The Obama campaign is betting big again on the ability of grassroots organizers to boost the President's election chances through use of an innovative new social media tool called “Dashboard.” Obama for America rolled out Dashboard two weeks ago, and it allows Americans to immediately plug into their own neighborhood's organizing network of Obama supporters. I've had time to review Dashboard. Below the jump are what I think are the top five coolest things about it.
- The Obama Dashboard is an effective and efficient organizing tool. The Obama Dashboard marries the effectiveness of block-by-block organizing with digital efficiency. Shortly after signing up, I was able to begin making calls to voters in important swing states. And Obama Dashboard also connected me to an Obama for America organizer in my area immediately. A few minutes after signing in, I received the following message through Dashboard and my personal email from my neighborhood “Turf Leader,” Jessica.
- The Obama Dashboard is not just an organizing tool. It is also a community space for meeting like-minded people, and a platform where relationships can develop. Like Facebook, the Obama Dashboard invites you to upload pictures and tell the online community about yourself. It encourages constant interaction, and constant organizing, by enabling you to “like” organizing tips and providing constant updates about what people in your area are up to in a “Latest Activity” feed. You can see when your connections update their profiles and set up a community event.
- The Obama Dashboard encourages focus on objective measures of organizing success. By clicking on the “numbers” tile on the Obama Dashboard, volunteers can see their own progress toward helping reelect the President. If a volunteer calls voters using the call tool (which, by the way, is also very cool), the numbers page (see a screenshot below the fold) automatically updates with the number of call attempts and phone conversations held. If a volunteer organizes with the campaign, by knocking on doors or registering voters, that information is collected and used to update the numbers page, too.
- The Obama Dashboard reminds volunteers why they're working hard. Getting folks to volunteer for a for a campaign can be tough, and the “Get Fired Up” tile links to a page containing an up-to-the-second Election Day Countdown clock and a video intended to inspire Obama supporters. Today's video is “The Road We've Traveled,” the short documentary-style video looking at Barack Obama's first term.
- The Obama Dashboard allows you to easily control privacy settings. Many people are reluctant to join websites such as Facebook and Google+, because they don't like the idea of broadcasting their personal information across the internet. The Obama Dashboard allays those concerns by allowing you to easily control your privacy settings without even leaving the page where you enter your profile information (see a screenshot below the fold).
I hope Gilberto Hinojosa is paying attention to the Obama campaign's innovative use of technology. Aggressive online organizing by the Texas Democratic Party would would breathe new life into our party and boost the election chances of Texas Democrats up and down the ballot.