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Obama and the Facebooker

Obama and the Facebooker

Today’s New York Times profiles Chris Hughes, one of the four founders of Facebook, who left the company in early 2007 to begin work on Barack Obama’s new-media campaign as a part of his run for the presidency.

His efforts, using the lessons learned from founding and running Facebook, have paid off for Senator Obama in ways many could only imagine…

The campaign’s new-media strategy, inspired by popular social networks like MySpace and Facebook, has revolutionized the use of the Web as a political tool, helping the candidate raise more than two million donations of less than $200 each and swiftly mobilize hundreds of thousands of supporters before various primaries.

The centerpiece of it all is, where supporters can join local groups, create events, sign up for updates and set up personal fund-raising pages. “If we did not have online organizing tools, it would be much harder to be where we are now,” Mr. Hughes said.

Mr. Obama, now the presumptive Democratic nominee, credits the Internet’s social networking tools with a “big part” of his primary season success.

Their current challenge? How to extend beyond their base of internet-savvy supporters and engage a broader audience through social media tools like in order to draw more supporters into a deeper level of engagement and awareness of the Senator’s campaign.

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The article is also interesting for what it doesn’t say — in the last Presidential election, in 2004, candidate Howard Dean, now the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, used the internet in highly effective ways to engage his supporters and raise vast sums of money for his campaign.

His use of the internet was a precursor for the sort of operation that Chris Hughes and others have put together for Senator Obama – what might 2012 bring us in the way of politically based social media tools?

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