When President Obama officially launched his presidential bid back in 2007, no one saw what was coming.
He made history for the way his campaign connected with prospective voters through technological innovations like data mining and social networking (not to mention winning the election).
The effort revolutionized the way a big-time campaign interacted and involved its supporters.
Now, Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign is trying to involve the sort of people who made the bulk of their 2008 strategy possible: the techies themselves.
The Obama campaign recently opened a “technology field office” in San Francisco designed for outreach to this crowd. Remember Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, “Yes We Can?” That’s become “Yes We Code” for the techies.
The office launched with a Sunday night dinner where campaign organizers and techies met to talk shop.
Among the more than 200 attendees was Florian Hoenig, who hoped the campaign was open to new ideas from local start-ups. She told KQED:
“If it’s a very creative space, then I see a place to contribute.”
Attendees describe it as an experiment: it will either pull the tech community into political involvement, possibly revolutionizing campaigning in a way Obama did four years ago, or it will fizzle out. Not unlike a Silicon Valley start-up.
Press were not allowed access to campaign staff, but an online invitation to techies read:
“We learned from 2008 that using the talents and skills of our supporters was key to building the most effective organization. Now we’re taking the next step by providing the opportunity for supporters in the technology community to help the campaign extend our current tools.”
If the campaign’s bid for the support of the tech crowd is successful, it may just help them make history again.