With nearly everyone having a mobile phone these days, live calls and emails will likely connect you directly with a voter.
And so will text messages.
Mass text messaging is now a service phone vendors, including my own vendor of choice, provides to candidates and campaigns.
However, I’ve been reluctant to put text messages into my voter contact arsenal.
I think text messaging is a very personal activity.
Texting usually takes place between two people who know and are familiar with one another.
When someone texts me that I don’t know, especially if their phone number is not in my iPhone, I’m annoyed.
I’m especially irritated when a person sends me a text as a first point of contact.
It seems rude to me and is why I have not used blast text messaging on any political campaigns.
This past weekend my views of sending unsolicited political text messages was validated by a friend.
Here’s the message she was sent by a candidate, her reply to the message, and what she asked me about the message.
You can clearly see that candidate Shastina Sandman’s unsolicited text didn’t win her a supporter – it cost her a vote.
My friend who is quite politically astute and always votes was put off by Shastina’s text.
Because as I mentioned earlier, texting is a somewhat personal activity.
If you are going to send text messages to someone, you better know them personally.
If you don’t you’re going to come off as pushy, rude, and inconsiderate.
Ms. Sandman also made two other major campaign mistakes when she sent out this blast text.
First, she sent it on Sunday, May 13, 2018, which in the United States is Mother’s Day.
Under no circumstances should a candidate ever be actively campaigning on Mother’s Day.
It is disrespectful to the those who are celebrating this unofficial holiday.
I wrote about this in a previous article about never campaigning on an unofficial holiday which you can read here.
Actively campaigning on unofficial holidays, like Mother’s Day, makes the candidate look like a jerk.
Quite honestly it also makes you look unfamiliar with American traditions.
If you’re unfamiliar or ignorant of American traditions, then you look un-American.
In most precincts, voters don’t cast their ballots for candidates who come off as un-American.
Secondly, Ms. Sandman’s campaign did a horrible job of targeting with this message.
Yes my friend is a highly likely voter and yes she is female.
However, she does not have any children.
Sending a text to a single woman without any kids that reads “Happy Mommy’s Day” is lazy and lame.
My friend was obviously annoyed by the text and therefore opted out.
But what about a woman who received this text that’s been trying for a long time to conceive?
Or what if the recipient was a mother who had lost a child?
This text message could have been emotionally gut-wrenching for any woman in such a position – especially on Mother’s Day.
Shastina Sandman should have thought twice before she ever approved and sent this blast text message.
If you’re going to use blast text messages to communicate with voters, you’re doing so at your own peril.
Text messages are a very personal type of communication in our culture.
Barging into someone’s smart phone with an unsolicited text message could cost you votes.
For that reason alone, I recommend sticking to live telephone calls and emails if you want to reach voters on their mobile phones.