Ordinary folks like you and me, are using social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube to report breaking news. It’s a developing phenomena — politicization from the ground up, through digital channels. We’re talking not just the Internet, but mobile devices as well.
And Iran is just the Digg of the week. Remember last year when Barack Obama used Twitter and Facebook as part of his successful presidential campaign? More than 15 million Facebook users logged into the site on election day itself to follow the unfolding drama. And over a million people were signed up for his text-messaging program.
Scott Goodstein, the man responsible for Obama's venture into the digital realm begs to differ that new media was key to Obama's election victory. Rather, he attributes it to the man himself — his message of change — that so many Americans identified with.
But the then external online director for Obama's election campaign must have done something right. The digital strategy he created, using the web as a political tool, gave Obama a leg up against rivals, Hillary Clinton and John McCain.
The way Obama harnessed the web to get his message out, organized his supporters and raised funds on such a massive scale, was a first in U.S. politics. Obama raised an astounding half a billion dollars online from three million donors.
His success in tapping the digital platform ushered in a new era not only in U.S. politics, but also in the corporate world. Key decision-makers in the private sector, looking for innovative ways to make money, are willing to venture into the unknown digital domain.
“Politicians in the U.S. are afraid to jump into something that may cause political backlash,” notes Goodstein. “I think that’s the lesson from the campaign -- the flexibility to do these experimentations, have an honest discussion with your organization about what we are trying to gain from going into social media, and how much it's going to help us.”
On the flip side, engaging one's audience on social media platforms has opened a direct line of communication, which could also potentially open a can of worms, drawing unfavorable flames (commentary) from netizens.