Total Pageviews

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Announcing a Ticket? There\'s an App for That


The Romney campaign said Tuesday that it would reveal its vice-presidential pick not by e-mail, text message or online video, but through a first-of-its kind mobile phone app called “Mitt's VP.”

All anyone has to do is download the app and make sure the smartphone accepts incoming third-party messages. Whenever the Romney campaign decides to push the button, phones across the United States should buzz with the news. Already, tens of thousands of people had downloaded it on Tuesday, the campaign said.

Romney strategists wanted a way to make what could be the biggest announcement of the 2012 presidential campaign simply and quickly, without the potential hiccups of a mass text message.

When President Obama announced Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate in 2008, he got the word out by texting some three million people who had given his campaign their mobile phone numbers. But many complained that the text came late or not at all. And some even had to pay a small per-message fee from their mobile phone companies.

With an app, mass delivery is much faster and free, said Zac Moffatt, the Romney campaign's top digital strategist. Notification will arrive just like any news bulletin or a reminder from Angry Birds that a software update is available. (The Romney campaign's technological sophistication is often overshadowed by the Obama campaign's digital efforts. Indeed, on Tuesday right before “Mitt's VP” was rolled out, the Obama campaign announced a new app to assist with canvassing.)

“Mitt's VP” is more than just a way to announce the No. 2 pick. The campaign is testing the app to see what other kinds of messages it can send âˆ' especially geographically specific ones. Those who provide their ZIP codes can be targeted with alerts offering information like when Mr. Romney is visiting in their area or where the nearest location is to receive an absentee ballot .