Text Messaging Vital in the Fight for Immigration Reform
The Center for Community Change organized the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a group dedicated to giving voice to those who are often not free to come forward themselves. The most important tool in FIRM's arsenal has been a text messaging network, now managed by the Reform Immigration for America campaign (RI4A). Rachel LaBruyere, Deputy Online Director of RI4A, told the Huffington Post, "Texting from a mobile network makes it possible for the community to quickly respond in real time when President Obama or another legislator makes a controversial or important comment about immigration reform." The ubiquity of cellular phones, and text messaging, has been crucial to the network's success.
In one case, the network was used to ask members of RI4A to call the White House and express gratitude towards President Obama's pursuit of immigration reform. The request was met with over 30,000 phone calls being placed.
RI4A's rapid response network is impressive not only in size, but also in its execution. Most actions begin with a text message that includes a brief description of who you should call, and why, along with a toll free number and a request to forward the text message to others. Calling the toll-free number automatically routes your call to the appropriate recipient (e.g., your Senator's office), and plays a brief 30-second prep message (in either English or Spanish) explaining what to say once you have a representative on the phone. At the end of the call, a message thanking you is sent to your phone, and you're then asked to join the text messaging network or to enlist others.
While tons of press have been devoted to the power of social networking in politics, the less flashy Short Message Service may turn out to be far more important. Simple text messages are instant, cheap, and, most importantly, accessible to the majority of Americans, legal or otherwise. [From: Huffington Post]