The US Presidential Candidature

…is an excellent way of citing the differences and knowledge between the campaign teams and how they’re using the internet and digital media. I think it’s important for two reasons. It’s important because the US election will be won on-line and it’ll be won by the candidate who is able to react to and converse with the US citizens the best.

Barack Obama’s campaign team have chosen the only video player that has a way for bloggers to grab the code needed to embed his video into a post or web site. The video player is from Brightcove. You can also email it right from the video as well. And all of those emails still flow through his main website. He doesn’t have a blog at the moment.

This way you don’t have to have ever gone to Barack’s website to make this a viral success (and the campaign doesn’t want people going to the website, right now it’s about awareness) and this is the main reason why his video can be found far more than the other candidates (It would be good to get figures on this…Darren?).

Youtube’s page impressions and visitors are impressive – but they don’t matter unless Youtube keeps up with their competitors.

If there’s a video with the right tone and you encourage people to spread it – and they can do just that from the player – then I think they will and you’ll blitz the ‘net with more instances of the video player than unique views on youtube.

Hilary has gone for a more traditional media audience. She offers more videos from her site than any of the other candidates, and she also offers them in Quicktime format (can be used by the news stations and other traditional mediums – Flash can’t). But you can’t share these videos and Real player, which is used by her, is just as useless to news stations as Flash. What’s interesting is the selection of what is put onto YouTube and what isn’t.

She does have a blog and is responding to people’s comments – well at least someone is…And some of the most annoying animated gifs I’ve EVER seen!

Joe Biden’’s (didn’t even know about this guy…) website has a video player, but there’s no way to use it in blogs or even download it. The site itself has prominent links to YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr, but they feel like they were added as part of a “‘how to be relevant’” checklist. If it isn’’t real, people will see through it.

Having a web presence means something different in this election, and I would argue in elections to come. Having a site isn’’t enough any more. These candidates will need to deliver their messages in chunks, and make them available broadly. They need to be reaching audiences not just through The New York Times and CNN, but via blogs and iPods, zunes and PSPs as well . More than anything, they need to reach out to people and talk to them directly without all of the spin. In this election, I don’t believe they can hide behind well produced web sites and scripted media events and expect to win the general concensus. They really need to make themselves accessible.

Immediacy and reach will be defining moments during the election to a degree not seen before.

Despite being just under two years away, the candidates’ direct ability to communicate with and the voting population’s’ direct access to information, as it happens, without the media even having time to react and shape opinion, will have a profound impact.


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February 2007
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