Social Media Highway to the White House

Photo by Shubert Clencia/Creative Commons

It is apparent that in today’s society, people are prone to using digital social media. The use of social media has taken over the way we interact and influences our daily decisions. An important decision that many Americans take part in is voting. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, President Obama knew exactly how to reach out to voters. Obama’s campaign team organized his campaigning in a way that would make him relatable to voters especially young voters and could reach out to them through the undefeated power of digital media. Some forms that were successfully used were Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. His campaign was successfully driven by using social media by posting campaign ads and publicly connecting to millions of people through this form of communication which they interact with on a daily basis. The success rate in Obama’s presidential election was solely based on the interactivity in digital media with American voters. During the 2008 Presidential election, Obama made a ground breaking mark in political campaigning by using new digital media, which even conquered the strategies of his opponent John McCain. It is imperative for political candidates to take advantage of the ongoing changes in technology because of the potential to lead him or her to victory and become easily accepted by voters.

Without a doubt digital media is evolving, and staying up to date with its evolution is crucial for us to accomplish tasks. Most adults who are ages forty and older are accustomed to voting and may not need to be influenced as much as younger adults ages eighteen to twenty years old which may be there first time voting. Young adults are attracted to the use of social media and it is our modern day way of communicating and reaching out to others. These younger and inexperienced adults may need to be influenced and find excitement within the candidate. Many young voters in particular use new social media in their daily lifestyle. Young adults’ everyday lives involve the constant checking and interaction with digital media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Using these types of social media gives us a way to express ourselves with free speech. When there is a new type of social media tool, we are adapted to using it and are exposed to what the tool contains. Political campaigns are a very important part of our nation and using the tools of digital media to expose their beliefs and objectives reaches out to the youth as well as older age groups. Without including the use of social media in politics many young adults may not have been as active in these political affairs.

Not only does using social media for political campaigns appeal to and get the attention of young adults, but it also brings likability with allowing voters to be interactive. When voters notice that a candidate is taking special time to reach out to them through a worldwide source like social media they are intrigued and also most likely to engage with the candidate. It is as though the candidate is taking a special effort to reach out to the voter by approaching the voter instead of the voter approaching them. According to Bimber, Obama openly offered many ways for voters to interact with his campaign on digital media and made it interesting. Obama’s Facebook, Twitter account and YouTube exposure was the highlight of his interaction with voters in hopes that he could reach as many people as he could. Many voters had the ability to “like” Obama on Facebook, post their opinions on Facebook, watch his eye catching videos on YouTube such as the Obama Girls and the Yes We Can videos and also retweet messages from his campaign. The posting of videos on YouTube encouraged Obama supporters to post their own videos. The Obama Girls video was posted on YouTube about a woman singing about how much she loves Obama. This video went viral and showed a form of expression and opinion from his supporters. The Yes We Can videos were also another form of expression which used the original Obama slogan and evolved into a music video with the pop singer Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. This exposure of his advertisements and campaigning boosted his number of voters and intrigued many who were indecisive about who to vote for. According to Bimber, Obama received about sixty-six percent of voters who were under thirty years old. Therefore, the best successful strategy for reaching out to the public is through digital media.

As Obama used different and unique strategies of reaching out to voters on digital media during his 2008 political campaign, his opponent John McCain did not use this advantage. According to Bimber, during the 2008 campaign McCain did not take advantage of the new changes of our ways of communicating. He was not fully indulged in the evolution of communicating with American citizens. He did not take full advantage of all social media outlets and try as hard to reach out through every outlet possible. According to Bimber, at the end of the 2008 campaigns Obama had about seven thousand more Twitter followers than McCain. McCain did not get as deeply engaged with the social media atmosphere which brought him to a disadvantage. McCain was at a disadvantage as it relates to winning over voters because he did not use the outlet that reaches out to as many people which made a difference in who won the election.

Understanding the power of digital media and the large quantity of connected people gives those like Obama a greater opportunity of reaching success as opposed to those who do not use it to their advantage. Obama has shown that using social media in campaigns gives needed exploitation and brings people to understand the candidate better which helps the candidate gain supporters. Obama understood the changes in media and used every tactics he could to win over America.

The result of who was successful in this election is obvious; Obama’s campaign team developed a groundbreaking move in politics. This move was groundbreaking because it changed traditional techniques for campaigning into a new and fresh way of gaining supporters. The use of new digital media can cause a great change in the results of anyone who is campaigning because it exposes what is conveyed to everyone who is connected to a digital media outlet. Using social media has taken over our methods of communicating and there is no other choice for campaigners but to embrace it and use it to their advantage. Connecting to voters through this tool of interacting brings a personal connection between the candidate and millions of people.

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