From networked nominee to networked nation: Examining the impact of web 2.0 and social media on political participation and civic engagement in the 2008 obama campaign

Derrick L. Cogburn, Fatima K. Espinoza-Vasquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the uses of Web 2.0 and social media by the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and asks three primary questions: (1) What techniques allowed the Obama campaign to translate online activity to on-the-ground activism? (2) What sociotechnical factors enabled the Obama campaign to generate so many campaign contributions? (3) Did the Obama campaign facilitate the development of an ongoing social movement that will influence his administration and governance? Qualitative data were collected from social media tools used by the Obama '08 campaign (e.g., Obama '08 Web site, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, e-mails, iPhone application, and the Change.gov site created by the Obama-Biden Transition Team) and public information. The authors find that the Obama '08 campaign created a nationwide virtual organization that motivated 3.1 million individual contributors and mobilized a grassroots movement of more than 5 million volunteers. Clearly, the Obama campaign utilized these tools to go beyond educating the public and raising money to mobilizing the ground game, enhancing political participation, and getting out the vote. The use of these tools also raised significant national security and privacy considerations. Finally, the Obama-Biden transition and administration utilized many of the same strategies in their attempt to transform political participation and civic engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-213
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Political Marketing
Volume10
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Activism
  • Political participation
  • Presidential campaign
  • Social media
  • Social movement
  • Virtual organization
  • Web 2.0

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Marketing

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