In the follow-up to last week’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama today is participating in a Google+ hangout.
More than 225,000 people voted on or submitted questions, and six of those participants have been invited to join the live conversation with the president, asking questions and providing their own opinions on the state of the country.
This type of social media outreach may be new to American politics, but it is standard for Obama, who made a name for himself as a trailblazer of citizen engagement by using social media. Amidst Republican concerns that the president does not uphold traditional American values, his campaign team would be well-served to highlight his signature contribution of taking the decision-making processes back to the people via social media. Events like this Google+ hangout prove he is intune with average Americans.
The Obama team wrote the book on social media in politics. Many analysts credit his victory to a skillful use of digital platforms – YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter — which attracted a relatively younger grassroots constituency and led to 66.8 million votes and $500 million in just online donations. To be clear, Obama’s campaign team was not the first to employ social media — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) raised $1 million online in 2000, and Howard Dean mobilized online support through Meetup groups in 2004 — but it was the first to effectively convert online engagement into actual votes. Compared to McCain, Obama’s social media hits in the 2008 election season were four times higher on YouTube and five times higher on Facebook.
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