Monday, August 11, 2008

Announcing Obama's VP Choice Through Email is Unnecessary Gimmick

You've no doubt heard about the Obama campaign's announcement that everyone in Obama's online community will be "first" to know about his choice for VP running mate, which will be communicated via email and texting to everyone on Obama's online mailing list, before being sent out to the usual mass media channels.

It's no big deal, but I have several problems with this.

1. How many seconds does anyone think will elapse between the emails going out, and mainstream and indeed all other media finding out about it? The offer to the online community of being "first," in other words, in meaningless.

2. Even more important, since the choice of VP running mate is indeed the most important decision that a Presidential candidate can make, it should not be packaged in a gimmick. All Americans, not just online supporters, are awaiting this choice, and deserve to be told at the same time.

3. Obama's online community has been burgeoning naturally - through word of mouth, social media such as Facebook, viral marketing. But the essence of viral marketing is that it appears to be happening spontaneously, not through some online Wizard of Oz (= David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager) pulling the strings behind a curtain that everyone can see.

My advice, as an Obama supporter, to the Obama campaign: when the VP decision is made, it should be announced to and through all media, new and old, Digg and The New York Times, the DailyKos and NBC television, and everything in between, all at the same time.
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