VP announcement via mobile app

It seems like the next stage for announcing a vice-presidential pick. After Barack Obama’s campaign announced Joe Biden’s selection via text message in 2008, Mitt Romney will now turn to a mobile app. The app “Mitt’s VP” will be the go-to place to first know about the selection, which is expected in the coming days. I was interviewed by Raycom Media on the reasons behind the app strategy and its impact for the campaign.

The following is an excerpt from the story “Romney will announce VP choice through app” on the website of NBC 12 in Richmond, which is owned by Raycom:

Phone apps are a step up from the text message strategy Obama used, according to Dr. Marcus Messner, a mass communications professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who teaches social media.

“The app gets access to the GPS feature on the phone, so (the campaign) knows exactly where you are and what your interests might be,” Messner said. “That can be really interesting for a campaign to target specific messages to your area. And later on, this can be all about getting out the vote. Five to 10 percent of the electorate can decide this election, so social media mobile apps can be, really, a tool to get out the vote.”


Messner points out that Romney’s campaign can use the apps or Facebook to smooth over the gaffes the Republican candidate made during his international trip.

However, traditional communication between candidates and voters is not dead in the water, and it cannot totally be abandoned.

“The flier in the mail still has a place in the campaign,” Messner said. “There are still people who are not on Facebook, and a majority of Americans still don’t have a smartphone.”

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