It was only a matter of time.
On June 19, Portland-based Chirpify announced its Twitter Fundraising for Politicians platform. Chirpify, which was originally founded earlier this year as a way for consumers to make purchases through Twitter, will now serve as a conduit to donate to the Romney and Obama presidential campaigns.
The interface is pretty simple. Just send a tweet that says, “Donate $20 to @BarackObama for Election 2012” or “Donate $20 to @MittRomney for Election 2012,” and you’ll have given $20 to the campaign of your choice. But first, of course, you have to sign up for Chirpify with your PayPal and Twitter accounts. According to Chripify, this platform will demystify social media by literally monetizing tweets.
Chirpify also launched a website designed to allow donors to track donations and give to the campaigns. It’s called www.tweetlection.com. Kinda cool, right?
Part of what makes this unique is that it turns donating to a political campaign into an extremely public act. If you donate to Mitt Romney, all of your followers are potentially going to see it on their Twitter feeds. Perhaps, some will be inspired to donate by your boldness, but others may be turned off. (American politics can be cruelly partisan, after all.)
It’s especially (although not solely) during presidential election years that Americans reduce the goals of a presidency into easy-to-repeat slogans: “Forward.” “Believe in America.” “Career Businessman.” “Community Organizer.” Because candidates are billed like brands, tweets aren’t just a choice anymore — they’re a necessity. Especially if, with Chirpify, they can bring in cash.
Obama and Romney have become as much brands as they are people.
Which brand — if either — will you buy into?
Erin Dostal is a reporter at Direct Marketing News.