Yesterday, Makena Kelly reported in The Verge that Pete Buttigieg is organizing a “digital door-knocking” effort where volunteers are contacting self-identified Buttigieg supporters via Twitter in crucial battleground states. Here’s how she describes it:
As part of its efforts to get out the vote, the Buttigieg campaign has amassed roughly 200 total volunteers, spread across every Super Tuesday state and territory, to contact likely Pete supporters over Twitter. Those volunteers will reach out to a set of the @PeteforAmerica Twitter account’s over 66,000 followers, organized by the state listed in their Twitter profile.
By scraping @PeteforAmerica’s followers, the campaign was able to sort each account by state in a spreadsheet that volunteers in those states can access. The volunteers then either DM or mention the account handles to see if they need help caucusing or voting. Additionally, the volunteers measure how likely the target is to vote for Pete, rating them on a scale of one to five.
“A person offline is a person online too, and sometimes it’s just meeting them where they are, which sometimes is in their Twitter DMs,” Stefan said.
First off, this is a great idea, and I’m glad to see that the Buttigieg campaign is pursuing it. We need more campaigns leaning into this organizing and blurring the (fake) line between “digital” and “field.”
But these tactics are hardly new. NationBuilder has been facilitating this exact approach at least as far back as 2012! By connecting your organization’s Twitter account to a Broadcaster, NationBuilder automatically imports all of your follows, along with their publicly stated locations and bios. You can filter based on that information, making actionable lists of supporters and followers along the same lines as Buttigieg’s campaign is reportedly doing.
And in NationBuilder, you can go a step further — allowing your volunteers to log their interactions with these folks directly into the CRM. Where Buttigieg is tracking these interactions in spreadsheets, you’re able to store that data in a filterable and actionable way in NationBuilder.
I’m excited to see this sort of organizing becoming more mainstream, and I’m glad The Verge reported on it. But I think that it’s important to understand that (a) it’s not new or innovative and (b) it’s not outside of the reach of an organization like yours. You don’t need any custom tools or technology, just regular off-the-shelf NationBuilder (which is available to anyone).