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Month: August, 2012

3 Ideas to Help Turn Your ‘Local Government’ into ‘Social Government’

One of my favorite television characters of all time is Ron Swanson from NBC’s Parks & Rec. A lot of people love Ron Swanson and for different reasons.

To most Ron Swanson is loved for being a ‘man’s man’ – he’s an expert whittler, a steak enthusiast, the creator of the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.

For those of us who have worked in public service Ron Swanson has been our boss, or at the very least a reasonable likeness. Ron Swanson is a middle-aged, middle manager in the local government of Pawnee, Indiana – he is averse to rocking the boat, doing any work, and has a general distaste for the public and local government.

Ron Swanson would not approve of the ideas in this blog. You should read it anyway!

A Participatory Medium for Participatory Government

Social media is a participatory medium. People tend to share what’s happening to them in real time; things that made them laugh, or maybe something that upset them.  People discuss everything on social media including their local government, and they expect that they will be heard.

How are local governments supposed to do that? Here are some foundational pieces you can start with.

Social Media Monitoring

People are talking about your local government and its services but how do you find these conversations? The first thing you need to do is select a ‘social media monitoring’ platform that will search the social web for targeted keywords. This will make sense of the chaos as the platform will only return conversations on social media that match your desired search criteria.

Whether you’re looking for citizen feedback on a proposed ordinance or you’re looking for citizens talking about municipal services, a social media monitoring platform will make that task more efficient and manageable.

Community Management

Someone will need to be responsible for monitoring social media, and depending on the size of your city you may want a team of people watching for these conversations. This group of people is often referred to in the social media industry as a “community team.”

Their function is to be the human(s) behind the brand. They seek to provide customer service, answer questions, and sometimes act as a gateway for information that needs to be answered by someone else in the organization.

A ‘community team’ makes your social media strategy flexibility to be both proactive and responsive!

Share, Share, Share

Governments produce a lot of reports on local issues. They are typically available for free in print format or online, but not always easy to obtain or find. Chances are your government department has boxes of reports in storage. If you ran a report on how often your reports are accessed online would you see that few people click on those reports?

Share them on social! Use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ to share links to your reports and increase visibility. It’s much easier for someone to follow your department and click on a link than it is to go hunting on your website, or make time to go down to City Hall.

Turning ‘Local Government’ into ‘Social Government’

Jumping into social is a big deal. It requires a lot of forethought and a strategy to implement. The result may well lead to increased citizen engagement, so give it go!
This blog was originally authored by me and published here.

Election 2012: it’s still the economy, stupid

Guest blog by Hassan Arif

The current economic situation has made the economy a dominant concern in political discourse in western countries. The United States is no exception, with the economy being a dominant theme of the 2012 presidential election, and a key concern on the minds of voters.

Reality bites:

While the 2008 election was dominated by Obamamania, the 2012 Democratic presidential campaign feels more conventional, focused on the issues of jobs and economic management, with sharp attacks on Mitt Romney and the Republican ticket. The realities of governing have dampened Obamamania. These are realities made especially harsh by the American legislative system where there are divided branches of government and decentralized party discipline.

Nonetheless, one can still say there is that sense of hope and idealism, even if elevated expectations from 2008 have been tempered and brought down to earth, in terms of a president who has prioritized jobs, and prioritized helping Americans through a difficult recession.

The Obama administration oversaw the saving of the automobile industry – preserving jobs in a major sector of the American economy – passed a stimulus bill that has saved and created jobs, and passed a health care bill that extends and improves coverage for Americans.

Economic times are difficult, but the Obama administration played an important role in alleviating the worse of it, and in putting the country on the path to recovery, even if this recovery is a long and slow one, and even if initiatives such as President Obama’s jobs bill have been obstructed in Congress.

GOP still veering hard right.

Meanwhile, Republicans are driven by an increasingly harsh neo-conservative ideology pushed forward by the Tea Party movement. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has campaigned to repeal “Obamacare” – even though he implemented a similar program as Massachusetts governor – with lower and middle income Republican voters seemingly oblivious to the fact that this would represent a blow to them.

Mitt Romney at the time of President Obama’s “bailout” of the automobile industry penned a column entitled Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. This was no doubt meant to be a nod to laissez-faire neo-conservative ideology where there is an aversion to government intervention in the economy, even if it is to save jobs and save a major American industry.

