there's a white paper on barak obama's use of social media as part of his campaign. you can download the pdf here - the social pulpit [ht bob]. the paper is several pages and if you are like me you may have good intentions to read it but it's too long to be bothered to read now... so let me try and a) save you the hassle or b) persuade you it's worth it.
i have been banging on about the new environment and how different it is. and in relation to technology that one of the challenges to get is that the shifts taking place are not just about technology - they are changing a whole lot more. see my 4 interactions with here comes everybody 1 2 3 4 , review of tribes and starfish and spider or leadership reflections for example. my point is that barak seems to get this - he's actually native to the new environment - so we may be witnessing a seismic shift in political organisation. as the article puts it - away from the president's bully pulpit to a social pulpit where others take up and deliver (and create and reform?) the message and actively participate in their small worlds/networks/localities. it's the second half of the paper that particularly struck me which lists lessons from the campaign as follows:
- ladder support through tiers of engagement
- empower super users/influencers
- provide source material for user generated content
- going where the people are
- using tools people are familiar with
- ensuring that people can find your content
- mobilising supporters through mobile devices
- harnessing analytics to constantly improve engagement activities
- building the online operation to scale
- choosing the right team
i won't comment on them all here but just pick a couple...
going where the people are - recognises that while 60% of people in the US belong to an online social network most belong to one only. so don't expect them to come to a social network you create - you have to flow in theirs. this is almost exactly the sentiment behind my blog redesign and explanation in the top right hand box of the blog and yes it's the reason i joined facebook. what's weird is that so many organisations anbd charities are investing in their own social networks and sites. i understand it and obama clearly had a very effective hub of his own but largely to give people the tools to flow and communicate in their own online presences. obama identified some key networks amongst black, hispanic and asian communities and not just the facebooks. so maybe there is some intentional border crossing and getting out of comfort zones needed to enter other peoples worlds?
providing source materials for user generated content - what interested me about this section is the issue of trust. over 400 000 videos and 400 000 blog posts were created by people in their networks. the campaign could never have done that on its own but crucially it was better that it didn’t. why? because people trust someone like themselves more than a politician or religious leader or CEO or whatever other official. i.e. let someone in a local community be the voice in that community. it's such a simple point but how many organisations want or have their experts doing the talking?!
some people are saying that this use of social media is why obama is now president. i have no idea if that is overblown. but it is brilliant and there is so much to reflect on particularly for people working in advocacy or charity sector with a message, a big idea, a meme, a heresy.
and needless to say going where people are and giving tools to indigenous leaders - sounds like the instincts we could do with around mission and the church?! and yet what do we experience so much of the time in church programmes - experts, theologians, messages on video from the leaders (why do alpha do that?! - update:i have been corrected on this in the comments and they no longer do so apologies!) and very little trust of the local to deliver effectively!
it's been a very exciting week - i have actually looked forward to getting the newspaper and have been reading the sports section after the news!