The true power of social media during a presidential election was really first seen in 2008 between now-President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. Taking things a step further for this election, political fundraising and social media are now converging on Twitter.
Chirpify, the relatively new Twitter e-commerce platform, makes donating money to campaigns as easy as tweeting. Not only that but “Tweet a Presidential Candidate” also lets users of the microblogging site track donations coming into each campaign. It’s “ChirpPolitics.”
Users who are signed up with Chirpify, a start-up that received $1.3 million in April to expand its platform for Twitter, simply need to Tweet “Donate $amount to @BarackObama for Election 2012” or “Donate $amount to @MittRomney for Election 2012.”
“There are hundreds of millions of dollars being raised for U.S. political campaigns every year, and an estimated 140 million Twitter users,” Chirpify CEO and Founder Chris Teso said in a statement. “Yet until now there was no way to directly exchange currency on Twitter. It is a no brainer to introduce Twitter Fundraising for Politicians.”
Not only will Chirpify be available for the presidential election but, according to the company, two dozen congressional candidates will be linking up their fundraising efforts with the service as well.
“Engagement is not the problem for politicians on Twitter, what is an issue is turning that interaction into donations,” said Digital Acumen, Twitter’s politics digital agency, CEO and Founder Andrew Hemingway. “Either potential donors get sidetracked when following a donation link from Twitter or politicians need a computer science degree to set up an online donation platform. Chirpify provides a simple solution by processing donations without ever having to leave Twitter.”
Initially, Chirpify, which links to PayPal accounts, was created to target those in the music industry. Here’s more from Billboard Biz, which calls Chirpify the “simplest social commerce platform you’ve ever seen,” on what sets the site apart as an e-commerce platform:
After replying to a tweet or retweet with the word “buy,” Chirpify will deduct the amount of the item from the user’s PayPal account and send a secure buy link. Someone who replies “buy” but isn’t a member will receive a reply that includes a link to sign up. Creating an account and linking a Chirpify and Twitter account takes less than 30 seconds.
A couple things make Chirpify special. First, it’s ideal for mobile phone users because it does not require opening an additional app or Web page to complete a transaction. Second, the service can be used by any two people to send money to one another via PayPal. This combination of ease of use and scalability could provide Chirpify a powerful first-mover advantage and give it an install base large enough to fend off future competitors. Of course, the devil will be in the details and execution, but right now the company is starting off with a product filled with potential.
Using Chirpify for donations is not a first. Prior to including political fundraising, the service was used also for donating to non-profits.
Learn more about Chirpify here.