So much has been written about the recently concluded Presidential campaign, so I will be careful not to rehash it here. But if there is one lesson coming out of this period that is relevant for you, as the readers of Bazaarblog, it is that social media defined this campaign. Back in June, I wrote about Obama and The Open Brand (a reference to Kelly Mooney‘s brilliant book). Then my good friend and fellow entrepreneur Auren Hoffman wrote an article for BusinessWeek in August about technology being the defining factor in election campaigns. From Obama’s social network to the will.i.am music-video community-collage to his exceptional use of the Web as a fundraising vehicle (raising an amazing 400% more than McCain), Obama’s use of social media has defined a new era for election campaigns. Remember that Obama’s innovation adoption of social media comes at a time where five social networks, including Facebook, have recently moved into the top-ten most trafficked websites in the world (reference my June post on Mary Meeker).
When voting moves online, as it undoubtedly will (just think about all of the tax money we would save if we did not have to set up temporary voting centers everywhere), the marriage of social media and election campaigns will be that much more profound.
To be frank, I do realize that the title of my post is too far reaching. The reality is that Obama is a truly great man and therefore a good subject for word of mouth to flourish about. Andy Sernovitz, the founder of WOMMA and Bazaarvoice Advisory Board member, has taught us – great subjects (products, people, services, etc.) easily generate word of mouth by just asking people to help and share.
On a personal note, I took a short vacation this weekend in Laguna Beach to recharge after my week in Amsterdam to speak at Shop.org’s first Global E-Commerce Summit, then back to Austin for Halloween (I couldn’t miss it with our 4-year old daughter), followed by a week in London for our own sold-out Summit (recap here). I’m here for the Piper Jaffray Global Internet Summit kicking off on Monday night. And vacation allowed me catch up on reading some great opinion pieces in the NY Times. This is a truly historic period that we are living in, and I encourage you to read a few of these if you have the time – they are well worth it: