One of the first questions batted about in political, tech and media circles after Barack Obama won the presidential election last week was what he was going to do with the massive, wired network of supporters he’d built over his two-year campaign. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the president-elect who signed emails to his acolytes “Barack” plans to continue communicating directly with that fan base once he’s in the Oval Office, bypassing mainstream journalism and creating what his team is calling “new media.”
The 10 million-plus backers who signed up for email and text-message updates on Obama's campaign will likely get missives on policy proposals that they can then use to push their congressional reps and local communities to support, the Washington Post reports today.
During the campaign, Obama gathered information about what issues mattered to his supporters, according to the Post. As President, Obama could use that database to target his policy messages to congressional districts where representatives haven’t made up their minds on proposed legislation.
He also could place promotional ads strategically next to online media coverage of those bills in districts where congressional reps aren’t yet on board, Peter Greenberger, manager of political advertising for Google, told the Post.
Obama has made use of targeted Internet messaging before. Toward the end of his campaign, he placed ads on online gaming sites in 10 states that allowed early voting in an effort to reach 18- to 34-year-old male voters. The campaign was able to reach those particular states via Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
Obama had a staff of 95 working on his Internet campaign operation, the Post notes. During the campaign, Obama said he'd appoint a chief technology officer, and he reportedly can draw from the top ranks of Silicon Valley innovators for the job. (Hopefully they can get rid of that nasty Obama malware that sprung up after Election Day.)
"Once you have people connected through a network, you can't disconnect,” Peter Daou, who oversaw Internet operations for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, told the Post. “It's like unbreaking an egg.”
Image of Barack Obama/U.S. Senate