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Issue 6 / February 2009 How the Presidency was won
The impact on those companies that
ignore what’s happening and believe
this will not affect future expectations of
customer relations could be significant.
Organising Grass Roots
While use of social media can sometimes appear ad-hoc and scattergun,
there was also a substantial organisational element used to mobilise
supporters, without which the social media tools would have failed to have
had the same impact. Local campaign field organisers received an 80 page
Campaign weapons of choice The 2008 presidential campaign began on Facebook, was amplified However, having been engaged in the
training manual defining clearly the positions and roles to be assigned, such
on YouTube and extended by custom-built technology election process, there is an expectation
Obama also made use of the major existing
of increased involvement in day-to-day
as team co-ordinator, data co-ordinator, volunteer co-ordinator, voter
social networking sites, such as Facebook
and MySpace (on which he had 2.3 million
Obama Campaign McCain campaign
government from individuals at grass roots
registration and voter-contact co-ordinator and house-meeting co-ordinator.
xx

levels. The opinions of those involved will
registered members of his campaign).
xi
Facebook “friends” 2.3 million 620,000
be more diverse than clear options of a
MyBarackObama.com had an area which
MySpace “friends” 830,000 217,000
vote for Obama, or a vote for McCain.
hosted code for viewers to copy, and
campaign logos, photos and icons to
YouTube video (on candidates’ channels) 1,700 320
The Net Generation, in particular, will
References
embed in their personal web pages.
xii

Campaign site visitors 8.6 million 4.1 million
expect to be involved directly in the
political process, scrutinising the work of
This allowed for the viral promotion of the i “The Facebooker who friended Obama” New York Times, 7th July 2008,
campaign through networks of “friends”
Ref: “Social Media Lessons from the US Presidential Election”, Valdes, R. 19th Nov 2008, Gartner Research. ID G00163114
their representatives, interacting with them,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/07/technology/07hughes.html?_r=1
and contributing ideas.
xviii

– an electronic version of the placard on
ii “The Facebooker who friended Obama” New York Times, 7th July 2008,
the lawn. Instead of a single campaign page It’s clear that social media has had a
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/07/technology/07hughes.html?_r=1
The use of ‘widgets’ (small applications Now the battle’s over – what next?
on the Internet, sites were created across monumental impact on US politics during
iii “Chris Hughes profile” Wall Street Journal,
which can be downloaded and hosted http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB118011947223614895-IMyQjAxMDE3ODIwOTEyMTk5Wj.html.
multiple areas, with content easily replicated
on a personal web site or social networking
Now that this extensive network of this campaign, and in future politicians will
on each of the sites. In addition to the ignore its potential at their peril. For many
iv “Social Media Lessons from the US Presidential Election”, Valdes, R. 19th Nov 2008, Gartner Research. ID G00163114
profile) informed people of campaign
communities has been developed, across
widely known social networks, Obama also years businesses across the globe have
v “Why Barack Obama won” BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/us_elections_2008/7704360.stm
content, allowed them to donate online,
the length and breadth of the United States,
reached out to the minority voters by having been watching the Web 2.0 phenomenon,
vi “grown up digital” Don Tapscott, McCraw Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-150863-6, 2009.
or directed them to their nearest polling
the question remains, what happens to
sites on BlackPlanet.com, MiGente.com
stations. Regular promotional videos were
it now that the battle has been won? many with a degree of scepticism and most vii “Has Obama already won in the Online fund-raising”, BusinessWeek.com, August 2008.
and GLEE.com, for the black, Latino and with uncertainty as to the impact it could
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2008/tc20080825_761567.htm
posted on YouTube, again with the widgets
The My.BarackObama.com site and many
gay communities respectively.
xiii
have on their business. However, it is
viii “The Social Technographics: Profile of Voters”, 7th Dev 2007, Forrester Research Inc.
conveniently placed beside them to
of those involved in the campaign process
reasonable to expect that more and ix “Introducing points”, Chris Hughes, http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/chrishughesatthecampaign/CJ7C
Another technology used was the micro-
encourage donations to the cause.
are still active. Community members are
more companies will start to explore the
blogging service Twitter. The use of Twitter
Everywhere there was an Obama online
being asked to participate in Change is
x How Obama raised 87% of his funds through Social Networking” ResourceNation,
potential to be the Obama of their sector.
http://www.resourcenation.com/blog/how-obama-used-social-networking-to-set-fundraising-records
allowed supporters to track every movement
presence, there was a donations widget,
coming house meetings locally, to reflect
The negative impact on those companies xi “Social Media Lessons from the US Presidential Election”, Valdes, R. 19th Nov 2008, Gartner Research. ID G00163114
Obama made as he travelled the country
making it impulse-buy easy.
xv

on the campaign but also to plan how to
bring change to both Washington and their that ignore what’s happening and believe
during the campaign.
xiv
It brought supporters
xii “Has Obama already won in the Online fund-raising”, BusinessWeek.com, August 2008.
The campaign also developed a substantial communities.
xvii
this will not affect future expectations of
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2008/tc20080825_761567.htm
closer to the presidential candidate and
and sophisticated database of supporters customer relations could be significant.
The common aim of electing their
xiii “Barack Obama, Social Networking King”, Washington Post,
helped them feel a part of the ‘team’.
and potential supporters. The Neighbour-to-
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/10/06/barack_obama_social_networking.html
Neighbour campaign allowed supporters to
representative to power has been Without the clear goal the election provided,
xiv “How Obama raised 87% of his funds through Social Networking” ResourceNation,
tap into this database and identify members
achieved. New goals are required to Obama – as president – will face a scenario http://www.resourcenation.com/blog/how-obama-used-social-networking-to-set-fundraising-records
of their neighbourhood who were still
keep the communities intact. While these closer to that faced by businesses looking to
xv “Has Obama already won in the Online fund-raising”, BusinessWeek.com, Aug 2008.
communities may become more local, the use social media to build relationships with
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2008/tc20080825_761567.htm
undecided. They would receive briefs on
potential topics to discuss and supporting
presidency, as it now is, still has the means the wider public. It may be that the Change xvi http:/www.itworldcanada.com/a/Information-Architecture/391c4cc4-012d-41b7-aa87-ad749d86b948.html
printed material, allowing them to canvass
to use these to push out messages as is coming approach will develop into a kind
xvii http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/changeiscoming/
their neighbours for support.
xvi

required to a large number of constituents, of federated government model. If so, the
xviii “grown up digital” Don Tapscott, McCraw Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-150863-6, 2009.
while keeping their ear to the ground on business world will continue to watch with
xix “Obama Advertising in Games” ign.com. http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/920/920462p1.html
what the key issues are around the country. interest to see if campaign success can be
replicated for US Gov BAU.
xx “Obama’s Secret Weapons: Interent, Databases and Psychology”,
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/10/obamas-secret-w.html
18 / Perspectives on the future Perspectives on the future / 19
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