Politics and social mediaEmily on 18 Nov 2008 11:31 am

On election night, a huge group of my friends taxied, bused, and brought our celebration of Barack Obama’s victory to the White House lawn.

The impromptu late night party was sparked by text — creating an exuberant flash mob of sorts. It is somewhat fitting that SMS should welcome our 44th President to the nation’s Capitol.

Without mobile technology, Obama would not have mustered up 53% of the popular vote that sent him to the White House.  Pivotal in this large margin was the huge youth vote turnout (ages 18-29), an estimated 21.6 – 23.9 million voters (up 2.2 million from 2004) of which  PEW Research finds 66% supported Obama.

Mobile Millennials Rocked the Vote!

Obama’s new media campaign engaged this demographic like never before.  According to PEW Research, 46% of Americans used wireless, e-mail or the Internet to engage and reach out to other voters in this election. Civic engagement, much of it youth, was harnessed by Obama’s text messaging campaign and implementation of new media technologies.

The Obama iPhone app fused mobile and social media with the “call a friend” feature encouraging wireless users to contact friends in battleground states and offering them real-time mobile access to issues.  In addition to the iPhone app, the “vote early” campaign encouraged early action at the polls.

The Politico aptly sums it up:  “never in post-war American politics have youth voted so differently than other generations as they did in 2008.”

Continue Reading »

General and mobile diner video and Politics and social mediachris on 26 Oct 2008 11:01 am

As you know, we covered Mobile Future’s Forum on how wireless is affecting elections. It was both fun and informative.

Once again, many thanks to Jed Alpert (Mobile Commons), Katie Harbath (Former Giuliani Campaign), Michelle Mayorga (Rock the Vote), and Casey O’Shea (DCCC) for making it a success…

In any case, we did a little Mash-up video of the event. Hope you enjoy it!

General and Politics and strategyEmily on 23 Sep 2008 11:04 am

With the November election on the horizon, we have pondered the implications of utilizing wireless to mobilize voters.  We believe that in a race this close, mobile offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness and engage folks.  However, will mobile make the difference in ’08?

Our friends at Mobile Future or going to take a closer look at this question and have organized a timely forum on this subject at the National Press Club on October 14, 2008 titled “How Mobile Technologies are Changing Elections.”

Mobile Future Chairman, Jonathan Spalter, will moderate a panel discussion with some of the leading experts in mobile and its impact on politics. The dialogue will be facilitated by Jed Alpert (CEO of Mobile Commons), Michelle Mayorga (Rock the Vote, Mobile Programs), Casey O’Shea (DCCC National Field Director) and Katie Harbath (Former Deputy eCampaign Director, Giuliani for President).

Additionally, Peter Hart (Peter D. Hart Research Associates), a leading U.S. pollster, will address the atmosphere of the 2008 election and discuss the impact that mobile-only users will have upon the outcome in November.

The forum will be presented over lunch, and all are welcome! 

Be sure to Rsvp at http://www.mobilefuture.org/page/s/elections to reserve your spot.. HOPE 2 C U THERE!

General and Policy and Politics and social media and Social Networking and strategychris on 08 Sep 2008 10:14 am

With the U.S. Open Men’s Final all set for tonight, I’m feeling a little nostalgic.

I’m remembering Andre Agassi and those Canon commercials — “Image is Everything” he would proclaim… Andre was so right!

In the district of communications, your image has a lot to do with how successful you are with your policy initiatives. One industry that has suffered from bad perception in the marketplace is the cable industry. However, the cable folks are not following the traditional playbook and trying to hire more lobbyists. They are looking to improve their image engaging bloggers and the citizenry.

In a Communications Daily story today (subscription only), Rob Stoddard (NCTA, Senior VP of communications and public affairs) stated:

“the cable industry needs to do a better job of improving its image with bloggers and customers alike. As we chip away at that image issue, I really believe that all this money we spend on messaging will go further.”

Policy and politics are all about marketing. Accordingly, in times like these, making sure you are a step ahead of the competition is critical. Companies that blend an interactive strategy with their traditional communications will be rewarded in the market and in DC.

General and Mobile TV and Politics and SprintNextelEmily on 05 Sep 2008 09:01 am

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing noted author Nate Wilcox in a video for Mobile Future.  Nate is the co-author of Netroots Rising: How a Citizen Army of Bloggers and Online Activists is Changing American Politics.

With the convention season in full swing, Nate’s interview is timely – as he discusses the impact of mobile integration (particularly texting) that has uniquely characterized this 2008 election process.

