Since the 2008 presidential election, politicians have begun to rely on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to exercise political power. Why? The reason why is because politicians saw the vital role social media played during Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. But how did social media platforms help Obama win both elections? The social media platforms helped mobilize his campaign by raising money and spreading his campaign’s message.
This eventually led to other politicians adopting Obama’s social networking strategies. One good example of a politician adopting Obama’s social networking strategies is in 2010 when Gavin Newsom, the major of San Francisco, announced his candidacy via Twitter.
Rory O’Connor author of Friends, Followers and the Future likes to call Obama’s social networking strategy as ‘politics 2.0.’ “Political campaigns are now beginning to produce and distribute their own media” (O’Connor, 188). He discusses that social media platforms are a way to mobilize political campaigns through word of mouth. For example, a politician would tweet a message thus, whoever is following him would re-tweet it. Then whoever is following that person would see the message and further re-tweeting would continue like a cycle. Any message a politician would Tweet would be “moving at the speed of light” because of the accessibility of the internet in the United States (O’Connor, 186).
The rise of social media has provided politicians with more control over the messages their campaigns’ are trying to tell the public. Granted the campaigns don’t have control over how that message is interpreted but the mainstream media won’t twist the politician’s message to conform into a specific angle of a story like a reporter would.
Furthermore, even in John H. Parmelee and Shannon L. Bichard’s Politics and the Twitter Revolution is states that political tweets are a way to mobilize a political campaign because of its influence. The influence of a politicians tweets are determined by a number of factors. One of these factors being that every time their tweets are re-tweeted their message spreads like wild fire through Twitter to other people who share a common perspective. “The influence of political leaders tweets also may depend on the degree to which leaders and followers share similar views” (Parmelee & Bichard, 74). Thus, further supporting my thesis that social media helps mobilize politics.
These social media platforms also helped Obama’s campaign raise money. By Obama’s team composing a simple tweet that directed his followers to go visit my.barackobama.com helped mobilize his campaign by raising money. If you would have visited his website during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, the home page would have a very noticeable section were anyone can go and make a donation for his campaign. Moreover, the re-tweeting of his followers to go visit is website helped him to further gain mobilization.
In conclusion, social media platforms play a vital role in politics. The platforms help mobilize campaigns for politicians. In Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns it helped raise money and spread the message of his campaign. One specific social media platform that helped his campaign do this was Twitter. Through Twitter Obama’s team was able to tweet his messages. These tweets were re-tweeted by followers and followers of his followers creating a chain reaction. As a result, Barack Obama’s campaign was able to raise money and spread Obama’s message through Twitter. Since there was so much success for Obama’s campaigns, other politicians have begun to also use social media platforms as a tool in politics.