Yesterday we made history in the US by electing Barack Obama as our 44th President. Obama overcame numerous obstacles to win the election. Besides being the first African American to win the presidency, he had to beat Hillary Clinton in a heated primary election. Never before were we given the choice to choose either a woman or a black man to be our next president in the primary election. Obama also had to overcome the perception that he lacked the politcal experience to be our next president.
So how did Obama do the impossible? Of course he started by surrounding himself with an incredible team of strategists and campaign advisors. They created an aggressive plan and executed flawlessly. They broke down so many barriers and crossed into states that were considered "off limits" to the Democrats.
I think one the biggest reasons Obama succeeded was because they embraced Social Media from the start and engaged millions of 18-25 year olds that never participated in elections. I laughed with I heard Obama had a Facebook page. I laughed even harder when I heard he was on MySpace. Then I heard he was using Twitter! Why in the world would someone running for president want to be on Twitter?
It’s so clear now why he did it. He reached out to a generation that never affected an election before. He engaged them with their own toys and spoke their language. He built online communities that attracted millions of 18-25 year olds and got them excited about the political process. There were more registered voters and more votes cast in this election than ever and many were the younger generation.
Not only did the 18-25 year olds participate in the online communities, they joined the offline campaign. They worked their tails off for Obama because he reached out to them and engaged them on their terms. They bought into what he was saying and they helped create a grass roots effort never seen before.They hit the streets and got millions of Americans involved in the election. As the buzz grew for the Democrats, the Republican buzz grew just as fast.
Everyone was engaged in this election which is so great to see. Elections were become stale and boring. Peoeple didn’t feel like they could make a difference so many didn’t bother to vote. Less than 50% of all eligible voters would elect our officials. It was very sad to watch.
Now Obama has changed the playing field forever and his use of Social Media leveled the playing field for everyone. Now even the underdogs can make a difference using the power of online commmunities.