The Obama victory in the 2008 presidential elections was truly a remarkable feat that set new benchmarks for people who set their sights on impossible goals. The whole excitement surrounding the election has definitely brought about changes in American politics and this entire experience can definitely lend tips to other governments who are planning to use the same tool that Obama used that contributed considerably towards his victory: Social Media.
Obama had a very simple modus operandi – to use the social media channels in a way that the youth are attracted towards politics and willing to contribute. While people may have their doubts, it cannot be denied that social media has exponential reach and speed that will boost any campaign be it commercial or political in nature. The most important of political parties is to attract masses and it is this value that social media provides to political parties by aiding them to start from the grass roots. Some might definitely argue that traditional media is a much smarter way to go when it comes to a campaign of that magnitude. However traditional media facilitates one way communication whereby political parties speak and the audience listens. Social media provides two-way communication with a more active audience that leads on to success of the campaign. Individuals have always considered the government to be out of their reach and Obama took steps to enable people to connect with the government with digital town hall meetings. This “Facebook Town Hall” is said to return to the website soon on popular demand.
With the right kind of incentives, governments can achieve much better success with their social media campaigns. The 250,000th donor to the Obama campaign received a cash incentive along with the opportunity to speak with the president himself. The lure of this reward encouraged users to be an active facet of Obama’s presidential campaign.
The success of social media in Obama’s campaign definitely provides a great learning point for other governments who wish to go the same way. While the results of social media usage might be unpredictable to begin with; if used wisely Social media can become an unrivalled medium that can change the face of national politics.