Before attending a Trump rally in 2016, I signed up for President Trump's messaging service and I thought I would receive news alerts, but I have only received glorified propaganda.
The statement, "Text Trump to 88022," was omnipresent throughout Trump's campaign, but details regarding the messaging service were scarce. I, like many others, am now receiving propaganda, requests for donation, and the occasional, "Prayers out to [insert victim]," text.
Callum Borchers, writer for The Washington Post said, "Getting voters to sign up for text alerts is a great idea, in theory. Oft-cited research by the digital marketing firm Dynmark International shows people open 98 percent of the text messages they receive. That's an insanely high rate — like triple the open rate for emails. Yet Trump's very limited use of text messaging involves not-at-all-exclusive reminders to vote and ads for his hats."
While Trump's overuse of propaganda is not exactly concerning, his under-use of the messaging service is. He could be capitalizing on constituent concern rather than pushing for this one way, asymmetrical approach to communication.
Sertan Kabadayi, a marketing professor at Fordham University said, "First of all, don't send some text message with nothing valuable in it. Don't use the SMS messages just like another platform to send the same message that you send through other channels, like your email or Facebook page. However, do not miss out on the opportunities to reach to that receptive audience when you have something new or important to say. There should be an overall message strategy in the first place: What do you want to say to your target audience?
Trump has considered this, and has decided he wants to move forward with utilizing the FEMA wireless alert line to instill his texts in times of emergency; However, this is also concerning in his uneven approach to digital media political messages.
The problem is that we have a president who is very inclined to asserting his opinion, especially via Twitter.
Should he be granted this access?
You may worry about him asserting on topics like his opinions on Russia or Kavanaugh, for example.
Any personal insertion of opinion in these FEMA messages is, however, illegal.
States the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2015: "Except to the extent necessary for testing the public alert and warning system, the public alert and warning system shall not be used to transmit a message that does not relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety, "
This plan has the ability to capitalize on those with access, when in disaster. The guidelines are very clear, too. Alerts from WEA cover only specific emergency situations, by "only three types of alerts: 1. Alerts issued by the President 2. Alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life 3. Amber Alerts. Participating carriers may allow subscribers to block all but Presidential alerts," as cited by NY Mag.
"Oft-cited research by the digital marketing firm Dynmark International shows people open 98 percent of the text messages they receive. That's an insanely high rate — like triple the open rate for emails," said Borchers.
Trump does not use his text service to the most of its ability, and that too much access can be dangerous, however, as we move toward a more digital age, the idea behind the FEMA plan is ingenious.