How Barack Obama Beat John McCain With New Media

Nov 5th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Story, General, Podcasting Events

Viral Internet Content

Barack Obama didn’t just beat John McCain with his campaign’s content. Obama won out against John McCain in the world of viral internet content.

Viral videos related to John McCain’s campaign have tended to be negative. Here are just a few examples:

McCain’s YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare

SNL – Tina Fey Returns To SNL To Spoof Sarah Palin / Hillary Clinton

John McCain Tongue Photoshopped Images

via the John McCain Tongue Photoshop Contest

The most popular viral content related to Barack Obama tended to be positive. Here are a few examples:

“I Got a Crush…On Obama” By Obama Girl

Obama Girl got millions of views talking up Obama’s sexy side and noted many of his appealing qualities along the way.

Yes We Can – Barack Obama Music Video

Will.I.Am’s Yes We Can video transformed a key theme of Obama’s campaign into a mantra that, at least for many, trancended politics.

While McCain and Obama were not behind these viral hits, a case can be made that Obama’s campaign’s decision to focus on themes of hope and change inspired positive viral content, while McCain’s often negative campaign was easier to mock.

One example: After McCain hammered on Obama’s lack of experience for months, McCain’s decision to choose Sarah Palin as a running mate backfired. Videos of Palin struggling to handle simple questions in her interview with Katie Couric were watched by millions on the Internet:

While millions were getting inspired by Obama’s message via viral content, they were laughing at Palin’s gaffes. This turned McCain’s choice of Palin into a drag on his campaign.

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13 Responses to “How Barack Obama Beat John McCain With New Media”

  1. […] The Election and New Media Here is a great article. It arguies that Obama’s key to success was his push through new media. […]

  2. taniaelis says:

    I’d agree with most of this, but I don’t know if that’s what won the campaign for Obama.

    Obama just ran a better campaign. McCain was just throwing stuff at the wall frantically, looking for something that would stick.

  3. Sebey says:

    I amost say that for obama the internet was his ulitmate propaganda tool.He didn’t need to make video to promote the internet didn’t for him.look at during these last few months as an example

  4. His use of new media, like all things about his campaign, was masterful. I think you left out the most obvious use, however. Fund raising! He raised a treasury’s worth of money, much of it coming through online requests either via e-mail, on his site, or through the iPhone app you reference.

    Not to mention that he just had a message that resonated more with the electorate, but I realize that was not the angle of your recap.

    Really good summary of a successful, multi-pronged social media/new media approach. And certainly, the stakes could not have been higher. If it worked for the most important job in the world, shouldn’t all companies maybe take a lesson? I’m just sayin’…

  5. Andreas says:

    I hope local business owners read and take to heart the lessons from Baracks integration and use of the social media and community organization (sales &marketing) to achieve his victory. Competency in these social marketing and micro targeting skills has become a sine qua non (unassailable) for business as well as political such.

  6. […] discovered a piece called “How Barack Obama Beat John McCain With New Media,” on Podcasting News. This article was linked to another interesting post on ReadWriteWeb’s […]

  7. Don Dehm says:

    The fact that he was “in touch” with new media and the changing world was a big influence in my thoughts.

  8. Srinivasan says:

    I am from India. I am sure that social media will play a significant role in future to capture the perception of youth. I suggest that Universities should incorporate Social Media also part of their curriculum (just like they teach print media, broadcast media) for the media and communication students. This would help the students to understand the right perception of this media.

  9. Will the President’s Saturday Radio Address be supplanted with a podcast? I hope so.

  10. James Lewin says:

    Jeremy – if he gets it on Apple TV, I just might watch it.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the President would offer a video podcast every week that explained honestly the questions that he was faced with and offered ways that you could voice your opinion?

  11. Ed Roberts says:

    It would have been interesting to see if the election would have happened next year. During the primaries, Ron Paul had a HUGE following through social media. Yet, it failed to give him the Republican nod. Look at the Deomocratic side during the primaries and there was a pretty substantial plus for the Obama camp at that time, yet the race was very close with Clinton. As the year rolled on, the influence of social media started to make a big difference.

    So did it help? Yes, ABSOLUTELY. Can you count out traditional media’s roll. NO WAY. Not yet. Social media’s numbers are not that high yet. Shoot, he only had some 120k followers on Twitter. He won (by popular vote) by over 8 million votes.

    It will be interesting to see how things evolve 4 years from now. Even more… how will social media help break the strangle-hold the two major parties have on traditional media. Could a “third party” be successful enough on the net in 4 years to overcome it?

  12. iPhone Cases says:

    Yeah I don't think it is because of the new age/media that Obama won, but I do believe it played a BIG part, I remember sitting in the stall at the office watching an Obama speech on yourube on my Iphone 😉

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