The App War

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 1 2012 @ 6:02pm


Yesterday both campaigns released smartphone apps but for very different purposes. Obama's app is all-in-one campaign tool, while Romney's app promises people (once they become MyMitt members) an exclusive sneak peek at his VP choice. Alex Fitzpatrick compares the two:

Whereas Romney’s app is useful mostly to the campaign, Obama’s app empowers that side’s supporters to be more effective at reaching their goals. Obama campaign staff and volunteers no longer have to print hundreds of sheets of addresses and turf maps when going door-to-door, only to spend hours digitizing their work later that evening. Instead, they can receive and transmit their day’s work via the new app. Obama’s app also uses a supporter’s location data to show how Obama’s policies have affected the user’s immediate area, and it takes a page from digitally-savvy NGOs (non-government organizations) by providing voters with a mechanism to report potential voting abuses on Election Day, which could become an issue this year as several states are adopting stricter voting laws.

Both apps are clearly intended to collect demographic information as well, just as Obama's VP-pick text alert did in 2008. From an early customer review of the Romney app:

I just wanted to know when VP picked. App wanted to much info from me and wanted me to be evangelistic in promoting Romney to others. I'll just wait for CNN app to give me notice 10 minutes late and delete this app.