There has been an incredible amount of huffing about President-elect Obama’s use of social media tools during the campaign. Much of the change that has taken place to date has been around how the country has connected around his campaign and how this will (A) be taken forward into the presidency, and (B) change the face of politics and public discourse.
The WIRED “Threat Level” blog post Web Will Be A Major Communications Tool Under Obama Presidency takes a look at the transition of my.barackobama.com (also called myBo) through to Change.gov. As I mentioned last week in class, his strategy of using these tools to reach past the traditional media and formal communication outlets directly to his constituents (possibly even replacing the existing Saturday morning radio address with a Saturday YouTube address) has a direct lineage back to FDR and his use of the weekly radio “Fireside Chats”. Given the times of both presidents, this move could have the same effect of personalizing the comfort (and taking advantage of the acknowledged speaking talent) he can provide the American public during one is likely to be one of the most tumultuous times in our history, save that of the Depression and World War II.
The success of this effort has the distinction of “getting it right this time”, unlike the failed attempt by Howard Dean in 2004. Success breeds cloning, so you can be sure that future political campaigns will be trying to figure out which social media tools to use most effectively, and the ones that do not exist yet have the greatest potential. Remember the earlier post that “blogs are so 2004” and Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. The 2010 and 2012 campaign seasons should REALLY be interesting.