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Where Are My Text Messages Mr. Edwards?

BY Lynne d Johnson | Tuesday, March 6 2007

Though the focus of techPresident is on how the candidates use the Web, as well as how voter-generated content affects the process, I've become very interested in what methods are being employed in the mobile space. One in particular wasn't very hard to find, it was in John Edwards YouTube video, "Tomorrow Begins Today," where he announces his candidacy and asks you to "Text Hope to 30644."

Yet interestingly, I didn't originally find out about John Edwards text campaign through the YouTube video. I found out about the text campaign after learning about the work of the Rights Group, a company that builds tools that enable its clients to reach existing constituents and enlist new supporters through mobile marketing programs.

Well, I joined John Edwards, at least I've signed up for his text campaign, and I must say I'm a little disappointed. Since texting hope to 30644, and initially receiving a confirmation message, and then a welcome message that says: "Thanks for joining our campaign to change America. Please text us your email. Start changing America at," I've received no other alerts or updates.

Perhaps I'm supposed to start the dialogue, but I really think this service would be better used by the Edwards team to stay connected with supporters and provide them with updates. For instance, why did I have to go to the John Edwards blog, or subscribe to its RSS feed to find out that Edwards had released a public statement in response to Ann Coulter's comments? Wouldn't the text program present itself as an opportunity to connect with supporters—to message that statement, or a shortened version of it with a text link back to the blog?

If the candidates are going to employ the technological tools available to them, I think they should use them to their best advantage. Maybe that's not the intention of the text campaign, but I can't honestly say that at this point I know what it is.