Paradigm-shifting social networking

The Barack Obama website is paradigm shifting for politics online. It’s no doubt the most sophisticated political party website ever created. Apart from Obama’s social media presence, the site’s social network (or “myBo”) is particularly ground-breaking.

I recently signed up to it and found it so impressive that it puts some dedicated social network sites to shame. It’s also no surprise then that the man behind the Obama social network site is none other than Chris Hughes, the 24-year-old co-founder of Facebook (Source: Wired).

I’m of the school of thought that all serious web businesses should have social network layers. A site without a social network layer is a missed opportunity to connect with your user in a substantial way to deliver targeted content, advertising and build real community around your content or e-commerce proposition.

And the Obama website uses social networking functionality to great effect:

  • MyBo offers integration with Facebook, allowing you to link your Facebook profile to your my.barackobama profile, and then cleverly invite your existing Facebook friends to your Obama profile. It’s simple and seamless, therefore people will use it.
  • You can create blogs and groups on the site that you can use to campaign for Obama’s cause. For example I created a group “South Africans for Barack Obama
  • Something unique to the social network is the activity tracker, which is pure genius. The activity tracker gives you marks out of ten, depending on how active you are in campaigning for Obama online and offline. You get points for organising events, raising funds, recruiting to groups, joining groups, and writing blogs. It’s very very clever. Be interesting to see if you receive any privileges or prizes should you reach 10 out of 10?
  • A Neighbour-to-Neighbour tool allows users to find undecided registered voters living near them, in their own neighbourhoods to canvass them for Obama.
  • MyBo also has standard social network functionality such as finding friends, finding events and hosting your own events that campaign for Obama.

It’s brilliant and ground breaking, and this will be the website political parties around the world will base their online political strategies on.

If this interests you, I suggest you check out:


Comments (7)

  1. gMk wrote::

    Don’t encourage politicians to go this route, its one of the few spheres they don’t have any influence.

    Friday, October 31, 2008 at 1:26 pm #
  2. matt wrote::

    @gMk — not sure I understand? Why can’t politicians use the net and social networks to rally people to their causes, like you or I could do? Unless you are a complete anarchist and just don’t like politicians…? If that’s the case — it’s an acceptable position to have, but another debate for another time.

    Friday, October 31, 2008 at 1:37 pm #
  3. gMk wrote::

    Another time then.

    Friday, October 31, 2008 at 2:15 pm #
  4. matt wrote::


    Friday, October 31, 2008 at 3:06 pm #
  5. SaffaInUSA wrote::

    Please tell me you don’t support Senator Barrack.

    Google Ron Paul/Peter Schiff and watch some of their YouTubes.

    “There are two main problems with “hope” as an electoral justification. First, it seems to imply that we as a country are so desperate that we can only hope Obama can save us from collapse. This indicates not hope in Obama, but an astonishing lack of hope in ourselves, something no president can remedy.

    Second, many voters in my cohort see Obama more as a symbol of hope: whether because of his mixed-race heritage, his age, or his rhetoric. This is a comforting illusion, and probably among the worst reasons to vote for someone. Have we reached the point in American politics at which symbolism has become an explicit voting reason? Politics is politics is politics–always and forever. Anyone who doubts that Obama is a standard politician–albeit a very good one–should read Ryan Lizza’s portrait of Obama’s years as a Chicago politician in the July 21 New Yorker.

    I fall smack dab into Senator Obama’s target demographic: white professionals under age 40. (If you, too, fall into this category, then I regret to inform you that you are not part of a generational revolution, but a cog in a political campaign.)”

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm #
  6. Darren wrote::

    Huge impact on perceptions certainly, but I wonder how they will measure the effectiveness of the campaign!?

    Also see the TIME article – “Campaign ’08: The Media’s 24 minute news cycle” – which builds on the other factors of the campaigns a little bit.

    Monday, November 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm #
  7. Roenel van Staden wrote::

    I would like to know the religion Barack Obama belongs to. We are having a debate at work that he might be Christian and some says the he might be muslem.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm #

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