Voters' Cells Haven't Seen The Last of Obama

Now that he has your number, will Barack Obama ever text you again?

And if he does, will he turn into the hard-to-get-rid of, incessant boyfriend-type who just won't leave you alone?

For those who signed up to receive the Obama campaign's text message announcement of his running mate on the Democratic ticket, chances are it won't be the last time the presidential hopeful makes their cell phone ring.

"Moving forward, we're going to continue to keep our supporters engaged with our valuable two-way communication tool," said Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro of the campaign's plan to send out additional texts in the months leading up to the Nov. 4 general election.

But several tech analysts told that successfully tip-toeing the line between informative and overkill is imperative for the campaign, to prevent a backlash from constituents who may grow weary of a campaign that doesn't know when to stop pressing "send."

"[The campaign] has to be very careful that they don't annoy people," said Jack Gold, tech analyst and president of J. Gold Associates. "If they start sending out stuff -- even if they think it is good information -- and it annoys people, they're going to turn them off, and that's not what they want to do to their electorate."

How Much Is Too Much?

Determining how often is too often to blast supporters on their cell phones, said Gold, is complicated, particularly considering the sheer diversity of those the campaign can reach via text message.

"What is considered to be 'too many' is different for everyone," said Gold. "You might be OK with 20 messages a day, and I might be annoyed with two a day."

Shapiro said the Obama campaign is no more worried about overdoing cell phone correspondence than they are about the other ways they communicate with constituents.

"With any type of communication, you want to make sure you're giving information that people want and need and only send what is really important," he said.

Cell Phone Message vs. E-mail Message

Todd Rogers, the executive director of the Analyst Institute, added that those who have signed up for the text messages are likely already Obama supporters, making them the type of people who may not mind as much campaign information as they can get their hands -- or fingertips -- on.

"Usually, when you have an opt-in program like this text message program, you won't have any undecideds or persuadable voters," said Rogers. "They are already supporters."

Another potential problem with a text message program, said Gold, is the ability of older constituents to understand what a text message even is.

"Text messaging is very generation-specific," said Gold. "Sixty-year-olds don't do text messaging, but if you want to hit 15- and 20-year-olds, then yes, they all do text messaging."

"E-mail is much more general -- there are 60-year-olds who do e-mail and do it regularly," added Gold.

But Shapiro said that texting is not replacing other more conventional ways of spreading campaign information among constituents.

"All the previous avenues -- in-person meetings and canvassing -- is still being done. We're just adding an element to help engage people who have never been involved in politics and who are active on social networking sites," said Shapiro.

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