Social media made a huge impact in the 2008 election.
Now that it is officially 2016 and November is quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking about a new President of the United States. I’m sure you are all well aware that a new election season is in full swing, from tense debates to off-color humor, this 2016 political season is sure to be one to remember – fondly or not… Before there were hand jokes and candidates selling steak, there was a Senator from Illinois looking to make a change and pushing hope in 2008.
From the campaign trail to the Oval Office, social media has been at the forefront of Barack Obama’s ability to reach and connect with his audience, fans and voters. Though Mr. Obama has done well for himself, his wife, Michelle Obama has mastered the art of social media herself. Keep reading to see how social media played a role in the 2008 election and how both Mr. and Mrs. Obama have used the different platforms expertly while in the White House.
Social Media & the 2008 Election
In 2008 when then Senator Barack Obama was running for president, Facebook was a mere four years old and MySpace was still a legitimate and relevant way to connect with friends and share information. At the time, you may have heard about “social networking” or “social media” and thought it wasn’t for you because that’s where high school and college aged students were spending their time. Who needs to be poked anyway? Though you may have dismissed Facebook, there was one man who did not: Barack Obama.
Unlike the McCain/Palin ticket, Obama/Biden had the unprecedented support of young people. Not only were young voters getting involved with politics like never before, they were being reached out to like never before.
The New York Times reported, “Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans.”
Not only did the Obama campaign utilize social media to reach out to supporters, social media also changed the way politics were discussed, reported and even how debates ran. US News explained, “During the presidential campaign, [Facebook] launched its own forum to encourage online debates about issues. Facebook also teamed up with ABC for election coverage and political forums and CNN teamed up with YouTube to hold presidential debates.”
Many have called the 2008 process the “Facebook Election” because of the insurmountable advantage it gave Obama over Senator John McCain. Not only was McCain behind in the polls, he also fell behind in social connections on Facebook and MySpace. As Bloomberg News reported, “The Democratic Presidential candidate grabbed almost 1.5 million ‘friends’ on leading social networks Facebook and MySpace… while Senator McCain who locked up the Republican nomination, has 203,348 supporters on the two dominant social networks.”
Roughly 1.3 million social media users made up the difference between their connections on social media; it’s not hard to see why the youth vote made such an impact on the Obama campaign over John McCain’s efforts.
After Barack Obama dominated the 2008 election with the help of social media, he also continued to use it to his advantage from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The President of the United States
President Barack Obama may be known for many things, but in terms of social media, he may be best known for being accessible. He has found himself on many popular sites, YouTube channels and web series. Here are three ways Barack has used social media to his advantage while in the White House.
President Barack Obama is using social media to reach young voters.
3 Unique Social Media Platforms Used by the President
In 2012, while up for re-election, the incumbent went to the Reddit offices and sat down for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. Over 22,000 comments and questions were left for him to answer, 10 of which he chose. Though many senior aides did not want the President going to Reddit, his campaign believed it was important, “Because a whole bunch of turnout targets were on Reddit.” It’s important to know where your audience is and to be there. Continue reading