The way political information is distributed, the way a politician runs his or her campaign, and the way an election is won have all changed since the dawning of the internet. While traditional outlets including televised press conferences and town halls were how people interested in politics heard about their potential candidates, now there are a plethora of ways for politicians to reach their constituets, and it is up to those politicians to decide the best way to do so.
Take former president Barack Obama and his 2008 campaign for the presidential seat. It will go down in history books that Mr. Obama was the first president to win a political election by way of using the web, in addition to traditional, 1.0 methods. Young voters under age 25 were instrumental in electing this leader, as nearly 70% of registered voted between the ages of 18-25 pulled the level for Obama in 2008. This is in great part due to this ability to use the web as a tool that young people were literate, and even obsessed with. The platforms he maintained included Facebook, Twitter, the MyBarackObama website, Youtube, a blog, and buying online ads rather than only traditional TV and radio spots.
Below is a video used to promote the 2008 election of Barack Obama, it was distributed via Youtube and posted to President Obama’s Twitter and immediately went viral:
The web has also allowed for not only people interested in politics, but those not as involved to become aware of candidates and where they lie on issues important to them. Rather than having to seek out traditional outlets, which only those with a keen interest in politics would do, the internet as a platform for distributing political information reached American citizen who would have never turned to C-SPAN on their television sets, or PBS on their radios. In 2008, not only Obama’s message that resonated with youth, but also the ability to research at their finger tips via platforms they were comfortable with, like Twitter, and with just the click of a follow button, ensured Obama would reach more people then a electoral candidate ever had before.
This tweet following the 2012 re-eleciton of President Obama, was the most popular tweet ever at the time of its posting:
I can only imagine that today Obama’s 2008 election strategy is a case study used by people running for all types of office. Donald Trump has become next politician to really get a handle on social media and the web 2.0 and use it to his advantage, along with traditional outlets. In fact, Mr. Trump used Twitter pre-election as much as he uses it post-election. Here is a tweet he posted just yesterday:
Web 2.0 had made Politics 2.0 a reality, and one that can be harnessed to reach the highest office in the land, if used correctly.