Obama campaign’s “Holy Grail”: Dashboard

A recent article in the Guardian pointed to the Obama campaign’s “Holy Grail” of campaign technology: the so-called “Dashboard“. The “data acquired by volunteers from voters canvassing in Ohio will immediately be synced with that gathered by those running phonebanks in New Hampshire and with the outreach efforts of volunteers at myBarackObama.com, giving campaign bosses a real-time master view of the president’s re-election efforts throughout the country.” According to the article, “more than 100 statisticians, predictive modellers, data mining experts, mathematicians, software engineers, bloggers, internet advertising experts and online organizers” are still working on verifying that the tool is working according to plan before more details are released.

The idea is to provide local campaigners a tool that allows them to tap into their own local social networks and collaboratively conduct all the tasks online. The article talks about a collaborative building experience similar to Zynga’s Farmville, where players are using the support of their online social

Right now there is not much to see – only a sign up screen, but in the following YouTube video, Jeremy Bird –  Obama’s director of field organizing – explains the idea behind the dashboard:

Jeremy Bird defines the Dashboard in the video as :

  • the organizing network working to reelect President Obama,
  • an online nation-wide field office,
  • connecting supporters and bringing them the best tools to build the campaign in their community;
  • after signing up, supporters are connected to the grassroots network;
  • stay up to date on upcoming local events;
  • join a neighborhood team to register, persuade voters (a group of local volunteers);
  • build relationships with volunteers in the neighborhood;
  • Dashboard helps local volunteers to bring the national campaign office to their own desktop;
  • Call voters, report progress, see photos, updates from local team members, helps to organize day-to-day tasks
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About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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