With their skyrocketing popularity, social media sites such as Facebook, which leads the global social networking pack, have become a hot trending topic in and of themselves. Founded, like many online social networks, by university students who initially promoted their product to other students, Facebook has quickly made its way to The White House. It is safe to say that, having made its mark on history, social media is here to stay.
Up until now, no other president had used media in such inventive ways during a presidential campaign – with the exception of John F. Kennedy. JFK revolutionized the use of television during his White House run with friendly ads and memorable campaign jingles that remind us of the Kennedy name to this day.
Before Barack Obama was elected to be the nation’s 44th President in 2008, he was already a social media sensation – with 380% more Facebook fans than rival John McCain. Even then he must have known that a smart social media strategy would be instrumental in helping him win re-election. He has an entire staff dedicated to operating Facebook pages and YouTube channels, sharing pictures on Instagram and crowdsourcing petitions on We The People as well as hosting hangouts on Google+ and Q&As on Twitter.
Obama and his administration clearly have put a priority on an open and engaging dialogue between the government and its public, the first of its kind in presidential history.
This makes it easy for the president and his constituents to engage with one another digitally – it’s refreshing to tweet the administration directly. Whether it’s about politics or an attempt to make the Monday after Superbowl Sunday a national holiday (yes please), the possibilities for exchanging ideas are endless.
During the holidays, the administration even launched a Pinterest account and welcomed pinners to the executive mansion to check out the décor and work on a craft project with the White House florist.
“We go out there, listen, get feedback, iterate on that and try to improve. It’s as important to listen as it is to speak” said Marcon Phillips, the White House’s director of New Media.
Finally! It’s time to get personal and get involved. A great way to participate in the national conversation about the policies that affect our daily lives is literally at our fingertips – giving us the opportunity to interact on the everyday issues we care about most. It’s gratifying to know that there’s someone on the other end taking your thoughts into consideration.
So, next time you want more people paying attention to your ideas, think about throwing a #BarackObama into your tweet.