President Obama Has Changed Social Media Forever
Throughout history, some of the greatest leaders of the free world have shown reliance upon technological innovations to engage the public, increase awareness and make their show for votes.
From the time of President Calvin Coolidge, radio was an invaluable tool in helping to elect presidents. For both of his terms, Herbert Hoover paid a mint for radio air time to engage with the voters. Franklin D. Roosevelt frequently used it for speeches and fireside chats.
Until the election of President Obama, no president had used the media in such an innovative way for their campaigning process as John F. Kennedy did. JFK revolutionized the use of television for the presidential race. Multiple ads ran with a friendly and memorable campaign jingle that kept the “Kennedy” name at the forefront in the 1960 presidential race.
It can be said that Obama is to social media what JFK was to television.
In 2008, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes joined Obama’s campaign camp and was responsible for the online organization which resulted in my.BarackObama.com. This event changed the face of social media forever – no longer was it just for fun, games and keeping in touch with buddies. It was now serious business.“I’ve talked a great deal about what it takes to develop a successful a social media presence in the context of presidential campaigns. I wrote about it in my book and I make presentations on the subject.”
Those were the words of Jaunique Sealey, one of the most prolific thought leaders in social media and marketing today. She shares her knowledge and opinion on social media and how it relates to the presidential race of today and to an even greater extent – the future.
Bryan: What are some of those social media components that you discuss? How are they working for and against our presidential candidates?
Jaunique: The thing that I thought was really interesting that the original Obama campaign did in the context of social media was that it illustrated the power of social media beyond that of communication. It established its power as a real tool set to make things happen in a very significant way and something that touches our lives; in this case it was the presidential election. One of the ways in the original campaign that social media was so powerful is that there was a lot of mobilization of people via e-mail and website activity, Facebook, Twitter, and touch points that were available online even where people wouldn’t have necessarily had a direct physical touch point for the campaign. It was very effective in terms of fundraising. The first campaign saw a historical impact on small donations, so many more people participated in donations and more were donating online than ever before. This was simply because that tool set was available online and via e-mail for people to be able to make those donations and make smaller donations that they were able to afford. It also allowed people to forward e-mails and mobilize their own social sphere. I saw that work in both positive and negative ways. In the positive way, it was allowing people to activate their social circles. In the negative way, you saw a lot of misinformation being quickly spread from one person to another – there would be these long chain e-mails with nonsensical fact points, like ‘beware Obama is a Muslim.’ It definitely had a two-edged component to it. Back to another positive, it also allowed people to tell their stories as to why they felt compelled to vote for their choice candidate.Continued on the next page