In 2008 Barrack Obama became president of the United States on the messages of “Yes We Can” and “Change”. Obama was going against Hillary Clinton and John McCain, both of whom were early favorites to win the election race. John McCain could boast of his long experience, including not only his government experience but also his war hero status as a POW in a Japanese concentration camp and Hillary Clinton who was the wife of former President Bill Clinton, from whom she could rely on for public support and campaign strategy advice. However it was Barrack Obama who gained the Presidential office and he did all of this with a grass roots campaign that relied on a large pool of small donations, rather than a small pool of large donations, which further strengthened his brand as a politician for the people rather then special interests. His success can be attributed to not just his great speeches but also his online efforts which his campaign used to spread the word through social media and vidoes, and which was helped along from some unexpected sources (more on that in a moment).
Barrack Obama’s website, my.barrackobama was created in the lead up to the Presidential Race and was created as a social hub that would connect to his other efforts. Let’s examine interesting points about this website:
The website welcome page gets you involved from the get go, immediately requesting your email and post code. The action they want you to take is clear. There is an option to skip the sign up proccess at the bottom also. Note that if you skip this welcome page you will not be shown this screen again unless you restart your computer or open a new browser.
Once you enter the main page, the first thing that will get your attention is the red buttons asking you to ‘Donate Now’. Again the website is very clear on the actions it wants its users to take and makes the links to these actions stand out.
In the right column of the website there is a video embedded which contains a current topic. I assume the video changes from week to week or day to day.
The blog keeps the page fresh with new content. Notice how the most recent blog post has a lengthy excerpt which captures your attention and piques your curiosity in order to click through. I didn’t include an image for this one but you can see it if you check out the website.
Social Media Elements
There is a Facebook widget in the right column that allows you to ‘Like’ either Barrack Obama and/or the ‘Democratic Party’. Barrack also has a social media presence on LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. Also note that the local chapters of the website have their own Facebook pages such as ‘Organizing for America – South Carolina’.
To better personalize your experience there is a map of America with clikable states, which redirect you to to the local Barrack Obama page with more personalized content.
While all these things are great, it is video that I want to focus in this article. Barrack Obama has nearly 2,000 official YouTube videos which have been watched more than 80 million times. However it is the user generated content, or ‘fan’ videos which are really interesting. For example, the video that actually spread the word about an up and coming Senator from Illinois running for President is below:
This video has over 23 million views and got the word out about Obama in the first place. Soon however, Will.i.Am, a famous musician got a group of fellow stars together to record a song with the lyrics taken from Obama’s most inspirational quotes, you can view this below:
It is actually these videos which sparked the interest in the Illinois Senator and led to the uptake in his social media networks, Obama has been very lucky to have much fan made content created for himself. Kevin Rudd had this for a time too, though not in the same way:
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