DENVER—At sporting events the big board is used for various (often inane) gags to keep the fans amused between innings or downs or plays. The Obama campaign is certainly keeping in that spirit.
Of course they're using the big board to show things like an inspirational memorial video for Martin Luther King Jr. or showing the live feed of will.i.am performing or whoever is the speaker of the moment. But during the lulls, they keep flashing Barack quizzes on the big board: What's the name of Obama's education plan? How much would Barack cut taxes for working families? Or even: Why did you join the campaign for change?
People are encouraged to text their answers—another example of the Obama campaign using interactive technologies in a novel way (novel for politics anyway). Even as I've been typing this, Obama's Colorado state director, Ray Rivera, came on stage and started talking about texting. "Take your phones out folks," he said. "Everyone here get out your phones. We're going to do some work." They've got an interactive map of the United States on the board and I guess the more texts that come from a state, the more stars on that state lights up. The United States is twinkling as I type, with the stars in California, Colorado and, I'm guessing (it's hard to tell precisely) Illinois and D.C. growing particularly fat.
Last week it was send in text messages to be the first to find out who would be the vice president. They are, as one colleague observed, better at harvesting mobile numbers than anyone else.
But to what end? If they start sending regular texts to people, they're quickly going to piss off folks who don't want phone spam (or who have to pay per text message). It'll be interesting to see how it goes.
In the meantime, here's a pic of the view from the press box. Sorry if it's small.