submit to reddit

By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

politics.pngI’ve been more than a casual observer in the current presidential campaign, and I’ve been appalled to see how much of the strategy, left and right, is created by old-school political types, old-fart PR firms, and, well, just old-idea people.

The Obama team has done a great job with online fund raising, but frankly, I think Obama’s campaign has made the best headway into social media in spite of itself. Obama’s campaign’s online success has been through the grace of supporters who do understand the impact of the Internet on this campaign. The best videos for Obama were generated by MoveOn, by of The Black Eye Peas and not by the campaign itself.

Hillary got off to a great start with her Sopranos finale spoof, and the cheesy choose-my-campaign song campaign that made her seem human and approachable, but then switched to super-scripted videos that were painful to watch. They could have brought the same tone and openness to a series of online videos, but apparently old-school thinking won out again.

Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, is a veteran of several democratic campaigns, none of which are noteworthy for their use of smart Internet strategy. He’s getting a little too sure of himself at the moment, so look for his apology tomorrow.

And Clinton’s campaign depends on, of all people, Burson-Marsteller PR CEO Mark Penn. It would be almost impossible to get a more pre-Cluetrain PR guy on the case. Just look at Burson’s homepage if you want to see how up to the minute (not) they are with their flash intro and robotic little person.

And then there’s the draft-Bloomberg non-campaign, in which I have been a volunteer, and which is run by an old-school Republican and an old-school Democratic campaign advisor. The best they’ve come up with is this tired video.

While money is being spent by all candidates on advertising in TV and radio, there have yet to be ads on blogs, in social networks, or on video sharing sites where they could reach the most influential audience in this election – young people.

For my money, Norman Lear’s Declare Yourself which lets you register to vote online is the most effective campaign site on the internet to date.

And what is Lear? 100? So it’s clearly not about youth. It’s about understanding new media, its dynamics and its impact on youth.
Our goal,” says Lear, “is to register 300,000 new voters before the 2008 presidential primary season and two million new voters by the 2008 presidential election.”

Young people, turning out in droves, will decide this election in the end, and I am so happy that mainstream media is the last thing they will listen to, but I think Obama and Hillary have a long way to go in social media marketing.

Related: David Parmet: Clinton is from pr, Obama is from social media