The Good and Bad Sides of Social Politics

At times, the U.S. presidential election has been called a social media battle. This might be somewhat over the top but the digital landscape, in one way or another, has definitely become a battlefield as candidates strive to leverage social media to give themselves an edge in connecting with voters.

This is similar to 2008 president election between Barack Obama and John McCain. I don’t have to remind you about the much-maligned McCainSpace, which was described as a MySpace knock-off, which struggled against Obama’s well-oiled social media machine on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The obvious message for PR, advertising and digital practitioners is they have to look to the U.S. election to not only see how powerful social media can be but also to learn from how it can be used incorrectly.

At the end of the day, the way that Obama used social media during the 2008 campaign is a powerful case study into social media campaigning at its best.

While the social media activity is through the roof, “the 47% problem” that hammered Mitt Romney recently is proof that social media can turn a campaign on its head.

For those of you may have missed it, a video was disseminated via social media in which during a closed door speech, Romney uttered words that were seen as him writing off 47% of the voting population.

This post isn’t about a political agenda or the validity of the video, it is meant to demonstrate that in 2012, social media is playing an important role in the most vital of national decision-making. It is a fascinating development in politics and sociology.

What happens between now and the election in November will no doubt be played out on social media. It’s up to all marketers and communication experts to pay attention, and learn from the good and the bad.

More: For insight into the tools and strategies used by Obama during his campaign, check out Barack 2.0.

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