Wednesday, July 11, 2007

John Edwards uses technology to determine campaign stop

If you've read very many posts here, you already know I believe campaigns should use technology to serve/amplify their messages. But, because the strategy for each campaign is different, I haven't written much about using the web to inspire/facilitate offline activity. Until now.

The John Edwards campaign is using Eventful (a web site that lets users "demand" a visit/performance/whatever) to let supporters demand a visit from John Edwards himself. That's reasonably interesting in a use-of-technology way.

But whether by design or by great good fortune, the town that's currently in the lead (by a very wide margin) is Columbus Kentucky, population 229. The organizer's pitch for his town:

Columbus, Kentucky is a small town in Western Kentucky that boasts a population of 229 people and is about a 50 minute drive from the closest McDonalds. Like many rural communities across the south, job loss in the face of rising healthcare costs and education costs have crippled the economy. We want to see John Edwards come to real rural America and address the problems we face and hear his plan for revitalizing small American communities like ours!
Does this plea fit into the Edwards campaign playbook or what? From the comments:
Politicians hardly ever get to see how small town and rural Americans actually live. This would be a great experience for not only John Edwards, but for the many Democrats who live in Kentucky and are interested in the future of our country.
If Columbus wins, the trip to Columbus will provide lasting value to the Edwards campaign. My guess is that this visit will get plenty of media coverage, that the campaign will (quite visibly) hear from oft-ignored voters, that the people who see Edwards in Columbus will enthusiastically report to their friends, and that the event will provide a great deal of fodder for the Edwards web site. Value? Extremely high. Downside? I don't see one.

--Louella Pizzuti

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