by Alex Urevick, Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 11:07:56 AM EDT
Crossposted atFuture Majority
The Washington Post took a look again this week at "microtargeting" of voters, which they define as:
the new science (some say dark art) by which candidates use the latest data-mining technology to vacuum every last scrap of information about voters, then churn out custom-tailored messages designed to herd their supporters to the pollsThis is, in my eyes, the future of politics. Targeting masses of people within huge demographics is such a blunt tool that it is bound to completely miss large percentages of the targeted audience.
As we have noted on Future Majoritynumerous times, young people are a great place for campaigns to look for support, but with the emergence of microtargeting as a campaign communication tactic they should be even more enticing. Take a look at any of the social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook, and you quickly see that young people are telling the entire world about their tastes, desires, dreams, etc. And, there are cheap and easy to use tools that can help campaigns to do the targeting for them. For myspace there is the FriendBlaster Pro and Badder Adder, both of which help you to add up to 500 friends a day (any more than this gets you in trouble with the MySpace police) according to a large number of easy to configure variables. They can also help to manage labor intensive tasks such as adding comments to large numbers of pages and keeping up to date on bulletins. (I haven't been able to locate a friend adding program for Facebook. If you know of one please leave the URL in the comments)
I almost forgot to mention this article, which looks at MySpace's new voter registration push - MySpace launches voter-registration plan:
The youth-heavy online hangout MySpace.com is launching a voter-registration drive to engage its members in civics. In partnership with the nonpartisan group Declare Yourself, MySpace is running ads on its highly trafficked Web site and giving members tools such as a "I Registered To Vote On MySpace" badge to place on their personal profile pages.I hope that every candidate has this on their MySpace account! It boggles my mind when I find campaigns, including the DNC's field campaign, that don't register people to vote.
"Young people in this country ... are really engaged in what's happening in their community and want to make a difference," said Jeff Berman, MySpace's senior vice president for public affairs. "The key is to make it easy for them to get engaged. By putting these tools on MySpace and putting it in front of their eyes, you make it far more likely they will use them."