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 my.barackobama.com (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:
- The Amazing Money Machine (Thanks Jannie Momberg)
- Obama’s Secret Weapons: Internet, Databases and Psychology