In 2007, Barack Obama's team developed a budget for the entire Presidential campaign. That budget did not include money to develop iPhone apps. Why not, you ask? Because iPhones didn't exist... then. But by the end of the 2008 campaign, they did. Still, Obama's team did not develop an iPhone app (it wasn't in the budget).
At this point, I imagine that a many of you are saying, "I had the 2008 Obama iPhone app." I had it, too. How can that be?
The app was not built by the Obama campaign. It was built by a volunteer and donated to the campaign. That's right. It was donated five weeks before the election.
It was a good app. And Obama's lead social media and mobile staffer, Scott Goodstein, knew it was worth having. So the campaign took advantage of the opportunity and used it. While it was not agile enough to adjust its budget, it was agile enough to use the gift app.
More recently, the Human Rights Campaign decided to change the color of its logo from a yellow equal sign on a blue background to a pink equal sign on a red background and asked supporters of marriage equality to use it as their social media icon for a campaign. What was initially a small part of a large campaign to raise awareness of the upcoming Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and California Prop 8 went viral.
And with great agility, HRC moved this small part of its campaign into the center of its efforts. (Watch Dane Grams and Lindsey Twombly recount this at the July 25 Internet Advocacy Roundtable.) And HRC was rewarded with a viral explosion of the red equal sign meme.
While there were clearly other factors involved, the red equal sign meme played a big role in spreading the simple message that marriage equality was the right thing for everybody. HRC's agility took its #Time4Marriage campaign to the next level because it was able to shift gears to take advantage of an unforeseen development.
Social Advocacy & Politics is a weekly, exclusive column for Social Media Today by Alan Rosenblatt that explores the intersection of politics and social media. Look for the next installment next Tuesday morning.