You’ve likely noticed that political campaigns are becoming increasingly creative in using new communication tools. Text messages in particular have become a widely popular way to reach out to potential voters and encourage them to participate in the election process.
And while text messages can be a great way to connect with voters, they also raise some ethical questions about when and how they should be used.
One big question is whether or not it’s moral and ethical for campaigns to send unsolicited text messages to people who haven’t opted in to receive them. Some people argue that these types of messages are no different than spammy text message marketing, which is illegal unless the receiver has actively opted in to receive them. Others say that political texts are different because they serve a civic purpose and inform citizens about important voting information.
So what do you think? Should SMS solicitation be legal during political campaigns, or should it be treated just like other forms of text message marketing? Let us know yourHowever, some people argue that this type of messaging crosses the line into spam territory. As important as voting may be, whether or not choose to I vote, and who I vote for, are essentially private matters. And in the same way that the FCC has set up legislation to protect me from companies pestering me about what coffee to drink and what car to drive, they should lay off my right to vote. On the other hand, a democracy is inherently strengthened by the number of active voters, and so maybe in the name of democracy, it’s objectively better that I be encouraged and guided to exercise my right as a free thinking citizen. So, what is the truth? Are text messages used in political campaigns an invasion of privacy, or are they a valuable tool for getting people out to vote?
There is no doubt that SMS messages can be a powerful way to reach potential voters. In fact, one study after another shows that text messages are far more likely to be read and responded to than email or other forms of electronic communication. This is especially true during election season, when people are inundated with traditional campaign ads that they’re most likely to tune out.
However, there is also a downside to using SMS messages in political campaigns. Because they are so personal and immediate, they can sometimes come across as intrusive or even aggressive. Additionally, there is always the risk that people will sign up to receive SMS updates from a campaign without realizing it, which could lead to them feeling overwhelmed or spammed.
Despite these risks, text messages remain an extremely effective way to reach voters. Prior to the 2020 presidential election, the one that was unofficially dubbed “the texting election”, over a billion text messages were sent to potential voters.
In order to make sure that SMS campaigning doesn’t cross the line into spam territory, it is important for campaigns to be respectful of people’s privacy and only send messages when they are solicited by the recipient. Additionally, campaigns should make sure that their SMS updates are easy to unsubscribe from if people no longer want them.
By following these simple guidelines, SMS campaigning can be a powerful tool for getting more people out to vote and strengthening our democracy. So go ahead and sign up for updates from your favorite campaign – just be sure to unsubscribe if you start feeling overwhelmed!