Today is an important day in the United States.

A new president has just been sworn in and it seems that the underlying theme of everything that Obama does is “hope.” Much has been said, written and discussed about the value that social and online media brought to the Obama campaign. It has been said that social media was the reason he won the election. While I think that it had a huge part in connecting him with people who were hungry to feel a part of something special, it took more than social media to elect him president. It took the right message at the right time. It took reaching out consistently online and in person.  It took a team of excellent speechwriters and a group of intelligent advisors.

It also took understanding the community. And I think that is why Obama was able to use social media tools so well. He didn’t see the American people as his “audience,” he saw them as his people, his community and his fellow citizens.

He created a dialogue. He turned us (even those of us who can’t vote) into evangelists who helped to spread the message. He made us feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. He created a digital tribe that had no boundaries and was made up of people of every race and of every religion – we were all different and that was celebrated. We all belonged and can all make positive change in our world and the world around us.

No matter where he was or what he was doing, he was interacting. He was listening. He was connecting. He had a blog, he sent out email blasts and he was on Twitter. He was everywhere and he was listening. I think that it’s been a long time that any of us in Canada or the U.S. have felt that politicians care what we think.  Many of us have never had this experience – it is new, fresh and exciting.

He has the right message and he understands who is a part of this conversation – all of us. Obama’s approach is inclusive, something that has been lacking in politics and our leaders for a long, long time.

Social or online media only provides tools, it’s how you use them that matters. All of the candidates had access to the same technology and tools that Obama and his team had.  It’s just that Obama understood how to use them. It’s obvious that he likes the connection that technology provides. When he won the election, he was picked up by the cameras emailing and texting on his BlackBerry. Reaching out is natural to him. It is a part of who he is.

Today he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America, and Barack Hussein Obama had to hand over his BlackBerry. I bet he will go into connection withdrawal. How he personally connects with people will change – the Office of the President demands that. It will be interesting to see how he handles this aspect of his new role. Of course, Obama seems to see things as they could be. So as the most wired president in the history of the country, it will be worth watching to see how he blends technology and communication with the duties of President. 

Read more

There has been a great deal of mudslinging in the political arena recently. The upcoming election has everyone involved out there looking for skeletons – or nakedness or pot smoking – in the closet. Today marks the last day to nominate candidates for the federal election, so we may see it quiet down for at least a little bit.

There was also, of course, the comments of Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Food where he made what some are calling dark humour jokes about the tragic listeriosis outbreak.

People do things that they wouldn’t necessarily want to have put under a spotlight. If you are on Facebook, check out some of the things your friends have posted – things that might come back and haunt the very people that put them up. Gerry Ritz thought he was on the phone with “friends” when he made the “death from a thousand cold cuts” remark – well, someone was taking good notes and released what he said.

The world really has changed. We keep saying it, but judging by the photos and videos I see online, not everyone understands that yet. We are a wired world. Many cell phones now have the capability to tape you and upload the clip to YouTube within minutes. I’ve tried it – I can tape someone and have it showing on YouTube in less than three minutes. Think about what that means for those funny, dark humoured quips you put out there – meant only for the person beside you. What if they made it online – what would that mean for you or your organization?

Does this concern you? Have you had something go public that you didn’t want out there? How do you handle living with the potential of having the spotlight hit you – 24/7? It would be interesting to hear what you think about this.

Read more
%d bloggers like this: