SMS Campaigning

In 2010, Campaigns on 3 January 09 by jimenez Tagged: , , ,

No one doubts the effectivity of SMS – or text messaging – as a tool for mobilization. But what about as a way of campaigning?

Well that depends, eh?

If SMS is used as a means of building a sense of community, then it’s pretty darn powerful. The way that works is that SMS is used to excite the faithful, more than as a way to rope in undecideds. Build a strong enough sense of community and your supporters end up doing the campaigning for you. SMS then becomes just a means of linking those supporters up and fostering their sense of being part of your movement.

On the other hand, if SMS is seen as a way of convincing undecideds, it is likely to fall flat on its face. For one thing, bombarding random numbers with generic ‘vote-for-me’ messages can be very off-putting: the message lacks context and borders on the intrusive.

However it is used, I’m very confident that SMS will play a major role in the upcoming elections. Which begs the question: what will we do about it? Heck. Never mind what we’re gonna do about it – I suppose the question ought to be should SMS use for campaigning even be regulated?

smsOne of the top things to consider, of course, is the spending cap. If you don’t regulate SMS, how do you compute the costs associated with SMS campaigning so that it can be considered in determining whether a candidate has gone over the spending limit? Come to think of it, even if you do regulate, the issue remains: exactly do you compute costs?

And what about SMS spamming? As far as I know, the NTC has rules enough for that, but then again, you know how it gets at campaign time. Everyone be asking: “I got a message from this candidate? Allowed ba yan? What is the COMELEC doing about it?”

With questions like these and more,  SMS campaigning is obviously going to be a tricky issue. Better get on it right away then, eh?


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