Be it your Inbox or LinkedIn, Be it Twitter or now iPhone. Barack Obama is everywhere. One thing clearly established in Barack Obama’s campaign is his interest in using new media tools to reach an audience. Through this post I will give a detailed account of online tools used by Obama, or Obama supporters.
Obama’ 08 Online model
Barack Obama’s website is immensely integrated with social media. If you want to know anything about him, website is the place you go to. The site is integrated with a blog that updates his events, speeches and appearances. His website encourages visitors to create be a volunteer, support Obama campaign to ‘knock more doors’, plan & attend events, find supporters, network with your friends, write a blog & even be a part of Obama’ 08 fund raiser team. Obama campaign use the website to sell ‘Obama merchandise‘ too.
I loved ‘BarackTV’ an integral part of the website that brings visitors close to Barack as a person. Visitors get to meet Michelle Obama & Joe Biden, it also includes channels like advertisements, issues, Barack’s speeches. you got to see it to believe it! There are highly identifiable badges, buttons and links to popular social media sites such as social networking site Facebook, photo sharing site Flickr and No1 video site Youtube.
My personal favorite – My.BO, an acronym for My. Barack Obama. My.BO has become an online community with over million members! This community has taken Brand Obama to the virtual World of ‘Second Life’ this is exciting. really exciting!
Citizen generated campaigns:
Obama enjoys plenty of online support from the young guns. Out of several support websites & but obvious Youtube, these are two sites Youbama.com & Moveon.org that have played or are still plying a major role in offering a platform for Obama supporters to share user created contents.
YouBama was designed by two Stanford grad students to drum up grass-roots support for Barack Obama, the site lets supporters upload videos explaining why they are going to vote for the candidate. The videos can then be voted (thumbs) up or (thumbs) down. It is a simple but sophisticated site that will appeal to the YouTube generation, and an effective way to distill the most powerful messages with the broadest appeal. This site was stated to be very successful during the primaries, but somehow momentum does not seem to have continued till today. Youbama.com attracted 16,000 unique visitors at the time of launch (jan 08) but since then number of unique visitors had decreased, to the extent of less than 500 visitors in Aug 08.
Moveon is an online destination of young people who overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. The site has more than 4,000,000 members to support the Obama campaign. Currently Moveon has come up with “talk to your parents about John McCain” campaign. This campaign is to encourage parents (McCain supporter) of the young Obama supporter to support Barack Obama. (You can watch this video here). There is even a website dedicated for “talk to your parents about John McCain” campaign.
Obama entered the realm of social media through a social-networking site, www.my.barackobama.com, now Obama has extended his campaign to almost all prominent social hubs. Obama already has an official presence on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, as well as numerous unofficial pages on internet presumably created by Obama supporters. Of course Obama isn’t the only candidate to utilize social landscape but looks like he is eat McCain apart in terms of online exposure. If you think I am talking crap, look at the chart below!
This election season we saw a very innovative wedding, between Iphone & Obama campaign. Few days ago, Obama campaign launched an Obama application for iphone & itouch users called Obama 08. The applications covers nearly everything its elder cousin barackobama.com has to offer. In terms of design iIt is very much in like with the campaign website. The applications enables its user to read news highlighted by campaign operatives, you can do so, with the option to specify a national or local view. If you want to browse photos and videos, you may. Events are posted, too, and the campaign’s stated issues and its positions on those issues are noted in full.
The Obama 08 application also has a ‘Donation button’ that allows the user to connect the phone & donate money towards the campaign. Users can also sign up to receive email and/or SMS notifications, and call anyone within your phone’s contact list, with each noted as “have not called” until you connect with them. This is obviously meant to increase outreach. (this function is limited only to iphone subscribers)
I believe, virtual media is not the draw here, but its more about the big picture – its about engaging people with the Obama campaign & letting people know what the campaign is doing in this next few weeks leading up to Election Day.
The Obama campaign is now advertising in a very popular video game for the Xbox 360. Obama campaign has bought ad space within video games including Electronic Arts’ “Burnout Paradise”. One in-game ad, seen on a virtual billboard in the racing game, informs gamers that “Early Voting Has Begun” for the election, and includes a link to an Obama website. (read my post: Obama billboard in xbox 360)
The Obama campaign gets a lot of legitimate praise for their use of email and Web 2.0 marketing techniques in building support, communication programs and donations. I share similar feeling for Obama’s Web 2.0 strategy. I hate to tell, but I have now added email’s from Obama Campaign as ‘JUNK’. I don’t know, but after Bill Clinton visited my university… I started receiving emails from Obama Campaign inviting me to participate, sometimes asking for donations to sustain the momentum, sometimes asking me to knock doors to spread message about Obama.
Honestly, I find all this too intrusive. I might have received 4-6 emails in last 2 days from the Obama foundation. I understand the importance of the situation, but this is irritating… I never expected this from Obama Campaign. Please don’t think this as a hate mail, it is just that I did not like it.
(more information will be here any moment)