Colin Delany’s Learning From Obama: Lessons for Online Communicators in 2009 & Beyond is a great insider’s look at the success stories that came out of the Obama campaign.
The following tools are identified as key elements to the success of the online component of his campaign:
- Multichannel Online Outreach (i.e., YouTube, Facebook, Google Ads)
- Grassroots Outreach/Data Collection
- Text Messaging/Cell Phones
Personally, I am most interested to see how to mobile component of campaigning will continue to evolve. As more and more Americans get smart phones, whether they be personal or for work, a whole new realm of communication opens up. People normally have their phones at all times, so if urgent access is necessary, that’s likely the best way to reach them. The fact that the Obama campaign had a list of roughly 1 million cell phone users is mindblowing— and I believe that those who can reach smart phone users in a creative way will continue to see success (this goes not just for politicians, but for organizations and brands as well).
It’s important to remember what Delany states on pg 11, that “plenty of people not named Barack Obama and not boosted by a vibrant and extensive network of active supporters also won on November 4th.” Despite the fact that going online and “viral” are now recognized as of the utmost importance, that online works when they complement a solid offline campaign. Delany points out that, “Even for online “movements” at the presidential level, the overall results are mixed: Obama may have won, but Dean didn’t in 2004 — and neither did Ron Paul in 2008.”
I loved reading about the structure of the team, which was “separate and equal, but also integrated.” I definitely think this was part of what led to success- not just the individuals, but how they worked as a team and within a larger structure played into it. Also, the emphasis on online/offline integration really spoke to me. This morning, I attended an event where a hashtag was prominently posted throughout the room. Because those who were tweeting were aware of the hashtag, they were able to connect online and expand the conversation. If the hashtag had not been posted, the tweets would not be connected and not be quite as valuable.
At the end of the day, for politicians, real-life supporters mean more than Twitter pundits who aren’t even constituents. But when those Twitter pundits have the reach to influence constituents— that’s when the magic happens.