Politics & Policy

Online Activist Wins Breakfast with Rick Scott

When Adam Judd, a 20-year-old from Lakeland, began sharing information with friends about Rick Scott’s gubernatorial campaign, he did it because he believed in the cause. Little did he know his online campaign cred would win him breakfast with the candidate himself.

Judd connected with Scott using a Facebook tool called act.ivi.st, which the Scott campaign is using to rally its online troops.

“Tools like act.ivi.st that are built upon Facebook are definitely the future of online grassroots mobilization,” Vincent Harris, a social-media consultant with Scott’s campaign told Battle ‘10. “I think you’ll see every presidential candidate use something similar.”

Actions are associated with “impact points” that users accumulate by helping the campaign. “Send a Tweet about Rick’s Lead over Sink,” for instance, is worth 50 points. Making a donation is worth 250 points.

There’s a leaderboard, and, unbeknownst to Judd, a prize, too. Scott had announced in a campaign video that he would have lunch with whoever racked up the most points using the system during the primary election. When Judd was finally contacted by the Scott campaign via Facebook, he didn’t know whether to believe it.

“I was like, ‘Are you serious?’” Judd told Battle ‘10. “Is somebody messing with me here?”

Judd and his mother Deanna Morris cashed in the reward Saturday at Tampa’s First Watch restaurant, joined by Scott and both Scott’s wife and mother.

There was plenty to chat about. Judd is entering the U.S. Navy, and will train at Naval Station Great Lakes, just like Scott did.

“You’re going to freeze. You will absolutely freeze,” Scott said with a smile, relating the tale of a particularly brutal day. “I think the wind chill index was 50 below.”

Scott eventually served on a destroyer escort, and recalled the living quarters.

“It was a room about like this,” Scott said, gesturing at a portion of the restaurant. “Fifty-seven people slept in it — three deep. And the ceilings aren’t this tall.”

Ship choice — at least back then — was decided by class rank, Scott said: “So study.”

There were questions about life on the campaign trail as well. Namely: “How in the world do you guys ever get any rest?” And about dealing with the stress of negative ads like those between Scott and primary rival Bill McCollum.

“I’ve never seen one of his ads. The only TV I watch now is sports — because they don’t have attack ads in sports,” Scott said.

Among the 547 people who took “meaningful action” on behalf of Scott using the act.ivi.st platform, more than 290,000 points were scored. The point leader had scheduling conflicts, so Scott and he will connect at a later date. With the winner’s permission, the prize was awarded to Judd as the runner-up.

Like many, Judd initially heard about Scott through campaign ads.

“After doing more research I was like, ‘this is an outsider who really wants to help,’” Judd said.

He became a believer, so much so that after driving by his local polling place on Election Day and seeing yard signs for Scott’s opponent, Judd went home for a Scott sign and stood outside the precinct with it. In the rain.

The breakfast was a chance to put a face and personality with the weeks of support.

“I actually get to see him as a person — I get to hear his story,” Judd said.

After breakfast, Judd thanked the candidate for running, and Scott headed to events in Jacksonville. Giving speeches and shaking hands may be old-fashioned campaigning in an act.ivi.st world, but even Scott’s staunchest online supporters said there’s nothing like meeting the man in person.

“If more people met him, more people would vote for him,” Morris said.

The Scott campaign is still working out the details, but plans to offer a similar prize for act.ivi.st participants in the general election.

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