Mobilising an Obama nation using Web 2.0: ?Yes we can"

03 Mar 2014

The 44th US president was massively elected on the 4th of November 2008 after an extraordinary campaign that successfully embraced the social capabilities of the World Wide Web. The Barack Obama ?Yes We Can? campaign was impossible to ignore; it was simply everywhere. Additional to the effective use of traditional media such as radio, television and direct mail, their campaign utilised Web 2.0 technologies to reach the masses who could access the web via PCs, mobile devices, gaming stations and other devices. Maximising the use of social web applications such as Facebook, Skype, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn they succeeded to touch and muster people beyond customs and racial hindering, around a message, a program and a leader. All around the world, as well as in South Africa, every time democracies have to consult populations on important decisions, to gain their adhesion to a painful program of reforms or to campaign for any essential reason, the web is also utilised to disseminate the message; but it doesn?t always succeed as expected. This paper explores the technological trail of the ?Yes We Can? campaign by US president, Barack Obama, as a case study in order to identify the underlying success factors to why it was successful in the mobilisation of a nation. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with social media and web experts to gain a better understanding about the ?Yes We Can? e-strategy and what lessons could be learnt from this campaign. In conclusion a set of guidelines are presented for using an e-strategy that will support campaigning for fundraisers, elections, safety and other numerous important social calls where involvement and mobilisation of citizens in communities are crucial.