We live in the age of the internet – a place in time where information flying in from all over the world permeates our every thought. Politicians are especially reliant on the internet to persuade voters, raise funds, and turn out their supporters on election day. Last cycle, Barack Obama was far and away the man to beat when it came to a strong internet presence. But this time around, it looks like Mitt Romney may be able to outdo Obama’s tech-savvy campaign team, thanks to some pretty sweet online tools.
Take the Romney website, for example. The welcome page for Mitt’s campaign site has a prominent “Get updates from Mitt’s campaign” button smack-dab in the middle of it. Continuing to the main webpage, a slick slideshow showcases whatever the Romney team wants – today’s featured image was one of Ann Romney, a clear attempt to channel the outrage Hilary Rosen provoked a few days ago into some positive action. Donating is as easy as filling out a half-page form and submitting it to be processed online (perhaps this is why Romney’s site beat Santorum’s in this “Website Smackdown” review).
But while the aesthetics of the Romney website are nice, I was also impressed by how simple it was to get involved in the campaign. One page explains exactly what your money would buy when you donate it – $25 pays for a couple of yard signs, $100 buys lunch from some volunteers, etc. Supporters can also use a program to create a pro-Romney fundraising website, crowd-sourcing the effort of financing the campaign to streamline the task.
And the coup de grace of Romney’s online set-up? As the video below explains, after logging in to the campaign website, volunteers can make phone calls for the campaign from their own home. It’s incredibly easy and takes only a few minutes to set up.
In addition to these neat features, Romney has a good footing in the social networks as well, much better than in past years. He has close to half a million followers on twitter. His wife, Ann, was one of the first of the candidates’ wives to get a Pintrest. And Romney has several prominent Facebook ads and a very popular page.
Compare Romney’s 21st-century internet strategy with McCain’s dinosaur of 2008 and it becomes clear that the Republicans have greatly improved their communication skills on the world wide web. Heck, McCain didn’t even know what an email is for a long time. Look for Romney to significantly outperform McCain’s numbers with young voters. A good social network system and a youth disillusioned with Obama’s grand promises of “Hope and Change” will really boost the GOP’s chances in November.
Now granted, Romney’s still a little behind Obama by the numbers (Facebook fans, followers, etc), but Obama’s been president for four years… he has a huge advantage as an incumbent! Nevertheless, Romney is gaining traction, and he is slowly starting to chip away at the Obama empire, one “like” at a time.