The Digital Media President

Last week, I endorsed Barack Obama as America’s first “Social Media” President.

Last night, we had a scintillating conversation as to whether it was social media that produced Obama’s victory.  Our whip-smart students quickly concluded that it was impossible to prove whether one produced the other (especially because of all the other factors at play: the economy, Palin, Bush, Obama’s charisma and excellent community organizing).  One perceptive student remarked that the only accurate way to gauge the effectiveness of social media would be to create two identical candidates and track them (it’s a Research & Methodologies class after all!).

However, in looking at mybarackobama.com and analyzing a slew of articles (such as this one, and see The Digital President), we did decide that it did represent an superb execution of a social media strategy — and in that way can serve as communications model well beyond the political arena.  We then asked ourselves whether he would still use this approach once in the White House.

We have our answer today: Change.gov.  This appears to be Obama’s platform for “Open government.”

The story of the campaign and this historic moment has been your story. Share your story and your ideas, and be part of bringing positive lasting change to this country.

Without a doubt, the president-elect’s staff intends to engage his supporters in the new Administration’s agenda.  Of note: there are less participatory tools on this site compared to mybarackobama.com (notably no “Action” menu item).  At this point, it appears to be a slickly-designed online suggestion box, thought I do like the emphasis on “storytelling.”

But it at least extends the sentiment he fomented during the election.  And certainly, many candidates to come will attempt to emulate Obama’s social media strategy, probably to varying degrees of success (and failure).  As we have seen in the MCDM, it’s not enough to have the technology.  You’ve got to have a clear idea of what you want to communicate, and exemplary campaign organization in both the physical and virtual world.

p.s. I briefly considered archiving the front page of my dead-tree newspaper yesterday.  Not just because of the Obama victory, but because I probably won’t be subscribing to a newspaper by the time the next election rolls around (if they even exist by then).  Still, I love this really cool collage of all the newspaper headlines. [Thanks to Teachstreet.com‘s Dave Schappell’s Twitter feed for inspiring this post]

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