If there is one thing that you took from the 2008 presidential election, it was probably that Barack Obama used social media like no president ever before. He created a huge network and it has been said that Facebook helped him win the election. OK, most likely this isn’t what you took from the election, however in the world of social media, this is very important and probably changed the way politicians will campaign forever.
This year the candidates are all on social media and they all have a lot of followers, so does that mean everyone is even? Is social media not going to play a big part in this election, because everyone is doing it and there is nothing new or innovative this time around? It looks like the Obama campaign might have another trick up their sleeve when it comes to engaging people with their campaign online.
The Obama campaign has recently released a 17-minute video on his own YouTube page. The video is narrated by Tom Hanks and called “The Road We’ve Traveled”. This video is going to appear on a new YouTube platform that enables the Obama campaign to turn the passive experience of watching a video into a great organizing and fund-raising tool. This technology is going to allow viewers of this video to post campaign content to their Facebook pages, volunteer, and donate to the campaign. They are going to be able to do this all from President Obama’s YouTube page.
This is a step above simply putting out a video, as the YouTube platform will give the Obama campaign the ability to get visitors to share the content, or pledge their support. This is the one-click approach that campaigns see as an integral part of their online strategy. This type of video being released shows the importance that political campaigns are starting to put on web-video. The online video is now being seen as a valid tool for proactive electioneering.
The Obama campaign is thinking that video will be the primary way they communicate with undecided voters, because it offers them a way to spread their messages into online communities, where friends and family members will discuss and debate. This helps the video look more like dialogue and a constructive discussion, rather than political propaganda. This provides a level of interaction that a TV advertisement cannot provide.
The idea is to get these videos into the hands of trusted people in the different networks. If people start to share the videos, it will add a degree of credibility because a friend or family member is endorsing it. This is taken more serious than a traditional TV commercial. The major change with the videos being released is that they give people something to act on. The Obama campaign wants to bring their engagement tools to their supporters.
The Obama campaign already has a head start with that, since his Facebook page has over 25 million likes. Do you think it’s possible for social media to change minds or convince an undecided voter one way or another?