The Thick of It

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Friday, August 06, 2010

"Hi it's Ken Livingstone"

I was feeling a little undervalued by both the Labour leadership and mayoral candidates as none had courted by votes by phone. I tend to ignore emails and papers that come in the post. You can blame the bank and my many online lottery wins for that. I don't ignore text messages. Yet.

That all changed last week when "Ed Milliband" texted me to court my vote. I said I wouldn't support him and was promised a call back within five days. That was five days ago, so I'm looking forward to tonight's call with his team.

The texting now never stops. "Ken Livingstone" has just texted seemingly everyone I know in the London Labour Party asking for their vote. Again, I said no and have been promised a call from his team. Lets see whether who, if anyone, calls me first?

I think connecting with members through a range of channels is commendable. I'd like to know how much this costs. Can we get the same from Oona King? I certainly hope so, as Ed Milliband's claim to have recruited over a thousand campaign volunteers this way would be valuable. 

8 comments:

Colm said...

Hmm, the two campaigns saying people have "volunteered" is a bit disingenuous. I answered yes to Ken on the question on whether he could count on my support. I take that to mean I'm going to vote for him over Oona, with some reservations. That is hardly like saying I'm going to pound the streets, or phonebank for him.

In general though I think the texting thing is a good way to engage people. I hope they don't overuse it though. It should be cheap in theory (I always have 100s of left over free texts at the end of a month) but I think parties tend to get suckered into paying over the odds when it comes to technology.

Anonymous said...

The 'volunteer' numbers only count those who've answered yes to a second question as to whether they'd like to help, so it's not the same as the general level of support.

If you have a volunteer to sort the response technology, the outbound texts cost as little as 4.5p - so much the same as a leaflet and, at least for now, a very effective way of reaching people.

Tim McLoughlin said...

I'd suggest that a text is more valuable than a leaflet. Even with a response form on a leaflet you'd be lucky to get more than a 5% return. Texting is so easy that I'm sure the response rate is significantly higher, therefore it is far more useful.

Colm said...

Anon - Ah, yes, I only just got the follow up text.

Olly said...

I'd be interested to see if the follow up phone-calls come along.

Obviously calling everyone who says no costs a lot of volunteering hours but if you say you're going to call then you have to do it otherwise you get a lot of people saying "his campaign said he'd ring but he never bothered" which will cost you.

Other minor gripe is everyone saying it's groundbreaking. It was groundbreaking when Obama did it in 2008, less so now.

Colm said...

True about it not being ground breaking. I've owned a mobile phone since 1999.

Tim McLoughlin said...

I still haven't been called by Ed Milliband's campaign. They made a very specific promise to me that they would call me by today. There are only seven and a half hours to go.

I think that makes his campaign look bad. Why make such a specific promise if you can't meet it?

Ed Milliband's campaign has form though. A close friend of mine was called by them and offered to help the campaign. They invited her to a "secret" event. They promised to tell her the location so she could help. They never called back.

Jeremy smyles said...

http://kenlivingstoneformayor.blogspot.com/
Ken will only win the election if he re-evaluates his attitudes and policies during his last term in office.