A closer look at my Rock the Vote interview

If you all think far back, you may remember that during my presentation on social/ political advocacy I mentioned that I’d been lucky enough to score a phone interview with an employee at one of my organizations of interest, Rock the Vote. I was pretty excited to get the interview. My initial efforts to reach out to my organizations came up short and I didn’t receive feedback after attempts through email, Facebook and Twitter. However, Caitlin got back to me in what seemed like minutes of my sending an inquiry to gather more information for a school project. Given the relatively brief time of the in-class presentation, I was only able to tie in a couple of important points from the interview. I thought the blog post would be a great opportunity to share more, because I felt like the interview was really informative and interesting. Below I’ve attached the questions I asked during the interview. Caitlin’s responses are not precise or in complete sentences, but my aggressive typing during the interview, I believe, was sufficient accurately capture what she said in note-form.

  • What is your job at Rock the Vote?
  • Support marketing team, focus on supporting superiors on the marketing team, managing social media and rock the vote blog
  • How does Rock the Vote use the internet to communicate its message?
  • In a lot of different ways
  • Online voter registration tool accessible through website
  • Way to register most voters in organization
  • 1.6 million voters in 2008
  • widget
  • print and mail to correct count board of elections
  • can install to other websites
  • fully functioning website w/ volunteer hub to sign up to volunteer, join events, create own events
  • list concerts, ticket giveaways, asking for volunteers registering voters at the concert
  • merchandise store online
  • social media
  • twitter: election reminders: local election days, voter registration deadlines, breaking news, updates, ticket giveaways
  • same type of updates on Facebook
  • blog: in-house or out-house writers, write about issues pertinent to young people
  •               ex. college grad wrote on Obama’s plans for student debt
  •                out of the box, opinions
  • press clips
  • interns compile important daily news clips
  •             news in technology, entertainment, breaking
  •             google list serve and on blog
  • What are the most beneficial aspects of the internet for your organization? Do you see any cons?
  • Online voter registration tool is most beneficial
  • Easy, big #s
  • Young people are so into the internet, make process simple, do it in a way that they know
  • Ease of process
  • No downsides to rock the vote’s use of internet
  • Press enter, actually process registration online
  •            What they are encouraging
  •             Encouraging modernization of voter registration
  • Rock the Vote was founded in 1990, prior to the surge of the Internet. How has Rock the Vote adapted to changes in technology over the years, particularly the rise of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter?
  • Signed on and used Facebook and Twitter to their advantage
  • Used to make a lot more cold calls, more utilization of phone-athons and going door to door
  • Reaching more people
  •             Now emails
  • There are concerns that the internet makes activism more passive. For example, someone might “like” a group on Facebook but fail to take action beyond that. Do you think this is valid? How does Rock the Vote avoid passive involvement?
  • People who participate in the Internet are probably people who wouldn’t have involved in the first place.
  • This is their way to do it
  • People that would actually do it: internet or not because they have the motivation, reasons, passionate people
  • How do you think that your demographic of young people effects the way that your organization uses the internet, or the overall importance of using the internet to connect with members?
  • Great tool
  • Voter registration tool
  • Modernize to fit them and what they are used to
  •             Doing things online

One Comment on “A closer look at my Rock the Vote interview”

  1. jbender2 says:

    First off, I think it is great that you were able to get an interview. After reading through the questions, I really think your interview was able to shed more light on the organization and just how important the internet is for them. I especially liked that you asked the question about passive activism. If people are going to seek out their Facebook or Twitter page, I think, means that they are at least somewhat interested in Rock the Vote. Even if they just “like” the page, that’s probably more than they would do otherwise. While “liking” a page can be considered passive activism if they do not participate any further, at least they were exposed to the organization’s Facebook (or Twitter) and, at a minimum, learned a little about what the organization was all about. I really believe that putting Rock the Vote on Facebook, Twitter, and a blog can only help them in the long run, which it quite obviously did since they have been able to register so many voters.

    I also think that the question you asked following the passive activism question about how the demographic of young people effects their use of the internet was a great point to discuss. Our nation has always struggled to get younger people involved with voting and elections, so the fact that they are reaching out to younger people specifically through the internet (since so many teens and young adults frequent sites like Facebook and Twitter) is really beneficial for them. They are using a tool (the internet) to target a group of people that otherwise might be difficult to reach. Young adults are always on the internet, so I can definitely understand why Rock the Vote would emphasize their use of the internet.

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