Obama To Announce VP Choice Via Text Message

In an op-ed in the NYTimes this week, political analyst and consultant Garrett M. Graff talks about why Barack Obama plans to announce his vice presidential choice via a text message.

What’s not clear from the article is if the text will go only to cellphone numbers in the campaign database or if it will also be broadcast via Twitter. However, the Twitter announcement makes it look like this is an “insider first” strategy … in other words, a way to secure cellphone numbers for future broadcast messages:

Announcing the VP candidate sometime between now & the Convention by txt msg & email. Text VP to 62262 or visit http://my.barackobama.com/vp

I chose the email option!

Graff notes demographics (one third of people aged 18-29 do not have landlines) and the “intimacy” of the cellphone communication as reasons this strategy is something more than a gimmick. [Cellphones are, by their nature, more personal than landlines — ie, the phone is linked to a person, not a physical location.]

Moreover, a study of the use of text messages in the 2006 election “found that text message reminders to new voters increased an individual’s likelihood of voting by 4.2 percentage points.” In that off-year cycle, turnout among 18-29 year olds increased by 3% (nearly 2 million votes), “nearly twice the increase of voters of all ages.”

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