Feb 13, 2009 - 0 Comments - Uncategorized -

Politicking Online

‘Change we can believe in’ a Barack Obama’s mantra. A thought it’d be a good place to start. The internet is all about change, growing, moving, ever evolving into something new and exciting. Communities play a big part on the internet and even more so in a presidential campaign and much more so in an American election race.  ‘Change we can believe in’ It’s on his posters his website, on news sites, on blogs, on tech blogs, on his blog, it’s pretty much everywhere! His grass roots movement, which mobilized the democratic base can be seen as one of the most successful startups in history. They raised an insane amount of funds, six million dollars in two years to be more precise. (1)

I think there were two things that played a big role in his campaign, the internet technologies he incorporated in his campaign and his charm. Although I’m sure it would be fascinating to quantify Obama’s charm from a social online perspective. I’m afraid this is not what this blog post is about. Obama used many tools to socially interact with his base. His website what probably his most successful tool. The way in which members could register and find out more about those who were registered to vote in their local constancies and find out more about how to promote Obama in that area. I think it was mainly the successful way in which all the volunteers could coordinate around a website and across the fifty states. Alright yes he did use the microblogging service Twitter, not him per say but his ‘people’ and I found that by following him he could’ve used twitter in a more prolific way than he did. But still nonetheless kudos to him and his team for thinking of such a tool. (2)

It’s extremely funny and frightening when you get a call from your father telling you about twitter when you have been using it for the past few years and that at the time when I tried to explain the concept of 140 characters and the phenomenon of presence. No one seemed to get it or wanted to understand. It really very ironic how popular it is now which is great to see. My only wish is that more politicians, perhaps this side of the pond apply what Obama did so successfully in his campaign.

Something which also worries me is that Obama’s website has the largest emailing list in history ever! Granted the majority of them are probably American citizens. Thinking about it a lot of marketing people would love to get their hands on something like that.

There was a candidate for the recent elections in that state of Israel who pretty much copied Obama’s site exactly. (3) Successful though he was I think this says more about Obama’s campaign and his website rather than imitating slogans and layout colours and themes.
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In fact you can quantify his charm from a social perspective.

Stepping away from Obama and his success and to look more at home. ‘Number 10 beta’. Does that mean anything to you? It should! It’s our beloved number 10 downing street’s website. I think it’s scary that as a British citizen I would not want anything my government does to be in Beta, Alpha or any other test phases, it should be in full release! I think the way that Google keeps everything in beta (except their search engine) has gotten to them (3). The epetiion idea is celver, I would like to think that they would develop something more in a social interactive way where users would be able to see more on what they petitioned and if it was taken into consideration and if it helped in the plight of what the petition was there for in the first place. (4)

Would you like to vote online? Is it a good idea? What does the future hold for politics and communities online. Latvia seems to think so. (5)

1. Sarah Lai Stirland (2008) Wired: Obama Campaign Raises More Than $6 million Post Super Tuesday [internet] Avialble from: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/02/obama-campaign.html
2. Ari Herzog (2009) Mashable: How Should President Obama Use Twitter? [internet] Available from: http://mashable.com/2009/01/23/president-obama-twitter/
3. Ethan Bronner and Noam Cohen (2008) The New York Post: Israeli Candidate Borrows a (Web) Page From Obama [internet] Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/world/middleeast/15bibi.html
3. John Oates (2008) The Register: Brown’s website is Web2.0tastic [internet] Available from: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/13/tendowning_blogtastic/
4. John Lettic (2007) The Register: Downing Street’s website, the e-petitions hit tart [internet] Available from: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/04/number10_visitor_stats/
5. Agence France-Presse (2007) Inquirer: Latvia plans e-voting for 2009 elections [internet] Available from: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view_article.php?article_id=104723