Thursday, May 22, 2008


Steve Schifferes writes on the BBC News website that the Internet has been pivotal for the Obama campaign. His case is that Obama capitalised on the fact that "The internet favours the outsider", his early use at the outset of his campaign allowed him to exploit the potential of "ability to quickly mobilise supporters and money online". Obama basically hit the ground running, Clinton was far slower in developing an effective Internet campaign. But it is not just about awareness and donations: "His use of social networking sites has helped Mr Obama to mobilise young people, a group which has traditionally been uninterested in politics". But a key point that Schifferes identifies is not about Obama's strategy. He claims that "Mr Obama's decision to run was influenced by the fact that a page created on MySpace by supporters not connected to any official campaign quickly signed up 160,000 supporters". In other words Obama became the figurehead of a campaign to change the traditional politics before he officially threw his hat into the ring and, following that, the independently developed Youtube videos such as 'Obama Girl' and 'Yes we can' by Will-I-am, were key to demonstrating the level of support he enjoyed beyond the usual candidate produced endorsements.

The point here is, whether anyone thinks Obama would make a good President or not, that he not only developed a grassroots campaign online but joined and existing campaign. So it is not just a case of strategy, there is a degree of synergy between his style of campaign and the communication and media tool use of those who support him. Perhaps this is the e-democracy some have spoken of for years, political choices being expressed online and building a momentum that could have a direct effect on the governing of a nation.

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