Furthermore, the Congressional budget promoted by Mr. Romney’s vice presidential pick Paul Ryan entails a slashing of programs for the poor and the middle-class all the while giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Where youth and the middle-class are under siege and the poor increasingly left behind, policies promoted by Mr. Romney and Rep. Ryan would make lives worse for these people.

Economic policy: Pragmatism vs Ideology

The fundamental choice is not merely left or right, but of pragmatic and common sense policies by the Democrats based on the facts and realities of the American economy, versus a Republican economic policy bounded by ideological blinders. The Republicans are a party where scientific realities like climate change are denied, where the benefits of moving to the green economy are ignored, and where the benefits of government intervention are neglected.

There needs to be recognition of the important roles of the different components of the economy – the important role played by the federal government and federal economic intervention, as well as the importance of state and municipal initiatives along with the role of entrepreneurial innovation. Where conservative Republicans want to deny the benefit of virtually any (non-military) government intervention Democrats under President Obama recognize the importance of all of these components.

In a state like Vermont, the promotion and protection of local small businesses ensures that more money stays in the state, that there are greater avenues of upward mobility as more people can aspire to own their own businesses. There is an emphasis on sustainable urban planning, for example, in the city of Burlington – exemplified by the downtown Church Street which is open only to pedestrian activities – after a couple of successful experiments closing off the street to traffic in the early 1970s – and is located adjacent to a mall which emphasizes pedestrian level activity rather than being solely car-oriented, and which blends into the downtown streetscape.

This has contributed to a vibrant downtown – with street performers and local businesses that promote local culture – and a downtown that is busy and vibrant to the point of making Burlington seem like a much bigger city than its 200,000 metropolitan population. This is a draw for tourists, young professionals and innovative entrepreneurs.

Vermont is one of the most strongly Democratic voting states in the United States, and Burlington is a hotbed of progressive politics – Vermont’s socialist senator Bernie Sanders earlier in his political career was mayor of Burlington. Local initiatives and entrepreneurship, however, are hardly stifled.

Elections matter.

Contrary to Republican claims, progressive Democratic policies do not entail a takeover by the federal government, and they do not stifle state and local governments or entrepreneurship, but rather allow them to flourish. Conservatives cannot claim the mantle of sound economic and fiscal management as they have abdicated this in favour of a blinding neo-conservative ideology. Hopefully, pragmatic policies rather than ideology will win the day.

Are social media conversations driving voters to the Coalition Avenir Quebec?

For the last three weeks I have been keeping tabs on Quebec’s provincial election while monitoring conversation trends on social media. What party is getting the most mentions? What leader is sparking the most conversations? How are daily events impacting those conversations? What topics are people talking most about?

When compared to polling the social data raises some interesting questions; chief among them: to what extent is social chatter fueling the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s rise in the polls?

The campaign so far.

Quebec premier Jean Charest dropped the writ on July 26th after months of sometimes violent student protests over proposed tuition increases. The protests have forced the resignation of two education ministers, Line Beauchamp in May and her replacement, Michelle Courchesne, who announced in mid-July that she would not run in the next provincial election. Charest’s Bill 78, a law aimed at putting limitations on when and how students could protest the government, was denounced as Draconian by student protestors, the province’s opposition parties, labor unions, and Canadians outside Quebec.

Polls released just days before Charest called the election showed that his Liberal Party would find themselves in a tight race with the Parti Quebecois (PQ) but would still win a small majority government. Seat projections said the Liberals would win 60 seats and the PQ 55. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), in it’s first general elections since amalgamating with the former Action democratique du Quebec (ADQ) in January of this year, was expected to win eight seats.

Four days after the campaign launched polls showed that the PQ had overtaken the Liberals, moving into minority government territory. As of August 15th the PQ’s lead had moved into majority government territory. Naturally, the PQ’s stance on Quebec sovereignty emerged as a major theme in the race, however it has not proven to be detrimental their electoral prospects.

