Obama: not losing the online momentum

February 10, 2009

white-house-site4 Yet another Obama and the web post. Zzzzzzz. Many apologies, but the subject matter is too good to let go.

Much has been said about the positioning of the blog on the White House website. It’s right there, in first place in the first submenu (see image). It’s nothing more than a symbolic gesture however as the blog only informs and does not do what a “real” blog does (engagement via comments or trackbacks, references to other blogs etc.) And I understand that: their blog is for information purposes only; the White House can’t suddenly start blogging as if they were a political commentator, it’d be ridiculous, inappropriate, totally out of their remit, time-consuming and bound to get out of hand.

No, what really shows that the Obama administration gets the web is what’s still going on on barackobama.com. In addition to an exceptional candidate, the success of the campaign for the Presidency was based on two factors which were both web-enabled: 1) mammoth donations; and 2) mobilisation of supporters.

The latter is still taking place via the site, as people can meet likeminded supporters, organise events, find events near them, all via the site. That’s what makes it special: it’s not the fancy web gimmicks, it’s the grassroots mobilisation on the ground that’s being enabled simply by making the logistics easier. Seems basic, but it’s pretty revolutionary in a sense: everyone had assumed that people were too busy and politically apathetic to engage in participatory politics, but that was plain wrong – all they needed was a leader to rally around and the organisational aspect taken care of somewhat.

What’s more, the Democrats are now being far-sighted enough to build on the momentum from the campaign by keeping it going rather than resting on their laurels. Good for them.

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One Response to “Obama: not losing the online momentum”

  1. Erin Lynch Says:

    Could not agree more on your observation re: the organisational aspect of participatory politics. Logistics seem to be the biggest obstacle to political inclusion, and Obama´s method changed the dynamic in a very simple and powerful way. Well put!


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