Tour de Website: Steve Grossman

Let’s continue our Tour de Website series looking for best practices on candidate web sites. Today the tour stops at the home of Steve Grossman for Governor.  There are some well-done standard features, some missed opportunities, and a real highlight.

I’ve already looked at websites for Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker. As a reminder I’m borrowing from the work of Bentley Professors Jeff Gulati and Christine B. Williams, “Closing Gaps, Moving Hurdles: Candidate Web Site Communication in the 2006 Campaigns for Congress,” in Costas Panagopoulos’s book Politicking Online: The Transformation of Election Campaign Communications. I’m going to adapt some tables Gulati and Williams developed with an edit or two of my own, for categories covering Informational Content, Involvement and Engagement, and Mobilization. So let’s see how Grossman does in the subcategories within these tables. A “Y” means such content was readily located, an “N” means it was not.

Informational Content

Position Papers/issue   positions

Y

E-mail address provided

Y

Candidate biography

Y

Campaign news

Y

audio or video clips

Y

Involvement and Engagement

Donations by   credit card

Y

Online   volunteer forms

Y

E-newsletter signup

N

Blog

N

Voting   information

N

Candidate’s   schedule

N

RSS updates

N

Online poll

N

Follow on   Twitter

Y

Follow on   Facebook

Y

Mobilization

Online   volunteer form

Y

Downloadable   materials

N

Tell a friend

N

Campaign   materials and merchandise

N

Event form

N

Letter to the   editor

N

Foreign   language content

Y

splash page

N

The informational component is very strong and it’s nice not to be assaulted by a splash page right away. You can get right to the content you presumably came here for – to find out something about Steve Grossman.

Fear not if you like what you see there are opportunities to donate or to volunteer. They are available but not overwhelming or annoying. The site makes it easy to link to Grossman’s Facebook page and Twitter account too. A lot of things we might want to see aren’t here yet though – a blog, candidates’ schedule, e-newsletter signup. The site is lacking in interactivity generally. It seems candidates still are wary of loosening control of their websites.

As for mobilization, there is room to grow there too. I love the fact that you can meet Steve not only in English but in Spanish and Portuguese. There is more room to build mobilization components including a form to request an event, letter to the editor capacity, campaign materials.

There are buttons for Issues and Newsroom, standard fare. Then there is my favorite item on the entire page – beneath the “Take Action” tab is a link to Meet the Field Team. The field director, deputy field director, community engagement director, and regional field directors are all identified; pictures and email addresses for each are provided. The text accompanying each picture is a blurb about why they love Steve; I’d rather have seen something about each of the staffers, but I still like the feature. It says we think field is important so meet the people who are important to our organization.

Anyone who is nice to the young people who provide the energy and organizational fervor gets points here.

About Maurice T. Cunningham

Maurice T. Cunningham is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He teaches courses in American government including Massachusetts Politics, The American Presidency, Catholics in Political Life, The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln, American Political Thought, and Public Policy. His book Maximization, Whatever the Cost: Race, Redistricting and the Department of Justice examines the role of the DOJ in requiring states to maximize minority voting districts in the Nineties. He has published articles dealing with the role of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts politics and on party politics in the state. His research interests focus upon the changing political culture of Massachusetts.
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2 Responses to Tour de Website: Steve Grossman

  1. Christopher says:

    When I loaded the site the first thing I see is “Join Steve”. With a place for your email and zip code. That is where you sign up for his e-newsletter so it seems pretty obvious to me. Many other campaigns use the sign up first format as well.

    • Maurice T. Cunningham says:

      It says “Get Campaign Updates” there so you are probably be right. Thanks Chris. One of our followers on Twitter is going to school me on campaign websites some so I hope the ratings will improve!

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