Web 2.0 And The Internet Delivered The Vote For Obama

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The day before the election, Sean “Diddy” Combs sat in on a live telephone conference call with Barack Obama. Along with several other black leaders, Obama thought Diddy important enough to deliver the web 2.0 internet vote.

Obama’s message to Diddy and the others was: ‘Everyone under the sound of my voice understands the struggles we face. Everyone understands the fierce urgency of now. You all know what’s at stake this election.”

That message not only was heard by Diddy, but Civil Rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery, Oprah Winfrey, Democratic Strategist Donna Brazille and Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn. Obama chose Diddy because of his voting mobilization success of the youth vote in the past. Obama wanted to engage the internet with a passion in order to get out the vote.

With the use of Facebook and Twitter, this year’s election was won and lost in this new form of communicating, social networking, known as Web 2.0. The 2008 presidential election made new use of the Internet in sharing information, raising money and driving civic engagement among younger voters. The hype surrounding internet strategies created by the Obama campaign was an election success.

Used for the first time ever in a political election, the use of Facebook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 tools brought this year’s presidential race right into the voter’s face. Utilizing these social groups as a means of reaching out to eligible voters helped make Barack Obama’s campaign a success. It didn’t hurt to have Diddy as an advisor, who I’m sure gave his input on how Twitter and Facebook users are the new face of voter change.

“If not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be President or even the democratic nominee,” claimed Arianna Huffington, of the liberal Huffington Post Web site. Arianna, who made these comments during a roundtable on the final day of the Web 2.0 Summit.

"Barack Obama built the biggest network of supporters we've seen, using the Internet to do it," Joe Trippi, an Internet political and business consultant who pioneered the use of the Internet in politics managing Howard Dean campaign in 2004, and who managed John Edwards' campaign in this election, told InformationWeek. "I don't think there's any doubt that communication through YouTube and other social networks put him over the top."

The Obama campaign effectively used Web 2.0 as a tool to reach voters. It was as simple as adding Obama as a friend on Black Planet or sign up for his newsletters. You could receive Obama updates on your cell phone or inbox. Obama used email and text messages to announce his vice presidential choice. A music industry mogul like Diddy uses these forms of communication everyday as a way to keep in touch with fans. The internet and Web 2.0 are an instant feedback system.

Assisted by a Facebook co-founder, Obama enabled his supporters with log in capability to locate lists of people they could call or doors they could knock on in an attempt to persuade them to vote for their candidate. With this type of direct networking power, the White House may even be transformed from what we know it today. Web 2.0 may be finding its way into voter consciousness soon.
Imagine a president going straight to the people for support on legislative initiatives in order to get Congress to enact them into law. This could be the beginning of a true government run by the people for the people. Web 2.0 and the internet could be the groundwork for this principle.

Think about the donations Obama received during the course of his presidential campaign. Some 3.2 million people donated over his website. While You Tube users spent 14.5 million hours watching official Barack Obama campaign videos. Viral marketing proved powerful as web 2.0 users created a political internet sensation for the Barack Obama campaign.

Barack Obama’s Facebook page has 2.6 million friends or supporters, while over 100,000 are active friends getting out messages to those who may have been straddling the fence. Obama’s Twitter account is the most active one on Twitter, according to Twitterholic with 123,000 followers. John McCain’s Facebook page only had 64,000 supporters in contrast. The power of Facebook and Twitter proved that web 2.0 can be optimized for success.

There were over 500 million blog posts mentioning Barack Obama while only 150 million mentioned John McCain. Obama even had more MySpace friends than John McCain. Obama had 844,927 to McCain’s 219,404. These are also web 2.0 tools that voters used this year.

Barack Obama proved that the internet and web 2.0 if used properly can work for you. Especially is enough people believe in your platform and ideas, they will do the campaigning for you.

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