Barack Obama Latest to Jump on Social Networking Bandwagon

February 12, 2007 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media

Barack Obama just launched a social media/ social networking website to further his presidential campaign in 2008: my.barackobama.com. While I haven’t made any decisions about who I will support in the 2008 presidential election, I signed up for a “test account” on My.Barackobama.com to test the social media functionality of Obama’s website.  The features/functionality of the site are robust. Users can:

  • Write a blog
  • Help Barack fundraise
  • Discover events nearby/ Create events
  • Network with other supporters
  • Invite friends
  • Write messages to “friends” (e.g. fellow Barack Obama supporters)
  • Join groups/ start groups (just like VOX or Gather)

If you’re a Barack Obama supporter, the site looks like a great way to interact with other supporters.  If you don’t support Obama, the site looks like a good way to get the inside scoop on what his supporters are saying.  I didn’t find any noticeable bugs, which is a good sign.  It looks like the site uses a customiseable white label social media platform – ala Five Across or Social Platform, though I couldn’t find any sign of which solution was used.  I did notice that the blogging feature disables adding  hyperlinks, which is a little frustrating, though it’s not difficult to understand why disabling hyperlinking would make the site easier to administer.

I’m looking forward to seeing what role social media plays in the 2008 presidential election.  So far, Barack is the first candidate to launch his own on-line social network.  Hillary Clinton launched her campaign using an on-line video to announce her candidacy and has a blog.  Her campaign supporters are also using 3rd party social networking sites like MySpace to make waves.  However, at the time of writing this blog, Clinton has yet to launch her own social network.  Two different strategies from two different democratic candidates.  One thing is clear – the forthcoming election campains will provide interesting case studies for anyone interested in social media marketing.  I expect that by 2008, social media marketers will discover a lot more about how to properly target and ignite a winning word of mouth campaign fueled by social media.

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