Sunday, November 09, 2008
Barack Obama and new media
by Larry Geller
What a world of difference. George Bush doesn’t even read newspapers, but Barack Obama’s campaign was powered by new media. Put his name into Google and says he has about 91,800,000 hits. (My name gets 775,000, not too bad, thanks to Elvis.)
Of course, we don’t know if Obama himself ever goes near a keyboard.
Check out this stuff:
- There’s a president-elect website here. This is a good sign that he might continue using the Internet to remain in contact with his supporters. Actually, with the rest of the world also. But the page has no RSS feed, so how do we follow him? A blog attached to his web page does have a feed though. If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, don’t worry, you can get emails from them, see the very top of the website pages.
- Obama’s campaign blog, with great pics.
Another entry to possibly the same blog is here.
- Google Maps mashup: Brarack Obama’s Journey of Life. I don’t know who did this one, it’s probably unrelated to the campaign.
- He has a Twitter page, but it doesn’t look terribly interesting, most likely someone else is running it. Will this still be useful now that he’s elected? Depends on what they do with it. 129,250 people are following his tweets (or whoever is tweeting for him). It would be totally weird if he tweeted himself. “It’s 3 a.m. and the red phone just rang…” or “Dog had another accident on the Oval Office carpet…”
- His YouTube page. Slick videos, but then he has the money to produce the best. How come his videos look so good?? Anyway, the world is watching YouTube, and there he is.
- Barack on Facebook.
- His Flickr photos are here. Each has a Creative Commons license, you can use them.
- Oh yeah, if you’re still into MySpace, he’s there also. I see he posted thanks to his supporters.
There’s probably more Obamamedia out there. Like the Google Maps mashup mentioned above, there is content created by others all over the place.
A serious (though not Obama-related) site to keep an eye on is FiveThirtyEight.com. As Obama’s presidency advances, this site should be a good source of poll analysis and perhaps more. The site nearly brought Blogger.com’s servers to their knees in the heat of the election. It attracted, according to Blogger report, 50 times more comments than the next most commented blog. It’s still worth a visit now, to track the few undecided races and catch up on what really happened on election day.
Clinton and W both decided not to (personally) communicate over the internet AT ALL. They had concerns about messages becoming official government records subject to FOIA and archiving laws.
I reckon Obama would have the same concerns. However, the stuff you have described doesn't sound like direct communication with the President, but more like direct communication FROM the President. Not that that is bad, but it is not the huge step forward it could be (i.e. if the internet presence was used as a two-way medium).