The readings for this week do a great job of explaining the ways in which President Obama used the internet and social media to enhance his campaign and ultimately win the presidency. By comparing these readings to last week’s reading on Howard Dean, it is clear that strategy, especially in a networked public sphere (Kreiss, 2010), is extremely important in a successful campaign. The question, however, is can all internet campaigns be successful if they use Obama’s techniques?
In the Slotnick and Lutz readings, we see an “inside look” at the Obama campaign, in a similar way that we saw in Dean’s campaign, from Trippi. Lutz relates Obama to Dean when he explains that Obama was not the first pioneer of the internet campaign, but more importantly, he was the first to create votes from online donors AND channel online fervor into ground support (Lutz, 2009). Obama did in fact succeed in both of these realms, something that Howard Dean was unable to do, which played a large factor in Obama winning the election. Just as we read Trippi’s advice on creating internet support in Dean’s campaign, Lutz also gives us ten points that the Obama campaign capitalized on. One important point that Lutz states is, “harnessing analytics to constantly improve engagement activities” (Lutz, 2009). If the Dean campaign had used a similar strategy and tracked the success of emails, etc., then they may have been more successful in generating actual votes like Obama.
It is clear as to why Obama’s campaign was better than Dean’s, and although I’ve made suggestions on Dean’s campaign, can Obama’s strategy really work for everyone? In Gueorguieva’s reading, “Voters, MySpace, and YouTube,” the issue of not having enough people to manage the internet sites is addressed. Just as the Dean campaign needed more help, any campaign has the potential to fall into the same trap. Even if the campaign strategy is working, if there is no one to run the sites, then support will fall. Obama’s strategies seem beneficial, but there are so many factors that can effect a campaign that Obama’s strategies may not work all the time. Is there any way to improve on Obama’s strategies from Lutz? Will the campaign still be affective if you are missing one of the ten points? How can politicians be more creative with social media campaigning after it has been around for almost ten years?