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Readings 5

June 5, 2011

There are many takeaways from Colin Delany’s “Learning from Obama: Lessons for Online Communicators in 2009 & Beyond.” The article details the structure and process of Obama’s online campaign and emphasizes the key is to “integrate online advocacy into every element of the campaign.”

One impressive thing of this unique campaign is that the Obama campaign managed to put people to work on their behalf by using technology. For one thing, Obama’s campaign carefully treated their supporter relationship and respected them. Just like the article says, “Fundamentally, Obama’s campaign looked upon supporters as a resource to be maintained with great care.” Obama’s staff gave many helpful in-person and online trainings so they can trust the volunteers to spread the campaign message. For the other, the campaign wisely used the Internet to make it work on a national scale. The volunteers can use the speeches, videos, photos and varies campaign materials provided online to spread the word in their communities, which is very persuasive since the message comes from their peers, friends and family. The most important thing is to combine these two aspects and make them work together for the campaign. Delany gives tons of credit to this practice. He puts it this way, “ANYONE could employ most of the technology the Obama campaign used, but very few online communicators have ever done so either as effectively or on such a scale.”

Delany’s another article “Candidates Can Use the Internet to Win in 2010” also talks about how to conduct a successful online campaign. He specifically discusses how online technology works for outreach, mobilization and fundraising.

Delany thinks online campaign at some level is just traditional campaign in digital form. However, the online tools do excel the traditional ones in many ways, and one of them is maintaining relationships with many people at once.

For outreach, the first piece of advice is to find the audience where they’re already gathered, which means Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and blogs as mentioned in the article.

For fundraising, Delany first talks about the benefits of online donation and how the smaller donations when they add up contribute a lot to Obama campaign in 2008. From Obama campaign’s experience, Delany suggests the donation process should be as easy as possible and the prominent “donate” button is absolutely necessary.

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