Think back to the 2008 Presidential campaign season.  I remember going on Facebook and my newsfeed would be flooded with Barack Obama messages.  Even my favorite blogs featured his YouTube videos.  President Obama took social media to a new level and used it to his advantage to reach an audience that had notoriously been under represented at the polls.

Obama had about 13 million advocates “engaged and empowered” using social networks, text messaging and online video.

Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign changed the way political campaigns are ran in this country.

In Edelman’s white paper, “Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit”.  It lists social media lessons to be learned from Obama’s campaign.

1.     Start early

2.     Build to scale

3.     Innovate where necessary; do everything else incrementally better

4.     Make it easy to find, forward and act

5.     Pick where you want to play

6.     Channel online enthusiasm into specific, targeted activities that further the campaign’s goals

7.     Integrate online advocacy into every element of the campaign.

I was impressed to find out that Obama was not the first presidential candidate to use social media.  McCain’s 2000 campaign raised a million dollars online and Dean’s 2004 campaign use Internet grassroots efforts to mobilize online supporters to MeetUp in their local communities.  According to Edelman’s report, McCain failed to convert his online donors into votes and Dean failed to channel the online fervor into effective ground support.  Obama was the first to do both.

During his campaign and now as President, Obama has embraced a new way of communicating which is different from the traditional top-down approach.  He is utilizing public engagement to influence conversations.

Below is a chart of Obama’s campaign numbers:

 With the support of Silicon Valley, I believe Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign will heighten the use of social media.  I’m interested in seeing how he will make use of tablets (iPads) and social location based networks or even virtual worlds.  It will be interesting to see how the Republican presidential candidates utilize social media and if they will use Obama’s success to create a new dynamic to this new way of campaigning.  I do however; believe that no one will master it like President Obama.

Photo credit (Responsiblemarketing.com)

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