This is the first presidential race where social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace will impact what users see and know about a candidate. While remaining presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee have all jumped on the social media bandwagon, nobody seems to understand the power of social media better than Barack Obama.
Obama was the first presidential candidate to capitalize on the strength of Facebook; the first to have a profile on Eons, the MySpace for baby boomers; and one of the first candidates to have a profile on LinkedIn, a site for professional networkers. Obama also ventured onto BlackPlanet.com and MiGente.com, popular social networking sites in the black and Latino communities. In addition, Obama has joined the conversation on AsianAve.com and GLEE.com.
Obama has 583,956 supporters on his Facebook group, 286,233 MySpace friends, 6,661 followers on his Twitter account, and 12,036,832 views on his personal YouTube page. These numbers are far greater than his rival Hillary Clinton, who has 119,653 Facebook supporters, 183,492 friends on MySpace, and 1,351,685 views on her YouTube page.
Not only do these social networking sites let Obama and other candidates keep users up to date on their campaigns through pictures and videos, but they also allow candidates to gauge the pulse of their audience and know where to steer their campaigns. These sites allow candidates to appear more human by giving viewers insight into their hobbies, outside interests, and passions.
Barack Obama has reached out to more social networking communities than any other presidential candidate. Therefore, there may be a case to be made connecting his online expertise to his strength among younger voters.