On Thursday evening, in an email to the president’s supporters, the Obama campaign announced the release of its organizing social network.
The network, called Dashboard, was first released in May as a way to bolster the Obama campaign’s ground game. The platform allows supporters — after signing up with their email and mailing address — to virtually plug into the campaign’s online volunteer network and join a campaign team.
“Once you join a team, you’ll have all the tools to bring the campaign field office right to you,” said Jeremy Bird, national field director for the Obama campaign, in a YouTube video introducing the platform.
“You can call voters, report your progress, see photos and updates from your team members, and a whole lot more,” Bird continued. “And if you’re a neighborhood team leader, your day-to-day tasks are going to get a whole lot easier and faster. You’ll be able to recruit new team members and manage your team’s progress from wherever you are.”
Dashboard users can organize themselves by interest groups, and will soon be able to create their own grassroots groups to campaign on behalf of the president. The campaign is calling the platform its “online nationwide field office.”
Obama leads the presidential field in terms of social media reach and influence through his high number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, and the Obama campaign already boasts a distinct data advantage, according to a recent report by Politico.com. While the campaign was recognized in 2008 for its technological savvy, the report continued, a campaign official said ”digital is no longer part of the campaign. It is the campaign.”
The launch of the platform, however, comes at a time when the president’s lead in the polls has been reduce to single digits. The Real Clear Politics Average from June 1-June 21 has Obama leading ahead of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney by a margin of only 2.2 points.
Republicans also boast their own social online organizing infrastructure.
The Republican National Committee’s Facebook page has its Social Victory Center app, where supporters and activists are able to coordinate event and volunteer opportunities, as well as access news updates. The Romney campaign’s website, MittRomney.com, allows supporters to volunteer and raise funds on behalf of the campaign.