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The unsung hero of the US presidential election: the internet

So it turns out that political change is not the only thing that has gripped the USA, and the world along with it. In this US presidential election we’ve seen a big change in how the candidates present themselves and how they connnect with the electorate. An unprecedented amount of money went into campaigning across all media, but the big thing I’ve noticed is how the central role played by the internet and social media.

In Obama’s victory speech he said that the unsung heroes are his campaign managers and his strategist. Just look at how they tapped into communication tools that no candidate has ever bothered with before, such as Facebook right from the early days of the campaign, to creating his very own online community at MyBarackObama, to the point where Obama’s internet following was a self-driven vehicle.

For example, Obama (or one of Obama’s assistants) was tweeting on Twitter, with no less than 119,730 followers. Everytime he was speaking at a rally, a little link would be posted to allow his followers to watch it in realtime. By engaging with new forms of media, Obama has succeeded in reaching out to a new generation of voters, showing that he is a man of the world, for the world. He realises the amazing potential of social media and is able to use it as a means of getting his message across and cultivate a grassroots following through it.

For those of us who were unable to vote, how amazing it was to live through an historic event like this and, thanks to the internet and social media, to be able to feel like you’re really part of it. No matter who you supported in the campaign, after Obama’s victory, we must all agree that the internet’s ability to unite people and allow them to share experiences and interact should not be underestimated. Just look at some of reactions of people around the world, which we are now able to see for ourselves.

This article in the pioneering Huffington Post discusses how in this election the internet has done more than supplement traditional media:

While discussing with a friend an election night viewing party he’s throwing, he announced there would be “televisions all over the place.” “That’s great,” I said, “but just make sure the WiFi is working.” Because this year, the laptop — along with the array of Internet-connected mobile devices — has replaced the television as the must-have election night device.

P.S. While we’re on the subject, the blogosphere is currently alive with Obama-inspired posts, even suggesting that as freelancers we can learn from the campaign in terms of how we present ourselves, such as this one over at Contract Worker.

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  1. Rob

    November 06, 2008

    Interesting footnote that Google’s CEO has now been recruited to help Obama in “channelising the economy”, showing how seriously the internet economy is being taken:

    http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2008-11-07-n82.html

  2. […] The unsung hero of the US presidential election: the internet In this US presidential election we’ve seen a big change in how the candidates present themselves and how they connnect with the electorate. […]

  3. […] in Blogging, Politics, Social Media, Technology., web 2.0 If you were in any doubt as to the sheer force and immediacy of online media as an information source, check out these stats on Mashable about […]

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November 06, 2008

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