"Political campaigns are using social media for real results," according to reports. And who isn't thrilled by this? Whether it's learning via Twitter that Mitt Romney made a video to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee to finally "explore" the possibility of running for president, or President Barack Obama sending out a text message to let us know that Joe Biden is going to be the Vice President, politicians are "bypassing the traditional gatekeepers" to take their message to the same gatekeepers who then report that they were bypassed. In that way, social media has allowed politicians to be more responsive than ever to their constituents.
What's that, constituents? You say that your lawmakers are just as disconnected as ever from the lives of ordinary people? Well, the imaginary social media consultant that lives in my pocket assures me that you are incorrect.
Now, the Tim Pawlenty's exciting, single-digit candidacy is taking social media involvement to the Next Level (TM). See, back in the day, the average voter might sign up with a presidential candidate because of values they had in common and the shared belief that grassroots action could facilitate sweeping political change. But the Pawlenty campaign understands that deepening the connection between campaign and volunteer requires much more. That is, it requires points and badges!
And so, here's the genius of "PawlentyAction."
Yes, now you can finally earn points and unlock trinkets for doing the important work of getting our country "back on track." Did you "connect your Facebook?" Have ten points! What about "adding your Twitter account?" Do that and you'll take home five points. Do you "want basic information kept private from other members?" Um ... well, that's cool, but there's no points for that.
You’ll get 10 free points just for getting started. And you’ll unlock points for any action you’ve already taken on TimPawlenty.com, including joining the campaign and donating.
It's not clear how many points you earn by creating a private sector job. Also unknown: how many magazine subscriptions you have to sell before Tim Pawlenty buys you a portable transistor radio.
But that's all beside the point. Why would anyone, in this day and age, contribute money or time to a presidential campaign if all they were getting in return was the vague promise of policy outcomes? This is 2011 America. We need to have the sort of instant gratification that only social media can provide. PawlentyAction promises volunteers that they will be able to see their "impact grow in real time."
As near as I can tell, points and badges accrued through PawlentyAction are not transferable to volunteers who eventually agree to work on other, more successful presidential campaigns.
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