Every week we survey the social media landscape looking for
insights and trends that may be helpful for our agency
and clients. Because traditional and online media is changing
so rapidly, we thought we'd share these reflections...
is buzzing about politics lately, with the 2012 presidential run
already beginning to take shape and the never-ending debate on
Medicare in full swing. Navigating through the stories, it's worth
observing how politicians and candidates are communicating - and
how their relatively new embrace of social media is both helping
TIME article provides interesting insight into David Plouffe
and Obama's digital presence. Plouffe is establishing a variety of
new tactics to reach people (including
Twitter chats), handing staffers regional newspapers instead of
just national, and using Twitter to gauge how people respond to
Obama's speeches. "Remember back in 2008, you'd have the
presidential debate, and then most of the networks would have some
sort of dial going up and down. That seems very Jurassic Park-like
compared to this," Plouffe explains.
Plouffe is also making sure Obama's speeches are captured and
shared in the medium best suited for his powerful oratory skills:
video. Despite the viewing time of 11:35pm one Sunday night, over
56.5 Americans watched Obama speak about Osama bin Laden on network
TV. More interestingly, more than a million others watched him
speak streaming live from WhiteHouse.gov. And while they were
watching, they were commenting, sharing, and influencing each other
in live, online discussions.
Plouffe and Obama have had many successes with online video.
Most recently, while the White House Correspondents' Dinner
wouldn't have made much news, Plouffe ignited interest by creating
YouTube clip based on The King's Speech. The clip has already
been watched more than 8 million times, a bigger audience than most
nightly network newscasts.
Obama isn't alone. Many members of Congress are taking advantage
of YouTube's Hall
to digitally debate each other online, in their own time, in front
of a growing audience of internet news consumers. For more examples
of politicians using social media, see Mashable's series all about
politics. (This week's edition lists the Klout of potential
2012 Presidential candidates!)
With opportunity comes risks.
Here's an interesting incident in which a Democratic State
Senator responding to false accusations made over Twitter by a
Republican State Senator by protesting then and there on the Senate
floor. And along the lines of employees gone wild, someone tweeting
for the Secret Service dissed Fox News: "Had to monitor Fox for a
story. Can't. Deal. With. The. Blathering." The Secret Service said
sorry, but Fox News was less than pleased.
So, what are the communications lessons learned outside of
politics? Take a look:
- Listen: Social media provides an amazing
opportunity to really see what people are thinking. Plouffe
replacing the digital dial with a Twitter feed is just another
- Today's TV is Online: I'm not sure Palin was
right to call traditional mainstream outlets "
lame-stream media," but she was on to something. Television
audiences are shrinking. Still, videos often make the most impact,
and social networks let us better control the content. Stream
events and speeches online. Make your own news by capturing
opinions, sharing ideas or creating clever videos for YouTube. The
Internet is becoming America's favorite TV channel.
- Get Personal: Plouffe wants staffers to read
local news and watch local broadcasts for a reason: people care
most about what's happening around them. Because audiences can
stream news from so many sources, their intake is hyper-local and
hyper-personalized. Remember the people you're trying to reach are
individuals and try to cater to their needs.
- The More "Sharable," the Better: People want
opportunities to interact, and social networks have made it easy to
pass information along. But what makes someone click "like" or send
the clip to a friend? When creating content, think about if you'd
share it. Visuals (like videos) help, especially if they're
- Be Careful: Gaffes are the most interesting,
and they're "shared" like wild fire. Research. Prepare. Train your
ambassadors. There's no need for the person tweeting to post a
personal message (that calls Fox News lame, for example) from a
professional account. And if something does happen, remove it and