Nate is currently a senior strategist at the Alexandria, VA based WebStrong Group.  Some highlights of his extensive political career include work with the campaigns of John Kerry and Ann Richards,
and a role as the Online Communications Director for Governor Mark Warner’s Forward Together PAC.

Update – We wanted to give you some additional info on Nate’s Background, for a full bio please click here.

General and Politics and social media and YouTubeEmily on 29 Aug 2008 10:39 am

According to a Rasmussen report, Obama now leads McCain by one single point. The race is in a dead heat… Or is it?

Many are trying to find other ways of gauging the election, beyond reliance on traditional polls.

For instance, Tech Crunch recently did an interesting article based on research by Hitwise – comparing the number of people accessing Obama and McCain’s respective websites by state, attempting to infer which candidate is more popular via web hits.

Alternately, there are some (relatively unscientific) methods, such as this Yahoo News Poll, that states that pet owners could be the deciding factor in the election (they apparently revere McCain).

The search for alternate polling methods makes sense considering that traditional polls are completely unrepresentative – utilizing predominantly landlines to survey voters – and leaving out the increasing number of voting age adults with only cell phones. According to PEW Research, 14.5% of American adults (a majority of which are the 18-30 demographic) cannot be reached by land-line. I call this neglected group the Mobile Millennial, and I predict they will come out in droves in November. Continue Reading »

General and PoliticsEmily on 06 Aug 2008 11:13 am

The US Presidential race seems to be in a dead heat. Yesterday, a Rasmussen Poll showed McCain and Obama tied at 44%. I see many people (myself included) disparaged by these figures – how can two very different candidates fail to polarize the election? Will the indecision of 2000 rear its ugly head in the ’08 election?

People are starting to talk about this and Chris recently had a Twitter exchange with Erik Schwartz over at Foneshow on this same topic.

Could these numbers reflect inaccurate projections by antiquated polling methods – rather than real public opinion?

Pollsters do not include cell phone numbers in any random digit dial surveys. According to Pew Research, 14.5% of eligible voters have a cell phone and no land line. These voters are also predominantly young voters – the projected demographic to come out in droves in November. 6.5 million voters under 30 participated in the ’08 primaries and caucuses. Millennials (born between 1980 – 1994) are engaged like never before – but their voice is not being heard.

The inaccuracy of polling, by mobile exclusion, may mean the race is not as close as you might think.

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) has reported on the “graying” of land line users. Accordingly, Public Opinion Quarterly reports that 40% of adults under 30 years will use ONLY cell phones by 2009. Land lines are not a way to reach a majority of the public, as they were in past elections.

The youth of America, who are increasingly adopting a mobile only lifestyle, are under-sampled in current polls. Generation Y might be the dark horse that changes the course of the ’08 election and pollsters need to adapt their methodologies.

I’m interested to hear, how do YOU think that cell-only users will effect the outcome in November?

How do YOU think pollsters can remedy this problem without infringing on the rights of cell-users?

General and mobile diner video and Politics and social mediachris on 28 Jul 2008 02:28 pm

On Friday, I had the pleasure of having coffee in Adams Morgan with Jill Foster. Jill really need no introduction in the world of social media. She is the co-founder of DC Media Makers and her efforts in new media have been highlighted in the Washington Post… However, for folks in the telecomm policy space, Jill actively utilizes wireless to augment her contributions as a “roving” reporter and to make media.

In this interview, we discuss the mobile-social convergence and her upcoming trip to Denver to cover the DNC convention. Jill has access to many events in Denver and she will be utilizing Utterz to capture the action.

Make sure to check out her reports from Denver here

Facebook and General and Politics and social media and Social Networkingchris on 14 Jul 2008 12:12 pm

Senator Stevens, we love you in the diner.

For someone who has always seemed overly concerned about online social networks, I find it interesting that you are looking for “friends” onlineMySpace??

Once again, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think parents would be too excited to find their children (especially millenials) friending, sharing photos, videos, or participating in your online communities.

With your election on the horizon, I’m sure someone in your campaign thought this was a brilliant idea. You’ve seen others in the political space embrace social communications and reap the enormous benefits. However, for you sir, your efforts in this space lack passion and just ring hollow.

General and Policy and Politics and strategychris on 07 Apr 2008 04:39 pm


(flickr photo credit – Philofoto)

In poker, knowing when to hold or fold is crucial.

In fact, Kenny Rogers did a tune (“the Gambler”) that captured it beautifully (you all know it.). However, if knowing when to hold or fold was obvious, Seth Godin wouldn’t have sold a bunch of books related to the topic (“the dip”).

