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Presidential Hopefuls Turn to Texting on the Campaign Trail

Image: Presidential Hopefuls Turn to Texting on the Campaign Trail
Bernie Sanders (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 18 Aug 2015 04:33 PM

With presidential campaigns spending millions of dollars on ads and digital media consultants, there's a simple method of reaching potential voters that's catching on: text messaging.

A New York Times report
details the communication tool that dates back to last century, a tool that campaigns are embracing in the 2016 race for president.

For one, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — at the moment the main challenger to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic field — is utilizing texts as an easy way to reach campaign followers.

Clinton is too, and the Republicans in the race — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul are noted in the Times piece — are also urging their followers to text the campaign, which allows the campaign to amass a valuable database of cell phone numbers.

"A text is almost a sacred thing," Paul's digital director Vincent Harris told the Times. "This space is reserved for your closest friends, your family, people who know you well enough to have your number and bypass a voice mail or email. I think it's taken several years for the electorate to warm up to this."

There is a fine line, however, between firing up followers and asking for campaign donations, and annoying people to the point where they shun the campaign altogether and remove themselves from the texting list.

Like anything, a balance must be struck.

"People who will walk around with like 20,000 unread emails will still want to clear the notification circle on the text messages," Blue State Digital chief executive Joe Rospars told the Times. "But there's two sides to that. You can also quickly annoy people."

The Sanders campaign recently asked the audience at a Los Angeles rally to text a five-digit number and include the word "Bernie" in the message.

That's not to say social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and others won't play a role in the race for president.

Facebook was a co-sponsor of the Republican presidential debate two weeks ago, and the popular social media network was flooded with talk about the debate that night.

Social media, although a bit less personal than text messaging, can be an effective way to spread a campaign message and reach potential voters.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for campaigns and political advertisers to reach audiences through traditional methods," Craft Media/Digital chief executive Brian Donahue told the Providence Journal. "The most rapid area of growth is in digital and social media. It has been extremely effective."

A story in The Hill this week argued that social media is playing a crucial role in the campaign, which is steamrolling along despite the election still more than a year away.

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With presidential campaigns spending millions of dollars on ads and digital media consultants, there's a simple method of reaching potential voters that's catching on: text messaging.
presidential, hopefuls, campaign, texting
445
2015-33-18
Tuesday, 18 Aug 2015 04:33 PM
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