Everyone in social media and public relations has watched in amazement as Barack Obama’s campaign made better use of Web 2.0/social media than any other campaign in history, demonstrating mastery of social networking, viral (truly) video and mobile initiatives. (Yes, the VP announcement SMS thing was a screw-up, but the strategy was right.)
In the past, the Web has not been kind to politicians, with Howard Dean’s 2004 Iowa Caucus concession speech “war whoop” rocketing around the Internet, and Ted Stevens’s “Internet Tubes” remarks being mercilessly lambasted with YouTube videos viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.
But 2008 will be recognized as the year Web 2.0 played a major role in positively influencing the electorate. The Obama campaign, and now administration, and organizations like Moveon.org, have exposed millions of “ordinary” Americans to these new communications tools.
And while @BarackObama is the most followed user on Twitter, it’s unlikely he’ll be tweeting you “great idea!” or “lol!” any time soon. The demands of the office, security considerations, and prioritization of where the administration and new president will invest their time and our money, will influence how Web 2.0 is used by the federal government. In fact, the best uses of social media may be invisible to citizens…
To read more about why I think this is the case, please check out my column in this month’s Talent Zoo.