In policy and politics, knowing when to hold or fold is critical too. There are folks that operate in the district of communications who should pick up a copy of Mr. Godin’s book. It could serve as a guide to one campaign in order to help their Party regain the White House. It could also be insightful for some tech companies to move forward on other issues that are more important for generating future revenues.

Going for broke and praying to draw out on your flush (win remaining primaries or hoping to use portable devices in white space spectrum before completion of the DTV transition) may make sense in the short term. Although the long-term damage to your wallet, the Party or your credibility may not be worth that gamble…

Disclosure – Tin Can Communications represents Capitol Solutions (on behalf of the Wireless Broadband Coalition) on federal spectrum issues.

General and Politicschris on 19 Feb 2008 01:07 pm

Thank you to Andrew Wright (CEO, Grasshopr) for pointing to this article on Twitter yesterday.

The article via techPresident takes a look at the long tail of politics and how Obama has captured it… As I have mentioned in the diner, this will affect advocacy and how policy is made on Capitol Hill too.

On a related note, I recall a conversation with a former colleague of mine and her husband last year. I was discussing Chris Anderson’s book (The Long Tail) and he mentioned his concern with the long tail of politics. I see incredible opportunities ahead…

What do YOU think about the long tail of politics?

CTIA and General and Politicschris on 12 Feb 2008 10:12 am

The 700 MHz auction is slowing down and Congress is having more DTV hearings. I’ve got some other thoughts cooking… Enjoy!

Evolve or Die -

The WSJ had an opinion column discussing the dramatic shift occurring in traditional advertising. As we’ve discussed in the diner, this is the new politic too.

Building Community -

In one of my social networks yesterday, a few folks were discussing what they should do with some old cellphones. Specifically, they were interested in getting the phones to some shelters for women of abuse. Accordingly, I pointed the person to CTIA’s Wireless Foundation and a great program they lead – Call to Protect. Continue Reading »

General and Policy and Politics and social media and Social Networkingchris on 03 Jan 2008 05:40 pm

December was a great month. It was a nice opportunity to really think about Washington and how traditional business in this town is conducted. Analogous to businesses that realize marketing is changing and face the challenge of implementing new marketing to (receive permission from consumers) be effective – traditional advocacy faces challenges and must evolve.

In the old days, a company could mass advertise on three channels and with mass capital expenditures – folks bought that company’s product off the shelf. In the District of Communications, a company hires a big K street firm with political connections and they create a barrier to entry for a competitor or break a barrier down for their client’s company (yes, I’m generalizing and recall that monopolies thrive in regulation).

Both methods are still relevant and there are some talented lobbyists in Washington… However, here’s some reasons why you may want to consider augmenting your company’s advocacy strategy.

1) There are more channels to choose from today and the lobbying rules have changed.

2) Your audience stopped listening – customers and the politicians.

3) New marketing is cost effective and you’ll develop a closer relationship to your consumers.

4) Your consumers and their constituents will be your advocates. There is nothing more powerful!

On a related note, National Journal wrote about blogs and the importance of blogs last October. Some K street folks questioned whether it was valuable…. Barack, John Edwards and Ron Paul sure don’t doubt social media. Eventually, the policy / political / government affairs shops won’t doubt it either.

Disclosure – New media efforts are not for everyone. Quoting Danah Boyd – “Social technologies succeed when they fit into the social lives and practices of those that engage with the technology.”

General and Policy and Politicschris on 18 Dec 2007 09:27 pm

Senator McCain (Arizona) continues to fight to eliminate discriminatory wireless taxes on consumers.

Some folks in the District of Communications may recall that he led this fight during last cycle’s consideration of telecommunications reform legislation. His amendment was included with bipartisan support in the final bill.

In any case, here’s the latest from the Union Leader...

General and Policy and Politics and social media and Social Networkingchris on 26 Nov 2007 10:32 am

What a difference a year makes…

I wrote Mobile Diner’s first post a year ago today, and I had no idea where it would take us. I just knew that listening and having a dialogue with wireless consumers was the right thing to do.

Along the way I have met and learned a great deal from many entrepreneurs, tech mavens, and videobloggers. All of you showed me how important it is to build community and have inspired me to spend more time on these endeavors.

On that note, in January, I’m launching a public affairs / new media focused communications firm that will offer services to companies, associations and non-profits. Utilizing social media tools to engage consumers or affect change in Washington will become increasingly important to businesses. Those who participate will win in the market and will win on Capitol Hill.

New times call for a new class of communications professionals. Accordingly, I hope to make a difference for a few select clients.

Stay tuned for more on the new company…

Related ingredient – I will still be collaborating with Capitol Solutions on the Wireless Broadband Coalition..

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