Obama's Tech Outreach Betrays Small Glitches - InformationWeek

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5/30/2008
12:11 PM
K.C. Jones
K.C. Jones
Commentary
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Obama's Tech Outreach Betrays Small Glitches

While Sen. Barack Obama unveiled an impressively broad technology policy plan last November, his campaign still has a few glitches to work out in terms of its own use of online technology for outreach.

While Sen. Barack Obama unveiled an impressively broad technology policy plan last November, his campaign still has a few glitches to work out in terms of its own use of online technology for outreach.To follow up on the nine-page overview that Obama released last November, I visited the campaign's Web site and submitted a request for a media interview. Unfortunately, instead of receiving a call or e-mail from a spokesperson, I received spam encouraging me to volunteer, donate, and attend events as a supporter.

I subsequently sent a follow-up e-mail requesting removal from the voter list, explaining that I report on politics and therefore do not participate in campaigns. I also explained that, as a voter and citizen, this kind of mix up -- and spam -- would do nothing to inspire my support.

Still, no call from the campaign's press staff.

Months later, I finally received a call, on my company cell phone in the evening. A woman working with the Obama campaign wanted to know if I could help with their phone banks in New York City.

I told the seemingly understanding recruiter how the campaign had received my contact information. I explained that since I report on the candidates, at no time would I participate in any of their campaigns. I also told her I work for a weekly publication that reaches nearly 500,000 business technology professionals and an online news site often featured on Google News.

She apologized and said asked if I was still interested in speaking with a press officer. I told her that I wasn't working on any current stories but I would like to make contact for future stories. She said that a press officer would likely get back to me. That was at least several weeks ago.

Again, no call. No e-mail.

So, dear readers, while the Obama campaign appears to reach out directly to voters with interactive features on its Web site, it has more work to do in terms of reaching out to reporters and, by extension, you.

Since Obama took the initiative to release a comprehensive technology policy, it would be nice if his staff could show he means business and respond to press that serve technology professionals.

Now that I've been asked to do this blog, I have sent another media request. I'll let you know if it results in real news or more spam.

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