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Text Messaging a Game-Changer for Political Campaigns

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Looking up at an American flag flying at the top of a flapole

Ever since Barack Obama texted 3 million people to announce Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008, text messaging has been recognized as a game-changer in politics.

This year, it’s a must-have for both presidential campaigns. Romney recently announced his own VP pick, Rep. Paul Ryan, with a text message to his supporters. Both Obama and Romney, along with many other politicians, use SMS to send supporters updates about events, reminders to vote, and requests for donations.

On Aug. 23, Obama’s campaign became the first ever to be equipped to receive contributions via text message, with Romney’s following shortly after. Donors can text GIVE to 62262—which spells OBAMA—to give to the campaign. Romney’s shortcode, 466488, spells GOMITT. The maximum donation caps off at $10 per text, $50 a month, and $200 total. Agreements have been made with Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, and T-Mobile to accept donations. It’s important to note that carriers are taking a sizable chunk (30%-50%) of the donations for themselves.

Text campaigns for politicians aren’t just an innovative way to reach younger voters. It’s also an efficient substitute for phone calls and door-to-door efforts. Mass texting requires less manpower and less money than traditional campaign tactics. When it comes to communicating a concise message to millions of voters as quickly, cheaply, and conveniently as possible, texting is simply unrivaled.

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