The Mobile Campaign Of 2012: Romney And Obama Have Early App Gaffes

MItt-BBoth candidates had the mobile equivalent of gaffes this week as the Presidential campaigns try to leverage the mobile platforms as best they can. Team Obama went up to the edge of acceptable uses of voter information in its new app for organizers, as we reported yesterday. And over the weekend, the single-purpose Romney app kinda fudged that candidate’s campaign promise to notify mobile users first of his VP pick.

The “Mitt’s VP” app had one purpose and one purpose only. It was intended to give mobile users that special insider feel by alerting them to nominee Romney’s VP pick before anyone else. “Be the first to know who will be Mitt’s VP,” the app advertised to downloaders everywhere. You will recall that President Obama used this scheme via text message in 2008.

Well, as with many campaign promises, the candidate can claim to have been true to his word even as he violated it. The mobile alert announcing Representative Paul Ryan as the running mate did come in at about 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, a good two hours before the formal public rollout of what Romney is calling the “Comeback Team” on the decommissioned U.S.S. Wisconsin. But the press was already reporting widely that Ryan was the guy. According to Mediaite, the leaks from team Romney were pretty unmistakable by late Friday. So in classic political debate style we might claim that Romney was technically good to the letter of his work without necessarily being true to the spirit.

But as the Daily News rightly points out, Team Obama was also late in announcing by text his pick of Joe Biden, while press had the word well before. To be fair, Obama’s campaign did release the message in the wee hours of the morning. But Romney too likely got to his supporter before most of them had woken up and checked the Web.

Which is only to say that the app campaign is likely to be as petty and trivial as the rest of this campaign.

But the Veep app tended to overshadow the more interesting “With Mitt” app. This downloadable lets you create a personalized “I’m With Mitt" image you can share on all the usual social channels. The images get framed with a range of Republican-friendly message choices, from “Obama Isn’t Working” to “I’m a Mom for Mitt.” What I like about the approach with this app is that it does, in fact, address one of the candidate’s weaknesses. Enthusiasm within his own party has been soft. So shouldn’t job one be crafting digital media that lets people show their social network that they have some passion for the guy? Seems like a smart start to me.

Sorry, I forgot. We are only covering gaffes in this campaign.

Let’s return to our regularly scheduled obsessions with nitpicking.   

Tags: mobile, politics
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