Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Inauguration Special

The 5 things I'll remember most from the 2008 election.

1. Yes We Can Engage

A report by the PEW Internet & American Life Project on the Internet and the 2008 Election states that: a record-breaking 46% of Americans have used the internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views and mobilize others.

It goes on to say: 35% of Americans say they have watched online political videos, 10% say they have used social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace to gather information or become involved, 6% of Americans have made political contributions online, 39% of online Americans have used the internet to access "unfiltered" campaign materials, which includes video of candidate debates, speeches and announcements, as well as position papers and speech transcripts.

A deep and pervasive message of the Obama campaign lay in rebuilding peoples trust in a fair and evenhanded government. To do this they reached out through a variety of channels to engage people in the campaign, the issues, and the race to the white house.

Small donation funding through Changedotgov, online video messaging, mobile text messaging all played a role in campaign engagement strategies. Youtube dominated every aspect of the presidential campaign. It was used heavily by both campaigns, then by the transition government, and looks set to continue to be the preferred means of communication in the new administration.

Outside of the political arena, the election still dominated many online campaigns, with individuals and corporations soliciting for user generated content and comment around increasingly tenuous links to their products and the political landscape. Debates, formal consultation, music, and virals engaged millions, made multiple 15minute stars, and launched a new president with intimate knowledge about his fellow Americans.

Obama Girl kicked things off by telling B and us, just how much she is crushing on Obama.

And the Ron Clarke Kids just about wrapped things up by explaining how we can vote however we like.

Meghan McCain reached out to millions of younger voters with McCainBlogette.com sharing her musings on pop culture and the political trail.

Even Pepsi got in on the act with its Refresh Everything campaign – Dear Mr president...

As the PEW study confirms, despite the growth in the number of people who are politically engaged online, internet users express some ambivalence about the role of the internet in the campaign. On one hand, 28% of wired Americans say that the internet makes them feel more personally connected to the campaign, and 22% say that they would not be as involved in the campaign if not for the internet. At the same time, however, even larger numbers feel that the internet magnifies the most extreme viewpoints and is a source of misinformation for many voters.

It also provides a limitless record of all the gaffs and blunders made by the candidates during endless months of 24 hour news cycles. The following - McCain forgets - is possibly the most painfully awkward moment of the election.

2. Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama brings a little Abbey Bartlett sizzle, a little Onassis style and whole lot serious education and career credentials to the White House. She is a hugely inspiring woman, as a successful lawyer, public servant and nonprofit exec, a caring mother and supportive wife. On the campaign trail she has been a moving orator and stimulating advocate. Democratic Convention Speech:

3. I’ll See You in the Debates Bitches!

When the McCain team started trash talking with the Obama Celebrity Ad they probably didn’t count on the unlikely and bizarrely coherent response from the Hilton camp(aign?).

(NB. Luckily, lest we be confused by her coherence on energy policy and apparent dry wit, Hilton decided that one short inspired moment if irony could be spun into a hugely annoying and inane musical parody/grab for attention and balance was restored to the world.)

In other unexpected celebrity partnerships, Mike Huckabee teamed up with Chuck Norris to tell America how its gonna be.

and Will.I.Am teamed up with a whole lot of musicians to tell us that Yes We Can.

4. Palin

She came out of nowhere, she polarized opinion, she shocked, she horrified. She provided some of the most engaging and terrible sound bites of the election. She shattered the remainder of John McCains already tarnished reputation. She was “one step from stealing” from the campaign. She can kill and skin a moose. She inspired Tina Fey to new heights of comedic genius. She could have been president. There is little doubt that she’ll be back.

Katie Connolly, the McCain campaign Newsweek embedded reporter on Palins spending spree:

Matt “like a bad Disney movie” Damon says it best:

5. Daily News

Together, The New Yorker, The Daily Show, and Newsweek shaped my experience and understanding of the long and often confusing 2008 presidential election.

The NewYorker
The NewYorker covers acted as a rough guide to election events, injected controversy, added humor. Reporting during and after the election covered events and op eds with bipartisan intellect and alternative shifts in focus from mainstream media.

Since 1984 Newsweek has embedded reporters into the campaign trail to follow the candidates throughout the process of the election. Reporters follow the candidates for over a year with unparalleled behind the scenes access, on the condition they stay silent and their findings remain unpublished until after the election.

McCain embedded reporter Katie Connolly talks about her time with McCain.

The special edition, 8 chapter report, can be read here and in clear language describes the process of electing an American president, details the infighting between the Clinton and Obama campaigns, the unraveling of the McCain “strait talk express“, the FBI investigation of the hack of both campaign databases and much much more.

The Daily Show
Indecision 2008 - John Stewart and the Daily Show provided unparalleled coverage of the election – the issues, the candidates, the ridiculousness. If you don't watch anything else, watch this:

1 comment:

  1. Jon Stewart is superb, isn't he? What do you say - first Jewish president? (apart from Calvin Goldberg Coolidge)