Obama’s website promotion heavily incorporates social media
US president Barack Obama has changed his online campaigning methods, incorporating Facebook more closely on his website as he pushes for re-election.
Obama gets re-election bid underway with Facebook
Tuesday, April 05 2011 by Kate Billinghurst
US president Barack Obama is using website promotion to get back into the White House for a second term. He officially launched his campaign for re-election with a new twist, incorporating Facebook much more closely than before.
His website, barackobama.com, features a tab that asks users “Are You In?” to invite potential voters to register their support for the campaign. Another function links directly to Facebook. By clicking on this, supporters will update their status with the label “I’m In”, encouraging friends to “like” or offer comment.
President Obama already has close to 19 million followers on Facebook. He has further incorporated social media into his campaign with a YouTube video called “It Begins With Us” that appears on the homepage of his website.
His approach appears firmly focussed on generating grass roots enthusiasm for the campaign and it appears the president views social media as central to this. The campaign site also states that the re-election efforts will start small, both on and offline.
“In the coming days, supporters like you will begin forging a new organisation that we’ll build together in cities and towns across the country,” President Obama said on his Facebook page.
“And I’ll need you to help shape our plan as we create a campaign that’s farther reaching, more focused, and more innovative than anything we’ve built before.”
Joe Trippi, a Democratic campaign consultant who worked on the digital strategy for the Howard Dean and John Edwards presidential campaigns, said in an interview with Information Week that the online strategy appears focussed on mobilising active support for the president.
“I don’t think they want a whole lot of conversation going on. It’s very streamlined – give money, and go out and do something,” he explained. Indeed, the barackobama.com homepage’s two most prominent tabs ask visitors to “Get Involved” and “Donate Now”.
Although it is perhaps one of the biggest examples of social media acting as a key tool for politicians, it is far from the first time that Facebook has been incorporated into election strategies.
Democrat Party representative Jerry McNerney used the site to alert supporters of when he would be visiting certain areas in last year’s mid-term elections. Meanwhile, Democrat senator Russ Feingold hailed the merits of social media to WISC-TV before those elections. He said: “Now we can communicate with our volunteers and supporters in instantaneous ways in a way we could never do before.”
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