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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/1/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Formerly groundbreaking Obama app now seen as 'old hat'

Both the Mitt Romney and Barack Obama campaigns have unveiled new smart-phone apps. The Romney app quickly jumped to a sizable lead in downloads over the Obama app. According to iTunes, the Romney app No. 15 among free apps, while President Obama's languished at No. 149. Some analysts view the apps as little more than gimmicks that will not outlast Romney's announcement for his running mate.

Some say that Mitt Romney's app will have no ostensible purpose after the vice-presidential selection is announced, expected at the end of August.

Some say that Mitt Romney's app will have no ostensible purpose after the vice-presidential selection is announced, expected at the end of August.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/1/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Apps, smart phones, Obama, Romney, campaign


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Romney app is simply called "Mitt's VP," and is hoped to be the place that the world turns to when Romney announces his VP. However -- the Obama campaign in 2008 tried the exact same thing with texting, but the news wound up being leaked to the media well before the official text message.

Romney's app will have no ostensible purpose after the vice-presidential selection is announced, expected at the end of August. The app encourages users to follow the campaign on Twitter and connect on Facebook.

In contrast, the Obama app is more complex and more of a grass-roots mobilizing tool. It will allow users to find campaign events in their area and gives them an easy ways to volunteer, make phone calls and canvass.

In 2008, the Obama team was truly groundbreaking in the ways it employed technology. In the four long years since then, Americans' reliance on smart phones has increased exponentially, creating even more opportunities for campaigns to communicate with voters.

Other than journalists, who must have the apps, who is actually downloading these apps? It has also become apparent that the smart-phone campaign has come with some less positive side effects.

Many agree that the 2012 campaign is not only entering new territory when it comes to technology, but is also leading to triviality. Much of the blame has been placed on the fact that social-media communication tends to thrive on cheap shots and mountains-from-molehill controversies.

BuzzFeed posted a telling screen-shot comparison this week of subject lines in Obama campaign e-mails from 2008 and 2012. From 2008, headings read "Strategy briefing," "June numbers," and "Our platform." In 2012, messages went out with the subject lines: "Warning: This picture is cute," "You'll need to comb your hair for this," and "So cool."

While this strategy may show that the Obama campaign needs to distract users from the bad economy, it's hard to see how an "LOL campaign" that focuses on gimmicks and gaffes will give voters any more confidence in their leaders.

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