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President 2.Obama

We all knew that this administration was going to be technologically more advanced than previous terms when Barrack Obama won the 2008 election to become the 44th President of the United States of America.

Not only did the Democrats stunningly over achieve with online donations, enabling them to out spend the Republicans out of the water, we also got the first presidential candidate to embrace social media.

His campaign team used @BarrackObama, as well as facebook, youtube and myspace to reach an audience of potential voters and doners that traditionally could have been ignored by past campaigns. Obama has also become the first President to use email and amazingly kept his blackberry, although will be restricted in its use to a small group of select Whitehouse staffers.

By using social media, email marketing and clever media buys Obama was able to enthuse and mobilize the youth vote that proved incredibly important on November 5th.

Finally it seems, we have a web 2.0 international leader: President 2.Obama.

President Obama and his team will be using technology in an unprecedented way to reach out to the nation and beyond.

As Kevin Merrit, CEO of Blist shows in this excellent Washington Post/Tech Crunch post, the presidency has listed communication, transparency and participation as being their watchwords for their first term and as such are utilizing every channel possible to get their messages accross to the people.

So from his first Weekly Address as President on Youtube (see above), to the setting up of recovery.gov, and the first ever Presidential blog on whitehouse.gov, the US presidency has fully embraced the idea that you can no longer rely on tv and radio to reach your voters. They realise the importance of transparency in an age where anyone can look at public records, google a politicians past claims and promises or just vent on what they hate about a government with the click of a mouse.

So, if you’re not already why not join President Obama’s other 144,000 twitter followers, or the 4,422,962 registered supporters on Facebook.

Can Obama revolutionise the Whitehouse as we know it? Yes he can! (Sorry, couldn’t help it…)

UPDATE: If you want to read a great post on how exactly Obama should be using Twitter, check out Mashable for some great analysis and an extensive list of politicians who use Twitter and how they use it. I would definitely agree that whilst it’s great that Obama is on Twitter and that the Whitehouse uses it, just twittering about policy announcements is not going to get them far. They need to start turning the personal on before they turn the followers off. Remember we are a fickle bunch!!

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Mainstream media sources embrace Twitter and Facebook

Not only is Twitter truly a global phenomenon, it has, along with Facebook, transcended the barriers of on and offline by becoming a major source for “serious” news stories from traditional news sources, such as The Times and the Guardian.

Mumbai

No one can doubt the power Twitter had in the crisis in Mumbai last year with live updates from those on the ground not bound by the compromises made by press and tv (see Garza if you want an example). Journalists were able to use these live updates to give a sense of what was happening when it was too dangerous to be on the ground.

A further example was reported in the Times last year, when software engineer Mike Wilson tweeted his experiences immediately after running out of a burning plane crash in Denver.


Brand (left) and Ross

Brand (left) and Ross

@wossy

On a more superficial level, @wossy, Jonathan Ross’s twitter feed, has been regularly quoted in newspaper articles about the Sachs-gate scandal with Russell Brand that broke at the tail end of 2008.

With more and more celebraties using Twitter as a way of updating fans and commenting on gossip, the news media is able to get unfiltered (to an extent) insights into their thinking.

Facebook too is now embraced by mainstream media (in what must amount to a certain extent to a cynical way of engaging with an audience bigger than any they can expect) and utilized in traditional or semi-traditional coverage. The most recent case in point was the CNN Inauguration coverage with a constant stream of facebook updates by its side through out its intirety.

I’m sure that this is a trend that is not likely to slow down, especially as it is more and more difficult to attract mass audiences like the ones Twitter and Facebook now reach. More improtantly, it will be interesting to see if the relatively recent acceptance of Twitter by the mainstream media has a knock-on effect in encouraging more people to become Tweeple.