There is no denying that the 2020 general election is like no other in modern history. The two major parties had to dramatically scale back their respective political campaigns last month, and the normal rallies to energize the base have all but been shuttered.
Yet, even as candidates scale back their appearances due to calls for social distancing, social media is filling the void. The latest example of this is the Storyvine NOW app, which just launched this month. It can capture testimonials and “automagically” edit and create a very professional-looking video all directly from a user’s smartphone.
“With limited or canceled campaign events due to Covid-19, digital communications and social media has been elevated in importance overnight,” explained Storyvine CEO Kyle Shannon. “Social media can be very powerful, but it’s critical that the content is trustworthy and compelling. That’s exactly what Storyvine’s technology is designed to deliver.”
This technology isn’t entirely new either, but rather this is the first time it is being applied to a political setting.
“Storyvine’s pharmaceutical clients, including Pfizer, Merck and Novartis have used & trusted this secure approval feature for years, prior to Storyvine NOW’s launch,” Shannon noted.
Democratizing Video Storytelling
The technology could be especially beneficial to smaller “grassroots” efforts that lack the funding to produce the polished videos created by large political action committees (PACs) or over-funded campaigns.
“Storyvine NOW is the first self-service version of the Storyvine Guided Video platform, meaning that even small campaigns have access to technology previously only available to large enterprise clients,” said Shannon.
The technology was designed for those with limited video production knowledge. Shannon said it is as simple as having someone from the campaign sign up, upload a logoand then provide constituents with access to a “Grassroots Support” VideoGuide Template.
“The Storyvine app then guides people exactly what to say and do as they make their video,” added Shannon. “Video segments are uploaded to the cloud, and ‘Automagically’ edited within minutes. A professional video—complete with graphics, background music and sophisticated edits—is now ready to review.”
It is important to note that campaign staff will review and approve any video before sharing it with the world. This falls into the realm of “message management,” which ensures that a campaign not be linked to someone who goes “way off script” or potentially would try to create misinformation or even disinformation.
“In politics message management is critical, and the Storyvine NOW dashboard makes that possible, while most social media video tools lack this key feature,” said Shannon. “Anyone, anywhere at any time can share their support for the campaign with this approach not previously possible without great cost and complexity.”
Because this is just technology to create content, conservative and liberal voices can be supported equally.
“Storyvine is an asynchronous content creation tool,” explained Shannon. “People are free to share their views on their own time, in their own space, without all of the drama and emotion and pushback of trying to communicate in real-time on social platforms or live video platforms like Zoom.”
Another important facet of this technology is that it isn’t looking for the “zingers” or “gaffes” that often haunt politicians and their supporters when an off-the-cuff comment is made.
“Without the emotional overhang of immediate confrontation, people are free to take their time, gather their thoughts, and articulate what issues are important to them and why. Because the Storyvine app guides them step-by-step with simple, open-ended questions, constituents only have to focus on their story,” said Shannon.
Addressing Misinformation and Disinformation
As noted, campaigns may not make the testimonial videos but can still control their distribution. This means that the campaign is given the best of both worlds – the ability to curate professional looking videos while still controlling how that content is best utilized.
“Campaign staff can review videos before they are uploaded to distribution platforms, like YouTube, Facebook or Twitter,” said Shannon. “The guidance that is provided to app users serve as narrative ‘guardrails’ that improve the quality and consistency of the stories being shared. Any content that is ‘out of bounds’ can simply be deleted by the campaign before it sees the light of day.”
In addition, concerns of disinformation or even deepfakes are also countered because the “stars” of these videos are real people from real places that neighbors very often know.
“The more content you capture like this, the more this collection of videos serve as ‘social proof’ that support for this candidate is authentic and runs deep,” said Shannon.