Ok — let me just start by saying I’m no political analyst.
While I certainly follow election coverage enough to educate myself as a voter, most times the political pundits’ affection for talking in circles leaves me nothing but dizzy.
What I am quite clear on, however, is the role that social media has played in this election.
Last July saw our very first YouTube debate and Facebook didn’t take long to get in on the act. Bloggers (both paid and unpaid) have become a political tour de force-to-be-reckoned-with. And let’s not forget how candidates across the political spectrum are learning to respect the power of viral video and Twitter.
Yes, it’s web warfare out there — and we’re just scratching the surface.
So what lessons can we learn from “Politics 2.0?” What are the candidates doing right?
Well, for starters:
- They’ve given up control — but are definitely participating in the dialogue.
- They’re putting the emphasis on engagement and time spent on a site — not just page views and click-throughs.
- They’re recognizing that authenticity wins votes. They can’t hide behind clever marketing messages and make claims they can’t back up. People can and will use the web to expose a phony. And you can bet it will go viral.
- They’re breaking down geographical boundaries. Far more people have watched online videos of the candidates in New Hampshire than live in the state.
- They’re putting their money where their mouths are. More than ever, campaigns have hired people who specialize in “new media,” like Director of Online Communication, Web Strategist, etc.
And, best of all…
- They’re attracting young people in record numbers. Now what college and/or university can ignore that?
Like it or not, campaigning is a different world. Will you get the vote in ’08?
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