How Obama won the social media battle

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How Obama won the social media battle

Introduction

In today’s world, with technology and invention, media has become an integral part of people’s lives. Media, such as newspapers, internet, and television are used to communicate, educate and inform societies of new events and situations surrounding them (Greyes 20). Social media is one of the recent forms of media that has grown to be an important platform used in socializing, marketing, campaigning, publicity and any more. According to Greyes, social media comprises of a group of internet applications created for the purposes of creating, exchanging information and socializing. It exists and is formed under the umbrella of web 2.0 that comprises of social networking sites which enable users create connections with others. It includes platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Whatsapp, Instagram and many others.

With its ease of accessibility, social media has given people new and affordable ways of accessing and transmitting information. Studies show that there is increased popularity of social media which has been associated with rising numbers of internet users (Baran N.pag). A high population in social media has enabled information to be distributed to millions of people with just a click of a button. Baran states that it is this element of social sites that have made them to be successful in advertising and political campaigns. The paper will proceed by first looking at the use of social media in politics that will set a platform of analyzing how Obama used the media to win victory in 2008 and its role in his re-election in 2012.  In order to win the 2008 elections and the 2012 reelection, president Obama used social media in a tactical manner. He analyzed its powerful elements, selected his audience well and targeted it to campaign that made him get support over John McCain who had also used the same tools. In order to gain political support in the subsequent years, many more candidates used the social media because it was attributed to the success of Obama and they succeeded as well. The paper therefore, observes that there is a correlation between use of social media and the success of Obama’s campaigns. The success however, does not come by just the use of social media but through effective use of media messages, targeting the right audience, getting their interest and ensuring that information reaches the.

Social media and politics

Smith highlights that the popularity of social media continues to grow where its use has recently gained interest from the political sphere (4). She adds that politicians are becoming more accessible and active in social media in the effort to gain a lot of voters and be popular. Through public participation and feedback, the politicians have the opportunity of showcasing their policies to the public with the aim of garnering support. Smith argues that other politicians use the platforms to make donations so as to display a positive image to the public and get support (9). She asserts that social media has emerged as an important feature in the civic life of the majority of Americans.  Greyes adds that those who used the sites were found to be more politically informed and active compared to the non-users.

Statistics show that in the United States, 60% of adults use social media for one purpose or another while 38% of them are reported to have used the social sites for civic purposes. He adds that 34% use media to enhance political material posted by others, 35% use the sites to encourage others to vote, 28% use the sites to link others to political stories while 20% of the users use the sites to follow elected candidates. It is for this reason that politicians are turning to the sites in order to engage the public on political matters.  Many people today support the use of social media in politics for several reasons, One, social media allows information to flow very fast compared to the traditional forms of media (Miller 15). It therefore, helps the citizens to make informed choices. Social media also allows the public to participate in the political arena by giving criticisms that are essential in enhancing democracy. It enhances the element of openness and collaboration where users have the freedom to express their opinions without fear. In the 2008 elections in the US, both Obama and John used social media as a campaign tool. The success of one over the other came about due to how they used the media.

How Obama won the social media battle in 2008

In the year 2008, president Obama and his staff used several social media platforms as campaign arenas to get support from the Americans and further encourage them to vote. Anderson, points that president Obama’s campaign was the first campaign that strongly used social media platforms (132). Greyes supports this assertion and states that Obama’s social media campaign changed how politicians used political campaigns on social media for political purposes. He adds that Obama won because he used the platform to enhance proper and clear communication to his targeted audiences. One way in which Obama won the social media battle in  2008 was through targeting a particular audience and directing messages to the with the aim of gaining popularity (Anderson 140). According to him, Obama targeted a population of young adults less than 30 years of age. He states he targeted this group because they were active users of sites such as Facebook compared to the older population and therefore, was a powerful tool towards his gain for popularity. Through his ideology of hope and change, he was able to attract the attention of young people who wanted change especially after the Iraq war.  Social media groups such as “students for Barrack Obama” were formed in the year 2007 and they played a major role in getting any supporters for Obama. The age group that was targeted was described to get a lot of political information from social sites like Facebook that made Obama stand a better chance (Smith 14). The president also used communication agency that managed the platform by posting and attending to feedback that was necessary in creating confidence in Obama. Moreover, the support for Obama was enhanced by the number of friends he had on social media. According to Smith, Obama had 2 million Facebook friends compared to his opponent who only had 600000. She connotes that the differences in numbers were also seen in other sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Flicker. It therefore, means that Obama reached a lot of people and possibly got a lot of voters due to high numbers of social media friends.

Another way upon which Obama won the battle was through identifying himself with his targeted groups by personalizing his messages, posts and pictures. Greyes links his identification with the youths through the ways he made his social images appears more youthful and detailed (20). The images enhanced his authenticity as.............


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