Aidan Levinson, a high school senior from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, recently volunteered for Susan Wild’s successful bid for PA-07. As a self-described “tech guru,” Levinson has long recognized the importance of social media in political engagement:
Team is called “Team” because everyone gets to be a part of it. You’re on your phone 24/7. You might as well do something that will make a difference.
All of my friends are on their phones all of the time. They use social media, they don’t pick up phones calls anymore, they don’t look at the mail, they don’t look at paper things. When they get something that they actually use, they think it’s credible, they’re invested in it, they know it’s legit, and they want to be a part of it
Campaigns can’t just be about regular phone calls. The contact rate for phone calls is going down, but on social media, you get way more hits. Someone just calling a random person might say something just to get you off the phone with them, but if it’s a friend-to-friend connection, you know that data is reliable. It’s way more powerful to get a text from someone you know.
People like talking to their friends. There’s a bunch of people that you might not reach in your regular universe because they don’t pick up their phone call, but if you see your friends texting you, you actually respond to them. You read what they want, you hear what they want to say, you read what they want you to know.
This is a first step into the digital age for campaigns that might not know the right way to do it. It’s easy for them to understand, to set up, and to train [their] volunteers on. If we want to save our democracy, we need to change and adapt for the world that we’re getting into.