Friday, November 7, 2008

AdAge DigitalNext Features Adam Cahill On Obama and Social Media

Every once in a while AdvertisingAge features a great guest writer with something meaningful to say. The Digital President by Adam Cahill, Senior VP-General Manager, Carat Boston, is an outstanding read about how President-Elect Obama can leverage social media to create an administration with more transparency and public communication than ever before.

Here are some of his key points:, the hub of your campaign, becomes Here the public will have direct and unfiltered access to your priorities and positions. But this hub won't be solely (or even largely) about information sharing. It will be the means by which you enable individuals to organize in their communities to bring your ideas (and ours) to life.

Reach Across the 'Digital' Aisle
Today there are hundreds of digital groups that are vehemently anti-Obama. Just as you'll need to work with Republican politicians, you'll need to bring these people into the fold. Have your team reach out to these groups, not with the immediate goal of changing their minds, but to demonstrate that their opinions are respected.

Multiple Points of Entry
While was the hub of your campaign's digital universe, it was by no means the only point of entry. You had a meaningful presence in numerous social networks, from the mainstream to the niche. The same should be true of your presidency: Let the public access the government on their terms, in their preferred environments.

Legislative Co-creation
Just as the most progressive brands have begun to co-create products and services with their customers, you ought to use social media as a way to bring the public's voice to legislative creation and prioritization. Why should voting be restricted to Election Day? Let us "Digg" up the issues we want addressed, making every day an opportunity to "vote."

Listening, Feedback, and Guidance
Make it easy to submit suggestions and feedback, and make sure you have a staff to respond thoughtfully to these submissions. can become a link from the public to the government. Whether people submit queries on an issue as large as global warming or as small as a pothole on their corner, make sure you respond with the information they need to act.

Enable Grassroots Community Service
Your campaign famously created a new model for fundraising: massive amounts of small donations as opposed to small amounts of massive donations. You can now use social media to bring a similar model to community service. Grand programs that require huge time commitments (like Teach for America) will remain important, but there is the opportunity to greatly increase the overall amount of community service if you can enable us to contribute our time in smaller, more frequent ways.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.
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