The real gains have been made by the CAQ. Despite low seat projections as the campaign began, CAQ leader Francois Legault opened a new front in the campaign against Charest’s Liberal Party when he announced his party’s star candidate: Jacques Duchesneau, who claimed that CAQ was the only party to “clean up” the province. Ducheneau had been appointed by premier Charest to investigate rampant corruption and collusion between the provincial government and the province’s construction industry in 2010. After submitting his report to the government Duchesneau leaked the report to the media for fear of the government burying it. The report turned out to be a quite damning.  Almost over night seat projections for the CAQ increased from eight to fourteen.

The Social Conversation.

Monitoring all mentions of the major political parties and their party hashtags in conjunction with all mentions of the #qc2012, #qcpol, #quepoli, and #polqc revealed the following conversation trends.

As noted above the mainstream media has been focused on the question of sovereignty as the Parti Quebecois moved into majority government territory in the polls. Quite natural but social conversations are less concerned with questions of sovereignty then they are about corruption, by a significant margin.

Sparked by the CAQ conversations related to corruption have dominated social media conversations.

Is social chatter impacting voter intentions in Quebec?

It’s impossible to link social chatter to voter intention, as I’ve written about previously, but it is clear that it has had a significant impact on social media. What is clear is that while the mainstream media is largely focused on the PQ’s march to a majority government and the Liberal Party’s downfall, social media users are receiving CAQ’s central campaign message and repeating it widely.

Politicos of all stripes will tell you that the opinions of friends and trusted sources of information generally have a more significant impact on voter intention then the messaging coming out of party war rooms. So while it may not be possible to link the CAQ’s rising political fortunes to social media conversations, it’s not so easy to simply dismiss it either.

Ryan Announcement Pushes Romney Social Media Mentions Ahead of Obama

This post was originally authored by me and published by Radian6.

On Saturday morning, the world awoke to the news that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had chosen his vice presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. It was particularly interesting for me, as I had just published a blog on Friday looking at the social chatter among the rumored vice presidential candidates, of whom Paul Ryan led in social media mentions.

Data from this blog was picked up and used by Mashable.com. You can check out that article here.

Once announced, a vice-presidential candidate becomes the center of intense media focus and public debate, but what is the impact on social media? The answer: profound.

Ryan’s Social Profile Skyrockets

In my post, Wikipedia, Stephen Colbert Drive Romney VP Speculation on Social Media, I noted that out of the serious contenders for the vice-presidential nod, Paul Ryan received the largest jump in social media mentions – 6,121 mentions between August 6th and 9th, compared to just 1,342 mentions between August 2nd and 5th.

After being named Romney’s vice-presidential nominee, mentions of Paul Ryan skyrocketed to 167,808 mentions between August 11th and 14th.

In addition to social media mentions, OhMyGov.com reported that followers and fans on Ryan’s Twitter and Facebook page saw significant increases, reaching 274,000 followers on Twitter and 197,000 Facebook fans.

Vice-Presidential Nod Gives Big Boost to Romney Mentions

It’s clear that Saturday’s announcement had a major impact on Paul Ryan’s individual social media profile, but it had a more significant impact for Romney.  The announcement of Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate pushed mentions of Mitt Romney above those of Barack Obama for the first time in more then three months.

The lead was considerable. On August 11th, Romney mentions totaled 882,955, compared to 529,538 for President Obama. This was the first time Romney had taken such a large, single day lead in social conversations over Obama since the GOP primaries concluded.

Ryan will make or break Romney’s chances

Guest post: Hassan Arif

One can say that Mitt Romney’s pick of Wisconsin member of Congress Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate gave the Republican ticket authenticity. Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and progressives, have accused Mitt Romney of being phoney, of having no core convictions and of taking positions simply based on political expediency and opinion polls.

Mitt Romney was a moderate – even progressive – politician in his earlier incarnation in Massachusetts politics: first as a candidate for Senate in the 1990s, and then as Governor. However, in 2008 – during his first run for the presidency – he ran to the right of John McCain in an attempt to appeal to conservative Republicans. Mr. Romney has also run to the right in 2012, though he has placed more emphasis on economic management. Mr. Romney has also re-written history describing himself as a “severely conservative” Governor of Massachusetts.

Mr. Romney has shamelessly reneged on earlier positions as well. For example, on health care, Mr. Romney has been calling for the repeal of Barack Obama’s health care reforms (“Obamacare”) even though these reforms are based on the health care model implemented in Massachusetts when Mr. Romney himself was Governor. During his presidential run, Mr. Romney has had to run away from his own record as Massachusetts Governor, almost in essence running against himself.

