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.”