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12/09/2008 Social Media: Obama is King of KAOS

Yesterday one of my Triibe members sent me a link to a study about Obama and his use of online and social media during the 2008 campaign. This e-paper, by Yovia founder Jalali Hartman, is titled “Obamanomics: A Study in Social Velocity.”

One of the more interesting premises is that Obama wasn’t taking his playbook from Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign; he was taking it from Stephen Colbert’s fake run for the presidency in 2007! (I think a better role for Colbert would’ve actually been Maxwell Smart instead of Steve Carell, but I digress). That campaign spawned a slew of social media activism.

Hartman points out that Obama spent less than 2% of his huge campaign war chest online, and that McCain actually outspent Obama on paid search by 22 to 1! So how did Obama do so well online?

The study identifies four key components of what they call Social Velocity:
1.    Content
2.    Connections
3.    Community
4.    Conversation

Ultimately, Obama gave up control to his advocates and let them create something unique. I think the best part in the study is describing how Obama’s camp gave every graphic, speech and video clip to a rock band to make a video and to do whatever they wanted. They carried this “no-rules” content strategy throughout the campaign.

Read the report. It’s a great lesson in social media and creating grassroots movements.

In the end, Obama embraced the KAOS of digital and gave up CONTROL. Most brands lack the cojones to do so.


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