This seeming lack of authenticity has led to muted enthusiasm for Mr. Romney among the conservative Republican base. During the Republican nomination, candidates from Rick Perry to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum to Herman Cain frequently took turns as front-runner in opinion polls as Republicans sought an “authentic” conservative.

In the end, one can argue that Mr. Romney secured the nomination because of a weak field of candidates, and because of the millions he spent on negative advertising.

Paul Ryan, by contrast, is seen as a true believer in conservative ideology. He is a self-professed fan of conservative thinker Ayn Rand, making her work required reading for his staff. Mr. Ryan spearheaded a proposed Congressional budget which radically guts a range of social programs. Under Mr. Ryan’s plan, America’s system of public health care for seniors – medicare – is reduced to a voucher system with vouchers that are not even designed to keep up with inflation rates in the medical sector.

Other programs gutted under Mr. Ryan’s budget include Medicaid, slashed funding grants for post-secondary students, an erosion of environmental and banking regulations and the erosion and elimination various other programs for the poor and middle-class, all under the guise of deficit reduction.

Meanwhile, the Ryan budget doles out huge tax cuts for the wealthy while tax breaks on items such as mortgages which help the middle class would be eliminated.

With recession, a middle-class under siege and youth facing mounting student debts and a difficult job market, the Ryan budget would make life worse for many. Rather than offering relief from the recession, it would make the suffering from it even worse. In Britain, the austerity budgets of David Cameron’s government have plunged that country into a double-dip recession.

The Ryan budget would spell economic ruin for the majority of Americans – including even the rich who may find less market for their goods with an eviscerated middle-class.

All this contributes to an excellent rallying cry for Obama Democrats in 2012. They can rightly present themselves as the party which prioritizes jobs, which presented a stimulus package aimed at putting Americans back to work and which saved the automobile industry. This would be a favourable contrast to the Ryan budget which shamelessly slashes programs for the poor and middle-class while throwing out huge tax breaks to the rich.

However, the Mitt Romney campaign is likely to have taken this all into account before the Ryan pick. The budget document is popular with many small government conservatives. The Ryan pick potentially increases enthusiasm among the conservative Republican base for the presidential ticket, something that is important in signing up volunteers and spurring voter turnout.

The Romney campaign likely sees their route to victory as coming through a close election, like those in 2000 and 2004, which broke down along ideological “blue” and “red” state lines with deeply entrenched divisions and turnout among the base being key.

The choice of Paul Ryan as vice president is a bold and risky one as compared to safer choices such as former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty who is seen as dull and unexciting. The Ryan pick both serves as a rallying cry to the Republican base, as well as a clear means for Democrats to go after the Republican ticket.

In terms of social policy, Mr. Ryan is a disaster with a budget that attacks the poor and middle-class. In terms of electoral politics, it is hard to tell how the Ryan pick will play out as it brings both distinct advantages and distinct disadvantages for the Romney campaign. Regardless, it was a clearly calculated move on the part of the Republican presidential campaign, not a decision taken lightly.

A brief history of health care

Guest Post: Hassan Arif

In addition to being a dear friend of mine, Hassan Arif is a columnist for the Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick. He is also a Phd candidate at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, Canada.

The opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics was both spectacular and at times unusual. In all the ceremony, what was especially notable was a tribute to the National Health Service (NHS), Britain’s system of public and universal health care.

The NHS was established in 1948, a proud achievement of the government of Clement Attlee who led the first majority government of Britain’s Labour Party. The NHS was a major step forward in its time, even Sweden would not have a public and universal health care system until more than a decade later. The NHS would serve as an inspiration for other countries, including for our medicare system here in Canada.

The post-war Labour government of Clement Attlee was crucial in setting up the modern British welfare state – a welfare state which, including the National Health Service, largely followed the blue-print of Lord William Beveridge, a Liberal, from his 1942 Beveridge Report. Prime Minister Attlee was more low-key than his bombastic predecessor as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, but his accomplishments were no less remarkable for it.

Given this history, it was surprising how in the 1990s Tony Blair and “New” Labour sought, in many ways, to distance the party from its past. Of course, the 1980s and 1990s brought new realities that forced a re-think of progressive politics – a global economy with greater capital mobility, the rise of the high-tech sector, the decline in Britain of the manufacturing working-class and the rise of a professional middle-class.

