Thursday, October 09, 2008

First "friend to friend" card of the season -- and it doesn't come in the mail

I received a "friend to friend" card the other day, this one encouraging me to support the retention efforts of Judge Lewis Michael Nixon, pictured at right.

Friend to friend cards are sent at every election cycle by friends and family of judges hoping to retain their posts. This is frequently done on behalf of individual judges in addition to the joint effort on behalf of all retention candidates. (I recently wrote about the joint retention campaign.)

A lot of voters will receive postcards touting one judge or another from parents of their kids' high school classmates, church members, or from persons with whom they only otherwise correspond at the Holidays. The theory is that a voter receiving such a card will think, "Jane Smith says Judge Jones is a good egg, so I'll remember to vote for her on Election Day."

I don't know if the effectiveness of these cards has or even could be established. But I do know that this particular card, supporting Judge Nixon, was unusual because it didn't come in the regular post; it was delivered by email. In fact, the picture I've used here of Judge Nixon was clipped from that email. The poor job of editing out the background is, alas, mine.

I called the lawyer (a colleague of long-standing) who sent me the email (e-card?) to ask where he got the idea and whether he thought that e-cards might quickly become the norm for this sort of campaigning. My colleague decided he would rather not be quoted, so I'll have to venture my own prediction: This will catch on.

A postcard can only convey a limited amount of information. The e-card received on behalf of Judge Nixon conveyed that same sort of information in the text of the email itself, including the personalized endorsement, but (thanks to the miracle of attached files) there was a also a two page flyer in the ubiquitous Adobe format containing an expanded biography of the judge and a plug for the campaign on behalf of and a cite to the website supporting all the Cook County retention judges. The busy voter can easily explore the claims made on behalf of the candidate by his or her emailing friend -- and the candidate is spared the expense of postage. Yes, this will most certainly catch on.

No comments: