Posted by: ellenpayne2012 | October 28, 2012

Creepy calls from the campaign trail

Whitaker and Baxter in founding Campaigns, Inc. in the ’30s may have been the first people to make “politics a business” (The New Yorker, The Lie Factory, Sept. 24, 2012) but as the article notes, political strategists are alive and well. An Oct. 14, Oregonian article reports that strategists in both the Obama and Romney camps have access to information about our personal lives on a scale never before imagined.

Millions of voters will be receiving calls from campaign volunteers who identify themselves as “friends of friends.” Then, with script in hand culled from $13 million dollars worth of data mined from your online habits (yes, they know if you visited porn or prefer Michelob Lite over Corona) will ask you how you will spend election day (as studies show just asking such questions will increase voter turnout.)

That same hapless target might then see a Facebook post calling out those who do not plan to vote in a “public shaming” ploy. One Romney campaigner says, “You don’t want your analytical efforts be obvious because voters get creeped out.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I am, and it’s got nothing to do with Halloween! Another New York Times article that same day reported on a full court press by advertisers to disable the “Do Not Track” mechanisms now available on many browsers.

Question: Will this creepy following of our online habits, from political strategists to advertisers, backfire at some point? Or is this now the new normal? 

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