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Obama's Campaign is Prepping to Roll Out the Online Campaign "Dashboard"

BY Nick Judd | Monday, May 14 2012

The Obama campaign is "poised" to unleash Dashboard, the campaign tool we've been hearing about in pieces here and there since November 2011, the Guardian's Ed Pilkington and Amanda Michel write.

Here's the bottom line:

The hope is that it will become the election equivalent of the Facebook games CityVille and FarmVille, where online participants are pitted against their social networks to run a city or manage a farm. In this case, Dashboard's creators hope to bring the power of the social networking right to the doorstep of the American voter.

Staffers in key districts of vital swing states will be able to instantly access data on people in their locality who have subscribed to's e-mail list and might be willing to volunteer their time. In past elections, local staff and activists couldn't easily piggyback off the campaign's internet operation, and relied primarily on their own contacts and local knowledge about who to approach.

We've known for a while that the Obama campaign was planning to do a better-than-ever job of tracking everything volunteers and staff do, use the numbers to motivate more activity, and connect those volunteers and staff to one another through a new or new-ish online network. The latest information here is that OfA's vast email list is about to become a prospect pool for local volunteers to grow their ranks. It sounds like an incremental step in the confluence of a campaign's three big sets of data: Voter file, donor database, and online supporters.

Dashboard's features and focus are similar to NationalField, existing software used by progressive campaigns and causes, which Nancy Scola profiled almost exactly a year ago today. NationalField is an outgrowth of work by Obama for America 2008 staffers and volunteers to quantify and share as much campaign activity as possible.

"In the two-plus years since Obama's presidential victory, the field tracking tool that started within his campaign has been rolled out in scores of Democratic races, in the field work of political advocacy groups, and even in a national health project in the U.K.," Scola wrote, back in the day. "In progressive organizing circles, its reputation is growing. And there's a chance that it could provide a significant advantage in Obama's re-election bid that most of the public never even knows is there."

Seems like the Obama campaign's intent to track everything volunteers do, and to connect volunteers and staff around those activities, isn't going to fly under the radar after all.

The Guardian reports that the Dashboard project is being led by OfA chief integration and innovation officer Michael Slaby, chief digital strategist Joe Rospars, digital director Teddy Goff and national field director Jeremy Bird.

Trainings on Dashboard have already begun in states across the country, and some volunteers are gaining access to the platform now.