Obama, Twitter and political campaigning

May 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

It is rather telling that on February 2008 Senator John McCain raised $11 billion for his presidential campaign while Barrack Obama decided to skip any fundraising events and raised a respectable $55 million from online social networks. This move is indicative of the changing trend among politicians, who are now choosing to circumvent traditional means of running their campaigns. The image cultivated by Obama via strategic use of Twitter took advantage of the net as a place for the public to feel comfortable expressing political views (sometimes anonymously) honestly; a place where word spreads quickly and what “buzz” there is to be had is more palpable and easily measured than anywhere else.  To see the various ways in which Obama and his team employed the social media in depth visit: obamaFundraising

It is free and it requires the basics in household technology (i.e. a computer and Internet access). All of this enables politicians an edge over their less savvy competitors in both publicity and ensuring they are the first out of the blocks to express their views and policy.

This has been taken further in the case of the Iranian election protests where the anonymity, organisation of people and the unlimited political exposure that the internet provides had all but established an underground online Iranian democracy. As a tool for political and social campaigning live social media is second to none and is helping to establish democratic protest into a worldwide unified voice. Cases in point are the current uprisings occurring across North Africa and the Middle East.  Citizen journalism is so widespread now that up to date information from the ground is frequently being used to draw attention to issues and the truth of situations elsewhere in the world by broadcasters such as the BBC and across news sites.  This usage then usually prompts much faster responses from politicians and their PR teams on situation handling and the government’s political standpoint. Responding to the crisis in Libya was arguably made a lot easier by the existence of video evidence and citizen journalism emerging out of the country.

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