Last week, perennial rivals Facebook and Twitter announced huge changes that are going to make elected officials and candidates much more accessible. Elections for 2016 may have just changed and here’s what you need to know.
Twitter’s Periscope App
First: the micro-blogging service Twitter finally showed the world what they were planning to do with their Periscope acquisition from earlier this year. Now anyone can be a broadcaster, with live and breaking news, all in glorious HD. It is a free download, and within 30 seconds you can be up and running. The best part is the one way audio, meaning you can hear what the broadcaster is saying without having to hear multiple people watching the stream. You can chat with the broadcaster, and you show your approval by giving “hearts,” not unlike Instagram.
The videos are only available in app, meaning unlike other products you can’t see them through a desktop browser (yet). Also, if you don’t turn off location services in the app, your exact GPS location is available through the app to your viewers. I can see it catching on quickly especially if you want to send out a quick hit. Additionally, you can save the videos to your iOS device camera roll, and then upload to a Youtube or Vimeo channel later.
Imagine, a candidate who wanted to share a quick thought or stump about an important issue. No more awkward camera angles of a laptop camera, or a whole HD broadcasting set up. You just hold up your phone in selfie position and go.
Facebook Spins Off Messenger
Second: Facebook at their F8 conference announced that they were moving away from the Facebook Messenger integration. Now, Facebook will be spinning it off into a standalone platform, which by using APIs and scripts you can Automagically™ connect third party providers and apps to the Facebook messenger platform. The ability that also was announced at F8 is the ability to inject Apps into Facebook Conversations, so if your campaign has an “official app” you can have your grassroots activists share that app, and have it integrate with conversations.
Not only can you integrate with the Facebook Messenger platform, but you can also send money (or donations), purchase items, and get targeting information all from interacting and having fans interact with your app.
The downside is that it is still Facebook. On the upside, it is Facebook, which when used correctly can be very useful a data tool, a political campaign’s dream.
Notably missing from the conversation of game changing apps has been Google. But don’t expect that to last long as the instant video streaming begins to take hold.
2016 will see campaigns become even more accessible in ways we didn’t imagine (and realistically weren’t possible) just four years ago. We will have a level of connection that will change the political landscape. Everyone wants to be able to access their public officials, from the White House on down. It’s becoming closer to a possibility.
And all from the power of our phones.