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The Thinking Behind Announcing Biden by Text

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, November 17 2009

More tidbits of new media goodness from Obama campaign manager David Plouffe's book, Going Rogue. Oh wait, that's not right. This one is called Audacity to Win, and in it Plouffe's offers tasty bites from the innerworkings of the innovative campaign. There's a theme: new media decisions often came from the top down and were intimately tied to the Obama campaign's strategic roadmap, and the campaign's leadership was willing to stand up and vigorously defend unconventionality even in the face of naysayers. Here's Plouffe on how the decision to announce Joe Biden's selection as VP via text message went down:

Joe Rospars came into my office one afternoon with the idea of telling our supporters first, before the media or politicos. "While our e-mail list is growing exponentially, our mobile list could use a big kick start," he explained. "Why don't we ask people to sign up for a text alert? We can tell them that they'll be the first to know who Barack picks as a VP.

The idea appealed to me on two levels. First, it was consistent with other key junctures in our campaign -- reporting fund-raising numbers, the decision to limit our primary debates, opting out of the public funding system -- where we had communicated first directly to our supporters...

Second, this was a great way to grow our text-messaging list. Rospars was right about the increasing gap in our contact figures; our email list was now over 6 million, but our list of mobile numbers was in the low six figures. Making a big announcement by text would ignite a spark and juice the latter number.