Much has been made of Barack Obama’s use of new media to mobilise voters and generate microdonations to support his presidential campaign.
Speaking at today’s Digital News Affairs 2009 (DNA) Jodi Williams, press lead for the Obama Campaign, explained the team’s use of the internet as a tool to connect people ‘who otherwise wouldn’t have been connected’.
This meant building a presence for Obama on social networks, coordinating online donation schemes and collecting information on potential voters so that directions to polling stations and offers of transport could be made via text on voting day.
Many of the techniques could be applied to Europe for candidates in the forthcoming European Parliament elections, particularly because of deeper broadband presentation, added Williams.
Really? Could Obama’s campaign have been as successful without that key component – the candidate himself. Is there anyone in European politics who inspires the same debate/feeling/mass participation?
Fortunately Stephen Clark, representing the European Parliament on the panel, conceded this point:
“It can’t be denied that it [Obama’s campaign] was about candidate and political situation at that time.
“It’s very difficult to find a political figure known across Europe. In a parliamentary system perhaps the issues are the way to go.”