Anyone that follows politics knows that it has not been much about conciliation or finding common ground lately. However, in the midst of all the acrimony, there are two things whose compatibility has become increasingly clear: cloud computing and political campaigns.
For one, a state or national political campaign is one of the least geographically centralized types of organizations. It is usually composed of a campaign headquarters, regional offices, and thousands of independent volunteers. A cloud IT infrastructure would allow everyone in the campaign to stay connected and share documents and data. Secondly, political campaigns are temporary. Most of them are only needed in the handful of months before an election. With a cloud IT infrastructure, the campaign would not have to purchase any hardware or hire any on-site personnel. It would only have to rent a cloud-based infrastructure or hosted applications for a few months, after which it could transfer its voter and volunteer data to a low-cost data storage device or service. Finally, campaigns can use the cloud (in the form of social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) to communicate directly and instantaneously with millions of potential voters. This is a much more direct, cost-efficient, and effective means of communication compared to television ads, direct mail, call centers, and email.
Political observers credit Barack Obama with demonstrating the effectiveness of cloud-based social media and it making a must-have for all campaigns. In the 2008 presidential election, he used YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to rally his supporters and solicit donations. Obama has made heavy use of them again in this year’s presidential election: according to the Pew Research Center, he has 29 more tweets per day and twice the number of YouTube videos and blog posts than his challenger Mitt Romney, resulting in twice the number of views, comments, and shares. Obama also has five times as many Facebook fans as Romney.
Unfortunately for Obama supporters, Facebook “likes” and Twitter “follows” don’t count the same as electoral votes. But social media and other cloud-based technologies can still influence the election by improving campaigns and engaging and informing the electorate. A few of the cloud-based applications that could influence the results in November include:
–The official Obama and Romney smartphone apps. Both of these apps provide information about the candidates’ political platforms, latest news, and upcoming events. They also give the user the opportunity to donate to his or her preferred candidate. The Obama app also gives a supporter the ability to register as a campaign volunteer, as well as provides the addresses of registered Democrats in their area.
–Campaign management software. With online applications such as the Campaign Cloud, campaigns can manage and keep track of their communications, staff members, and funds.
–Facebook voter registration. This year, citizens of Washington State can register to vote via their Facebook profile.
–PolitiFact and Ad Hawk. These free cloud-based apps aim to protect voters from lies and misleading advertisements. PolitiFact fact-checks the major claims of the candidates. It ranks each claim’s level of truth from “true” to “pants on fire.” Ad Hawk can tell the user what person or groups paid for a television and radio political advertisement. The app will automatically recognize the ad by its audio signature.
–News apps. These cloud-based smartphone apps from organizations such as NBC News, Fox News, and Politico keep users up-to-date about the latest political events and poll numbers.
A person doesn’t have to be running for office to benefit from cloud computing, however. Any organization can achieve better centralization, coordination, and cost-efficiency with a Private Cloud from IronOrbit. Unlike an on-site IT infrastructure, our anywhere-available Virtual Desktops and Hosted Applications can be accessed by any authorized user—whether they are an employee, contractor, or business partner or located at headquarters, a subsidiary office, at home, or traveling. Just as cloud-based political applications focus the energies and actions of thousands of people towards a single goal, IronOrbit Private Clouds help businesses standardize their processes and function as a single-minded team.