Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

In New New Media Dr. Levinson says that the Internet, and the use of new new media, was essential to the success of the Obama campaign. With the 2012 election quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see how each of the candidates learn from the 2008 campaigns, and use new new media in original ways. Much like Dr. Levinson's experience of using mybarackobama.com to interact with Obama's backers and contribute support to the campaign, the continuing trend is to use the enthusiasm of fans and to enlist supporters as tools to help drive the campaign forward.

Many companies use new media and social media to attract interested people, and use their participation to spread messages by word of mouth. It happens all the time--"viral marketing" seems to be a big buzz word. Campaign managers or marketing firms put some kind of information, video, or image "out there," hoping it will get discovered. The fans do the rest of the work by actively sharing with friends, providing feedback, and building excitement. On Facebook, 19.5 million people "like" Obama, and regularly post thousands of comments on wall posts, effectively sharing the information with entire network of friends. On the other side of the spectrum, Sarah Palin has only mustered up around 3 million likes. While that number of likes is significantly less than Obama's, Palin's fans still offer their support and feedback, which creates a unified group of enthusiastic caribou hunters. Upon writing this post, a discussion was taking place among fans hoping for Sarah Palin's successful Presidential candidacy, and the question of whether or not Obama has a valid American birth certificate. Fan Jason Baldwin exclaimed, "PLEASE RUN! WE NEED YOU!"

I am curious to see how future candidates will use new media in different ways. Will they favor YouTube or Twitter over Facebook, or will something completely new lead the way? I think that Facebook likes are advantageous because when someone likes something, it is posted to the news feed for 400-600 other people to see. This gets people thinking about the information. As demonstrated by videos like Rebecca Black's "Friday," (which is now up to 120 million views) nothing spreads as quickly as a YouTube video. I don't think Obama's use of YouTube has been successful. His videos rarely feature more than a talking head or statistics. For example, I have embedded the most recent video from Obama's channel (posted April 25th).

If I am on YouTube, this is NOT the type of video I willingly watch. That type of video is better suited for an old medium like television. The YouTube comments do allow for discussion to take place in a pubic forum and people can post video responses, which is typical of the new media, however, the videos themselves are not tailored to the new medium of YouTube. If a new candidate can create a campaign using the potential of new media to the fullest, it will be interesting to see if it is successful.

1 comment:

  1. A great video, thanks for sharing it. Note the emphasis on metrics, measurement, and the fact that it's not about the social media alone, but how they can be applied to the campaign and election process.