Obama’s Tips on Foursquare: A New Grassroots Political Campaign


President Obama has been posting tips about his stops on the Midwest economic bus tour through the White House Foursquare account. Beyond accruing ‘cool’ points, what might be the motivation behind setting up yet another social media channel? Here’s my take on what this means:

Mobile grassroots campaign: The President will continue with a grassroots approach that taps young adults in his 2012 bid. Foursquare has set up an automated system so that the White House account immediately follows back every account that starts following Obama. Currently, there are close to 30,000 followers on the @whitehouse Foursquare account. That’s 30,000 (and growing) mobile contacts that can be mobilized locally in the following phases of the campaign.  

Obama’s social media share of voice will grow organically: In the 2008 elections, online searches we ran using social media monitoring tools had to be cleaned of unrelated Obama comments. The name was everywhere. We’ll see a rise on search results and posts with Obama tags, thanks to Foursquare check-ins not only from the White House, but Obama followers. 

Politics will infuse personal social network accounts: Let’s not forget the connecting ties between networks. Foursquare check-ins can easily be Facebook status updates or turn into Tweets. Dashboards like Tweetdeck allow users to manage multiple accounts from one spot. A check-in at an Obama event can spread to multiple personal networks at once.

Security risk? Is it safe for a President to communicate where he is so often and in almost real-time? Arguably, it may not be the best idea. But citizen reporters with social media access are already reporting Obama sightings with updates, pictures, videos. The media are following the Obama tour closely. @whitehouse account is just another official channel of information that’s helping the Obama campaign steer the agenda and direct traffic to Whitehouse.gov and the blog. 

Posted via email from dotwom’s posterous

Kanye Creeps Up on Healthcare Reform – on Twitter!

I could not resist sharing this image when I saw the little red dot in the Twitter word cloud. Our friends at Motivequest have been closely tracking the healthcare reform debate buzz online. The image below shows the various topics and key words mentioned on Twitter, related to this issue. “Obama” and “reform” are obviously in the lead. But what’s that red dot? Kanye is still in the mix! He’s slowly edging towards the center. Obama, watch out! He’s going to steal the stage!

Hillary vs Obama on Video

I read this fantastic post in SF Gate a few days ago on how the Clinton campaign lost the online video war.  San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli chronicles the Clinton campaigns missteps in communicating with online audiences through video releases. He notes how lack of an authentic voice, wrong script choices, mash-ups lead to the undesirable kind of viral activity. 

I don’t think it’s just the video medium though… The Clinton campaign didn’t find its voice until we saw how hard Hillary was fighting and were reminded how hard she had worked to get there, representing all the women. 
Obama, meanwhile, had a very simple and clear message. Change. How refreshing amidst all the economic, social and political chaos! His videos and speeches are so emotional, you feel you are part of his movement just by passing it along. I am not even an American citizen. I cannot vote. I have to admit I felt drawn to his story as someone who lives here and has family affected by US politics in North America and abroad. 
Obama said what was on everyone’s mind. The Web made it loud enough for everyone to hear. An authentic message, powered by passion and emotion, distributed by 1’s and 0’s.