These new realities called for the adoption of a new progressive politics for the late 20th/early 21st century.

Enter Tony Blair and “New” Labour. After Labour’s fourth consecutive electoral defeat in 1992, there was a feeling among some that “modernization” had not gone far enough. However, in the process, accelerated upon Tony Blair’s ascension to the Labour Party leadership in 1994, seemed to go too far, running away from the party’s history, trying to hide any semblance of being a progressive party and being afraid to (assertively) contrast themselves with Thatcherite Conservatives. Tony Blair emphasized pledges to not increase taxes, to focus on deficit reduction and courted the conservative press. Labour faced accusations of focusing more on image and spin than on substance. The Blair government included some very progressive initiatives – a comprehensive poverty-reduction program and a strong focus on environmental sustainability. However, these progressive initiatives were often downplayed.

It was ultimately foreign policy that would overshadow much of the record of Tony Blair’s government, which solidified an image of him as betraying Labour’s progressive values; in particular, lining up with George W. Bush on the Iraq War. Cynicism increased and party membership plummeted. Labour managed to win re-election in 2005, but bled support to the Liberal Democrats and smaller parties such as the Greens. Idealism seemed lost.

The aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse has opened up greater space for progressive politics, as the abuses of the financial sector became too evident and demands for government intervention to help the unemployed increased. The emphasis of the Cameron government on austerity instead of job-creation has plunged Britain into a double-dip recession, increasing calls for a strong progressive alternative.

This is a call being heard in the post-Blair Labour Party with former leadership contender David Miliband taking up the cause of youth unemployment, establishing a progressive politics that seeks substantive policy solutions to real problems faced by the population. Current Labour leader Ed Miliband has attempted to broaden the party’s progressive base, drawing in social activist groups beyond the traditional base of labour union support.

Are there any lessons in this for Canada? While the Labour Party is the sister party of the NDP, many of the lessons are applicable to the broad spectrum of progressive parties including the Liberals. As Labour regularly forms government, it faces the pressures of governing similar to those traditionally faced by the federal Liberals and the provincial Liberals here in New Brunswick who are currently official opposition.

The Liberal Party has frequently faced accusations of being weak on principles and ideals. In New Brunswick, the last Liberal government lurched to the right on issues like taxation – advocating a flattening of tax-rates – ending up to the right of the Tories. Given the 2010 results, this “Out-Torying” of the Tories did not work out well.

We need a progressive politics that recognizes economic and demographic realities – that emphasizes jobs and entrepreneurship along with social justice, poverty-reduction and environmental sustainability, seeking to deal with the issues of the day, such as a Millennial generation faced with mounting student debts and an uncertain job market.

We need a politics where those who care about social and economic issues feel included and engaged. We need a politics that combines pragmatism and idealism – seeking substantive policy solutions. The NHS is a clear example of that in promoting accessible and guaranteed health care for all regardless of income or walk of life, making it a worthy accomplishment to be celebrated as an integral part of British history and society at the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Mitt Romney chooses Paul Ryan for VP running mate; social media does too.

This blog was originally authored by me and published on the Radian6 website. I’m posting it here for posterity.

The speculation as to whom GOP candidate for president Mitt Romney will choose as his running mate went into overdrive this week after the blog TechPresident.com suggested Wikipedia held the answer. Published Monday, the blog made its way around the social networks until it was picked up by mainstream media outlets.

On Tuesday evening, Stephen Colbert picked up on the story and used his show, The Colbert Report, to urge his fans to log on to Wikipedia and “make as many edits as possible to your favorite VP contender.” Wednesday, it was reported that Wikipedia had protected the entries of rumored vice-presidential nominees.

Back in June, I took a look at the social buzz being generated about rumored vice-presidential candidates. At that point, the last of the GOP presidential primaries had been decided and the summer campaign was just beginning. Given that vice-presidential speculation reached a fever pitch this week, I thought it was time to revisit the data.

The Candidates

I based my search on the individuals listed in Micah Sifry’s TechPresident.com blog, as well as an additional name contributed by The Drudge Report, Gen. David Petraeus.

