Monday, June 16

New Media Breaking New Ground

I recently saw a 20/20 segment on Chris Hughes, the 24-year-old founder of Facebook, who left Silicon Valley to join Barack Obama's new media team for his campaign. This article from ABCNews takes a behind the scenes look at how Hughes is using social networking sites and new media to bring the common voter more closely into the political process.
Four years ago, Hughes was a Harvard sophomore, helping his two roommates develop what would become Facebook Inc., the popular social networking Web site.

But when he learned Obama was running for president a year and a half ago, Hughes left Silicon Valley and put his Facebook career on hold to focus on what he calls online grassroots organizing" for the campaign.

Facebook and MySpace is used to connect friends or like-minded people together in a social networking setting. He's extending that concept to Obama's website "where people can learn about Obama, create campaign events, and share thoughts about the campaign with each other and the campaign."

But unlike Facebook, Hughes said Obama's Web site is "less about building up a community of people" and "more about investing those people who already support us with the tools for them to reach out in real life and real communities to their friends, their family, their neighbors to bring them into the campaign."

A "Day of National House Parties" on June 28 is one idea that Hughes is working on that will bring all facets of Obama's internet strategy together.

"The idea here is that we're finally done with the primary, and it's time to bring together people who might have been Clinton supporters, independents or disaffected Republicans, and the best way to get them into the campaign is to have Obama supporters reach out to them directly and have them at their house."

The campaign is mailing over 1,000 hosts, who have signed up online, a 10-minute DVD about Obama to show to their guests, and it has posted online instructions for a group discussion about politics and a plan to come back together for a voter registration event.

"All of these different Internet tools lock in," Hughes said. "We use our big list of e-mail supporters to ask them to create the events in the first place; we use our blog structure to get people to promote the events; and then we use the groups in and the listserves to engage as many curious people as possible."

Raising money is another way that Obama has harnassed the power of the internet. Obama has raised over $265 million, almost half from people donating $200 or less, with many of those contributions coming over the internet.

The article goes on to compare how the McCain and Clinton campaigns are using the internet and why their efforts have fallen short of Obama's efforts. Good read if you are interested social media and technology.


Classic MaMa said...

Man this kid is smart.

The Gang's All Here! said...

It's been so interesting to track this kid's journey through this campaign. He's smart and savvy and a great asset to Obama's push for the younger crowd for certain.


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