Relational organising is here to help you vote. Yay!


“Your voter registration and phone book, please”

Relational organising is here to help you vote. Yay! /img/politicians-want-contacts.jpg

Political advertising on Facebook? That’s so 2016. Today the must-have campaigning tool is your own app that “cuts ‘big social’ and gives you direct access to your supporters.”

Political campaign strategists are getting diminishing returns from big social media platforms, thanks to restrictions (both those that cannot possibly work and those that maybe could) by the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter. This is why, says the Financial Times (FT), politicians no longer just want your donation or your vote: “they want your contacts book too”.

All vote “relational organising” apps

A very promising way to completely bypass the expenses and restrictions of large social media platforms is called “relational organising”. All a campaign needs to have is its own smartphone apps that:

  • asks the users the list of akk her phone contacts
  • sends those contacts to the campaign database, where they are cross-referenced against voter databases and other sources
  • creates, using all those data, individual messages for each of those contacts, that encourage them to vote as their friend
  • encourages the user to send those messages to their friends

For maximum effectiveness, the individual messages would be likely created on the spot, thanks to machine learning. Which, as we know, is always right. Not.

Studies of relational organising have proved, says FT, that these “suggestions” by friends, not strangers, could increase turnout “by an average of 2.8 percentage points” That is, more than enough to swing many major elections these days, or referendums like Brexit.

Who is the product, again?

Tim Lim, a former US Democratic digital adviser, said: “The 2020 campaigns are going to be targeting not just you but your friends. It is not just about who you are, it is who you are connected to”.

Hey, look! That’s exactly what I said years ago: “if you are not the customer, YOUR FRIENDS are the product!”

If this is “Relational organising”…

Then this is its real meaning:

“If you support some party that is considered dangerous by your current government, but never gave any public sign of your preference, the government can still know it, thanks to your friends”. All it has to do is to access that “relational organising” database.

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