Romney VP Announcement App

So, Mitt Romney is going to give first notice of his vice presidential selection to those who download a smart phone app.

The Hill (“Romney campaign to announce VP selection via smartphone app“):

Mitt Romney’s campaign announced Tuesday that supporters can sign up to be the first to learn of the presumptive Republican nominee’s vice presidential choice by downloading a new smartphone app.

“The first official way to learn the name of the Republican vice presidential candidate is by using our new ‘Mitt’s VP’ app,” said Romney digital director Zac Moffatt in a statement. “Users of the app will be the first to get the news on the biggest political decision of the year through an instantaneous alert on the one device most people carry around the clock — their phone.”

The app will push a notification to supporters’ phones instantly after the name is released from Romney headquarters, and allow users to share and comment on it across a variety of social networks. The application will be free on both the iPhone and Android operating systems, and can be downloaded here.

Aaron Brazell, who does code for a living, is perplexed: “What kind of nonsense is that? I legitimately don’t get it.” He adds, “an app is like a sledgehammer with a finishing nail.” But this could be a shrewd move, depending on how its played.

The approach is the evolution of a 2008 move by the Obama campaign that sent a text message to supporters announcing the selection of now-Vice President Joe Biden. That approach was widely heralded as a way for the Obama campaign team to collect phone numbers for supporters that could later be used for get-out-the-vote and fundraising efforts. The president’s campaign continues to send text messages to users’ phones today.

But depending on how the Romney app works, it could provide even more demographic information to the campaign. Upon installation, the application asks permission to access data about where a user is located, and urges supporters to log in using social networks like Twitter. That could allow the campaign large-scale data harvesting, an invaluable tool for campaign staff looking to tailor advertising and fundraising efforts.

And unlike the Obama campaign’s text messages, users can donate or buy merchandise straight from the application. That reduces the effort required from supporters when the campaign pushes a fundraising ask.

As for me, since the news will hit Twitter 3 seconds after the app lights up and a CNN Breaking News alert will hit my inbox soon thereafter (or, more likely, a second one, correcting the erroneous one sent two minutes before the app lights up) I’ll bide my time.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Science & Technology, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I’m trying to envision just how bored, or how ADHD addled, or OCD laden, someone would have to be actually to sign up for that dog & pony show. Does not compute. Ah, well, P.T. Barnum was a wise man, it would appear.

  2. Dustin says:

    This is the same campaign that has troves of Twitter bots jacking up their follower numbers, so I’m not sure I’d trust they’re socially media savvy enough to make this a shrewd move.

  3. anjin-san says:

    As someone who has developed a few apps, I am wondering how you go about building boredom into the app itself…

  4. anjin-san says:

    The opportunity to earn exclusive campaign gear is a real carrot…