Information is important, but knowing how to use that information via technology is critical to one's success. This was a lesson learned in the 2008 presidential election when the Obama media campaign became a ubiquitous force, culling information from supporters and compiling a monstrous database that could be spliced and diced at the touch of a fingertip. The man behind this: Jascha Franklin-Hodge, co-founder and chief technology officer of Blue State Digital.
Franklin-Hodge, who worked with Joe Trippi in the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign, built on that experience, and what erupted was a Web 2.0 inundation --YouTube videos, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, among others -- to microtarget voters nationwide. However, the most powerful outlet was the creation of my.barackobama.com. The Web site further ingrained the campaign's "Yes we can!" theme, which resounded with millions of voters. Missives went out that prompted users to donate money, no matter how much. Users were advised that even as little as $5 would make a change.
The campaign's key was to use various technology tools that users could integrate in their lives -- things that would spur action, such as organizing house parties or calling undecided voters, anything to encourage involvement.
Blue State Digital has been the place where technology and politics intersect. It's created a political infrastructure that's transformed into a more perpetual movement, as opposed to something sporadic and temporary.
Franklin-Hodge's strategic planning harnessed the power of the Internet by engaging people online to take action offline, which helped propel Barack Obama to victory and a very place in history -- while Franklin-Hodge finds himself the go-to man for online political campaigning.
Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.
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