Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Participatory Election

Media is about getting together, establishing a relationship, and aligning your goals. An example of this was the Obama election campaign where the team did an amazing job of bringing the candidate closer to his voters, mobilizing them in ways we've never before seen.

So now comes Gavin Newsom emerging as a challenger to former EBay CEO Meg Whitman. What is untraditional about this approach is that Gavin broke the news to his Twitter followers and Facebook fans in addition to announcing via traditional media. It is an aggressive mood in this challenging economy. Says Newsom, "It's Official - running for Gov. of CA. Wanted you to be the first to know. Need your help."

This is a sign that everyone is seeking some semblance of control. The era of "Spin Journalism" has led to numerous misstatements in the past, and elections are no exception, often employing Spin Doctors as key communications officials. Newsom is capitalizing on his popularity challenging many of the fragmented ideologies that have divided the state of California, and has been using social media to establish a new type of rapport with his constituents that we did not see before Obama.

The rise of Twitter and Facebook has been impressive to watch. The growth of both services in engaging users, establishing relationships, and becoming platforms for messages has helped the popularity rise rapidly. What is different is that while Facebook has a suite of tools targeted towards brands, including celebrities, to build relationships with large followings, Twitter has actually enabled some to create relationships, conversation, and dialog within its growing community.

In this election for California's Gubernatorial race, I fully expect that new tools will be used to collect feedback from voters, mobilize them throughout the process, and engage individuals, especially the new class of Millenials who are empowered, idealogical, and are not too shy to voice their opinions with the tools and platforms that have evolved from blogging, MySpace, YouTube, and now Facebook and Twitter.

For a look at a post from powerhouse bloggers at TechCrunch, take a look at this link.

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