I think it’s pretty safe to say that Barak Obama (or at least someone with influence on his campaign team) “gets” social media. Here’s a list of the features and functions on his new website (which is basically a discrete social networking site):

  • Sign in to create a profile.
  • The ability to find events and supporters near you (broken when I logged in last)
  • Event planning – the ability to set up an event type and location, and have other supporters nearby be notified and invited
  • A link to Barak’s Flickr page
  • “” to his YouTube profile
  • “” to his Facebook profile (what, no MySpace? Doesn’t Barak’s team know that 68% of MySpace users are over 25 and that it has approximately 75% marketshare?)
  • The ability to search and contact groups, events and members across the country (there are currently 976 local groups and 600+ national ones, including two competing “1,000,000 for Obama” groups, one with 276 members, the other with just 29)
  • Personal fundraising profiles, that allow you to set goals and populate a profile page with information about yourself
  • Blogs – I put up a post with the following text, just wanting to see how the Barak Obama community is going to deal with (somewhat) negative comments/posts:
  • Has Barak Obama successfully quit smoking? Even though no one likes a quitter :-) , anyone running for public office needs to be held to a higher standard, and I don’t think that smoking is a good example. What do you think?

    I wanted it to be somewhat mild because a) I’m not interested in looking like a crackpot, and b) I wanted to see where organizers and community members will jump in. If you’re logged in, you can see my blog entry here.

  • There’s also Barak TV, where many of his speeches are available to be streamed and also shared virally.
  • This is a great case study, and an excellent example of an attempt to leverage social media tools and behaviour to their full potential – I’ll be interested to see how the community grows/what it accomplishes!

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    3 Comments

    1. Good post, Maggie. I talked about how Barrack Obama’s campaign is using social media in my most recent episode of New Comm Road:
      http://www.newcommroad.com/2007/02/11/ncr-025-creating-a-wiki/

      It’s certainly an interesting topic, and encouraging to see. Obama is a smoker? Damn. Now that’s disappointing!

      –Bryan Person
      Blog: Bryper.com
      Podcast: New Comm Road

    2. Teresa

      Barack appeared on 60 Minutes yesterday saying he had quit and his wife asked for the country to tattle on him if they see him cheating. He’s covering all bases: from traditional PR to social media. Should be v. interesting to watch this race.

    3. I would just say that it doesn’t matter how well a politician leverages social media…he/she won’t win if the voters can’t relate to him/her. Dean had a great social media strategy and look what happenned to him!

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