Thomas Peters, CEO of uCampaign, has taken the political world by storm with his smartphone apps which seek to cultivate online communities and motivate followers, using the phenomenon of “gamification”…where points and badges serve as a road map for participation in political campaigns, and allow everyday people to compete for credibility and prestige within official campaign channels, and organize.
Peters has recently offered his services to campaigns in the United States, Great Britain, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic, designing the official app for the Trump/Pence campaign, and recently inking a contract to develop an app for the UK Conservative Party.
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He notes, “we spend more and more of our time on our smartphones, and when we’re on our smartphone, we spend 87% of that time in smartphone apps, because apps are the most immersive experience” so uCampaign created “an immersive smartphone experience for people who care about politics.”
“The Ted Cruz Iowa caucus is a really great example of the interplay between big and small…by the time of the Iowa Caucuses in January of 2016 we had about 45,000 people on the official Ted Cruz app…and one of the breakthroughs that we created was their ability to match their phone address books to a voter file, so we were able to tell 45,000 people around the country, which of their friends and family in Iowa might still be undecided. And we asked them to reach out with a message saying, ‘I can’t vote in the Iowa Caucuses because I’m not in Iowa, but I hope you choose Ted Cruz, and here’s why.’ ”
He also worked with the Leave Campaign in the United Kingdom Brexit vote:
“They quickly saw that this vote leave campaign needed to have an app because they didn’t have a way of mobilizing their supporters, and so we built that app in record time, we built that app in six days, because we only had a month to go before the vote, and we released it three weeks before the vote, and in those three weeks, we were able to send out over 150,000 peer-to-peer messages, like we did in the Iowa Caucuses, and the purpose of that message was to let other people know that they were not the only ones who were thinking of voting leave.”
Peters sees the uCampaign model as a revolutionary technology for expanding democratic participation and making campaigns accessible to the everyday rank-and-file voter:
“We’re trying to do two things. We’re trying to level the playing field, and we’re trying to increase the overall participation of people in democracy, and I think that one of the most fundamental promises of the internet is that it’s supposed to be free, it should be a free forum for people, no matter their political persuasions, to share their views and to organize, and unfortunately with a lot of what I call big social, with Facebook and Twitter, there is either an intentional or unintentional bias sometimes, and that means that people who are more on the center-right side of things don’t feel as free to share their opinions and feel that their points of view aren’t represented, and so what we created with uCampaign is just a fresh sandbox where people can say anything they want, and they can choose to affiliate themselves with people they agree with. I think it’s a new paradigm.”