of your screen; click one of them, and the website will take you through the necessary next steps. At the end of the day, you get a list of people who the campaign needs to contact - either prospective volunteers who you could bring on board to increase capacity, or voters who you could convince to vote for Obama. You also get a script to use when you're making calls. When you're done with the calls, you record the results of each call (Was the person home? Will he or she volunteer / vote for Obama? etc.). The campaign has a good video explaining the process, too:
I'm very pleased to see this system come on-line. It's an excellent way to empower volunteers and to radically ramp up the campaigns potential for volunteer activity. If you're not signed up at my.barackobama.com, head on over there and register now. Then schedule some time to make Neighbor to Neighbor calls in the next week.
Despite my enthusiasm for this system, I think there are a few things the campaign could do to improve upon it, if there's time:
Well Granny calls us purity trolls, PsiFighter says we should just grow up, Olberman is telling Obama how to do his job, to read this blog lately you'd think the entire progressive movement is about to crumble to dust because our latest patron saint of progress has declared a measure of independence from us, the "righteous" left, or perhaps the "self righteous" left is apropos.
From the perspective of a generational researcher it all comes off like some kind of self indulgent comedy, like so many brilliantly argued theses on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We become trapped by our own ideology, shouting into the echo chamber that is our own little corner of the blogosphere.
We wring our hands in fret, some because our once saintly anointed leader has spurned us, and others because now that we have entered meltdown mode he is surely to crumble amidst the loss of our once united support.
by Shai Sachs, Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 07:50:43 AM EST
Last weekend I posted about the idea of buzzing against McCain as a tactic to augment the McCain Googlebomb project start by Chris Bowers. The idea is to schedule regular "bursts" of anti-McCain memes throughout the social networking-o-sphere, in order to create negative "buzz" around John McCain. My diagnosis is that many people think they know McCain well, based on hazy impressions left by positive media coverage. The hops is that a steady stream of negative messages coming from friends and relatives will help clear up those hazy impressions, and encourage voters to deal with McCain as he is - a conservative politician who will be just as disastrous as George Bush was as president.
Today I'd like to flesh out the idea a bit more, and to use this entry to brainstorm the project a bit. Join me across the flip for more details, and please contribute your own thoughts in the comments.
In the never-ending quest to justify the use of social networks as a campaign and organizing tool, a new poll by online market research firm GMI has some preliminary evidence suggesting that candidate profiles are moving voters opinions (if not yet votes).
Have you checked out any of the presidential candidate's MySpace, FaceBook or other social networking page?
Are you more likely to vote for a candidate after you've looked at their MySpace page?
After visiting a candidate's page did you feel like you personally knew them better?