Facebook application developers were in the spotlight for the second week in a row at the social network’s “Apps and Drinks” event held in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday to coincide with the kickoff of the Democratic National Convention. A similar event was held last week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
This time, app developers aligned with Democrats were featured in a contemporary art gallery. For campaigns, advocacy organizations, and any group using grassroots to advance ideas or legislative agendas, Facebook is rapidly evolving into a necessary resource.
As one company representative noted, Facebook is becoming akin to a virtual volunteer. Campaigns are leveraging Facebook to accomplish basic campaign tasks — from phone banking to door knocking and direct mailings. And rich voter data are overlayed on the Facebook platform tapping into the most powerful connection of all, friends connecting with friends.
The event highlighted the following Democratic apps:
- NGP VAN: The integration tool behind last year’s “We Are Ohio” campaign recently launched Social Organizing, which enables people to match their Facebook friends to voter files, powering voter ID, grassroots fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and get-out-the-vote efforts. The firm says that 30,000 actions have been completed through the tool. Two-thirds of these were part of last year’s effort to overturn an anti-union law. As Tobias Quaranto, a sales director with NGP VAN, told AllFacebook, the tool is now faster and more “fierce” than before. Among the features he highlighted for us was the enhanced “friend mapping” feature, which is ideal for campaigns and advocacy groups, as well as a stronger “gamification” component that allows users to post badges publicly to their Facebook walls when they make calls or send emails to their friends.
- Obama for America: The Obama Facebook app helps people share stories, videos, voter registration info, and other campaign activities with friends, while also helping President Barack Obama‘s campaign reach a much broader audience not already on its site.
- Our Time: Our Time is a site dedicated to youth empowerment through the voting process. Their voter registration app can be added to any Facebook page and allows people to connect via Facebook to register to vote and share with their friends.
- AFL-CIO’s Workers’ Voice: Political action committee Workers’ Voicee recently introduced the Friends & Neighbors app, which empowers activists to carry AFL-CIO’s message to friends by matching their Facebook connections to AFL-CIO’s targeted voters on the voter file.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) was seen at the event (pictured below), along with Facebook representatives with roots in Democratic politics, including Joe Lockhart and Sarah Feinberg, a former special assistant to Obama.
Readers: Have you used any of the apps Facebook featured in Tampa or Charlotte?