I know mobile is the future. To some degree I experience it and participate, for example through Twitter. I use Twitter both personally (@LisaColton) and professionally (@DarimOnline), and use Twitter clients on my iphone to read and post and connect all over the place. The last 48 hours at NTEN have perhaps been the most prolific to date – there’s so many excellent nuggets of wisdom here. (Check out my twitter stream, and the #09NTC steam from all participants).
But as I think about mobile fundraising campaigns, etc. I remain somewhat skeptical. Let me revise that: I feel that the technology is still “in the way”, and as Clay Shirky said this morning, “the tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.” Mobile technology just isn’t boring yet, but it is moving from awkward to interesting.
NTEN has engaged Mobile Commons to set up a text message based evaluation system for this conference. That’s right, you TEXT your rating and comments, rather than writing it on paper. Less paper, easier to compile the data, super convenient. I was at first confused how it would work, but then I just went for it — texted the session number NTC189 to the short code they gave us 68966. Half a second later the first questions popped up. I entered my rating and hit send. The next question. IT WAS SO SIMPLE and satisfying. Success. I do expect that it will take some time before the masses are comfortable with such uses of mobile, but the future will be here shortly, and thus it’s useful for us to learn what the early adopters are doing, and start to dip our toes in the water.
Other examples shared here have been integrated with video, advocacy campaigns, fundraising and more. What’s the lesson? Though you may not be using mobile campaigns now, it is the future, and thus you should be collecting your constituents cell phone numbers now. They will come in handy a few months or years down the road.