Monday, November 03, 2008

Ringing the bell: a phonebanking tradition?

At the bottom edge of this picutre I posted earlier you can see a little silver bell, the kind that a counter at a store might have so you can get the attention of a clerk in the back room. When you contact a voter who says they are going to vote for Obama, you ring the bell. The people in the room give a cheer for you. Or someone does: the bells get rung often enough that not everyone cheers for every ring. If the person you talk to mentions that they have other family or friends who are voting for Obama as well, you ring it once for each person.

I sort of thought they should have whoopee cusions for when you got a McCain supporter. (I got a few during my calls). But maybe that would be too much of a downer.

I had never seen this bell-ringing tradition before, but I rarely phone bank. Is this a new innovation of the Obama campaign, or is it done alot? Do all Obama phone banking areas do this, or was it unique to this office? All the bells were identical, which suggests that they were purchased in bulk, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was nation-wide...

...Google to the rescue! Here's an account from Santa Monica:
Every phone was being used, and every time a caller spoke with an Obama voter they rang a bell. Bells were ringing all over the office.The atmosphere was festive. A snack table had water, coffee and an industrial-sized bag of M&M’s. I was feeling the hope. I started dialing up Nevada voters. It being late afternoon, not many people were home, but every person I spoke to had me ringing the bell.
Accounts from Palo Alto and the East Bay headquarters also mention the bell. So I suspect it's a widespread practice.


Anonymous Miguel said...

There was no bell tonight at the BAM cafe (which has been a phone bank location all weekend and will be until Tuesday night), and I don't remember one from the St. Paul office of the Kerry campaign, either. Great idea, though! Takes some of the edge off of what can feel like a tough task.

10:17 AM, November 03, 2008  

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