Using text messaging in political campaigns and social movements is old news in most of the world, yet it is just breaking through into the public consciousness in the US with the Obama campaign announcing it will use it to announce his Vice Presidential choice. Garrett Graff has a nice piece in the NYT today putting some context to the decision. Among his observations:
The move should add thousands — and more likely tens or hundreds of thousands — of cellphone numbers to what is already one of the most detailed political databases ever created.
A study conducted during the 2006 elections showed that text-message reminders helped increase turnout among new voters by four percentage points, at a cost of only $1.56 per vote — much cheaper than the $20 or $30 per vote that the offline work of door-to-door canvassing or phone banking costs.
I wonder what the cost savings and impact on reach and service efficiency would be if we used SMS more regularly in public health programs instead of our more costly door-to-door and other resource intensive services?