There are two types of successful unscheduled or late-announced events. You can blast it out there and generate viral buzz online and offline and hope that enough people change plans and come to the event impromptu, or you can have the event “happen” in the middle of an already-large gathering. The organizers of the Stevie Wonder “Get Out the Vote Early” event failed to do both and the results were predictable.
The unannounced event in Cleveland was broadcast to 34,000 Twitter followers of the organization the morning of the concert. The hope was that Wonder would sing a song, then people would board a bus and go vote for Obama. They would then return, he’d sing another song, and the bus would leave again with another batch.
Nobody boarded the busses between songs. The reason is that reports say attendance was somewhere between 50 and 200.
On many outlets, 34,000 would be a decent size outreach. On Twitter, where so many Tweets are fighting for attention, 34,000 is a number of followers that, if they’re fully active and engaged, would still likely only reach a few hundred people in time for the event. Obama for America Ohio learned that the hard way. No votes were gained by the event.