Barack Obama’s 2008 Campaign for Presidency represented a fundamental shift in the ways that online media can play a role in a political campaign. It is clear through the readings that Barack Obama dominated John McCain in all facets of the social media battle, but what was it exactly about the Obama’s mastery of social media campaigning helped lead him to his landslide victory?
In Edelman’s piece entitled The Social Pundit, 10 lessons are outlined to summarize the key points to Obama’s social media success. Of the 10 lessons, 9 appear to stem from the most important strategy point – laddering support through tiers of engagement. The goal of this strategy was to “provide opportunities for the most casual supporters to stay involved, while also providing more strenuous opportunities for the smaller core of activists.” (Edelman, 6) This shows that the Obama campaign fully understood the levels of activism different people can achieve, from the highly involved advocate to the casually involved personal participant. The most important key to this strategy was that it empowered people who felt passionate about the Obama campaign to actively pursue donations, host events, and campaign in battleground areas.
The question that arises with this is how does President Obama’s 2012 Campaign ladder look? In a much more tightly contested election where it appears many Americans are a little more skeptical, is the Obama campaign managing to match or surpass the amount of social media users who quality as advocates? In Gureoguiva’s article, in table 13.2, you can see that while in the 2008 election Obama dominated all sides of social media, Romney was also popular despite losing the nomination. Surely in the last 4 years Romney has made significant strides to catch up to Obama in the social media battle, so how can the Obama campaign manage to maintain its lead in this area. If Obama is unable to match the amount of passionate and active voters at the top of the ladder who do the heavy lifting in the final stretches of the campaign, how will this effect the final voting numbers?