The candidates I included are:

Rep. Rob Portman (OH)
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)
Rep. Paul Ryan (WI)
Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA)
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN)
Gen. David Petraeus

I looked for all social media mentions of these individuals in conjunction with the words “vice president”, “vp”, and “veep” between August 6th and 9th. I then used our topic analysis widget to compare the percent change in mentions over the previous four days: August 2nd to 4th — to measure the impact of this week’s buzz around the TechPresident.com article.

Retired General David Patraeus has seen the largest jump in conversations — 2,085 mentions between August 6th and 9th, compared to just 43 mentions between August 2nd and 5th — but should be taken with a grain of salt. Until the Drudge Report published his name, Patraeus, who is currently serving as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was not many lists of possible contenders. The Christian Science Monitor has suggested that the likelihood of Patraeus accepting the role is “slim”.

The other contenders have been discussed widely over the past two months and most people feel one of them will be the likely choice for Mitt Romney. Of those individuals, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin saw the single largest increase, with 6,121 mentions between August 6th and 9th, compared to just 1,342 mentions between August 2nd and 5th.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was the only contender on the list to receive fewer mentions — 794 between August 6th and 9th versus 939 mentions between August 2nd and 5th.

Interested in how the vice presidential conversations looked like in June? Check out Who’ll Be Romney’s Running Mate?

Fantastic article and a great blog all around.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

Large nonprofits usually have the expertise and resources necessary to launch and maintain successful online communications and fundraising campaigns. They’ve been able to hire some of the most well-trained and experienced staff, consultants, and designers that work in the nonprofit sector. Small to medium-sized nonprofits with small to medium-sized marketing and communications budgets may not have the resources that many of the larger nonprofits do, but that doesn’t mean your online communications campaigns can’t be as good.

Your nonprofit can learn a lot from the 11 (mostly large) nonprofits listed below by simply following, liking, and subscribing to their e-newsletter, blog, Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube Channel, etc. and then studying and duplicating their methods. How I chose the nonprofits is that I have a basic set of criteria that I use as a litmus test when I audit nonprofits and their social media campaigns. A small selection of that…

View original post 350 more words

‘Mitt’s VP’ ties social apps to Voter I.D.

Wednesday morning the Obama and Romney campaigns each announced the release of their mobile apps. The Obama campaign released an app that will be tied directly to helping them achieve campaign objectives. The Romney campaign released an app that will give their supporters a heads up when the GOP candidate has chosen to be his vice presidential nominee.

In an op-ed Wednesday Mashable asked where was the innovation when the Romney campaign announced their mobile app ‘Mitt’s VP’. It’s a fair question but less important then the voter I.D. data it will bring the campaign.

The evolution of voter I.D.: Social apps and content marketing.

A candidate’s pick to be the vice presidential nominee is one of the most speculated topics in any presidential election cycle. It’s an important decision, not only because the pick becomes the second name on the presidential succession list, but because the vice presidential candidate balances a party’s ticket in a lot of ways and galvanizes supporters. The announcement of the vice presidential nominee helps create a lot of online, print, and television content.

Of course, this approach has been done before. In 2008, the Obama campaign used a similar tactic by offering to inform their supporters of the Democratic vice-presidential nominee before anyone else. Using their e-mail list and mobile text messages, the Obama campaign saw their voter I.D. lists grow “15 fold” between announcing the idea on August 10th and announcing their nominee for vice president on August 22nd , according to David Plouffe.

This time around it’s the Republicans who have the VEEP hook and they’re using it to their advantage. The rise of the “app” is a new development in presidential politics but that’s about all that’s new here. Is it innovative? Not really, but it is effective and that’s good enough.

Tying social media to business objectives:

In an era when technology and social media enthusiasts are constantly looking for the next big thing it’s worth remembering that all industries – even politics – operate on a number of ‘fundamentals’. Political parties and political candidates live and die by the volume and accuracy of their voter I.D. data. Any social strategy in politics has to meet that need.

This is the simple genius of the “Mitt’s VP” app: it combines a major content hook while generating a wealth of data to be used for campaign communications, soliciting donations, and getting out the vote purposes.

Effective social media strategy is always tied to business objectives. It doesn’t always have to be innovative but it absolutely must be effective.

Interested in more? If you want to read more about using social media for voter I.D. have a look at: “Identifying Voters and Moving Them Through Your Social Media Funnel”.