September 23, 2018

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Decision 2.008: The YouTube Election?

Decision 2.008: The YouTube Election?

Presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle are embracing social media in a big way for the 2008 presidential campaign. As we head into tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary, here’s a rundown of some of the work being done. As political blogs were the first to really take off and in a way defined the early days of the blogosphere, it should be no surprise that campaigns understand that the Internet and social media tools are a great way to reach and engage their highly-charged audiences–their supporters. But the open access to the Internet is one with another side too–since supporters can make sophisticated and compelling content on their own. Candidates have no control at all about what their supporters say (about them or their opponents) or how they convey the carefully chosen and tested messages that the candidates have adopted. The rise of user generated content from supporters is then a double-edged sword.
One of the opening salvos in campaign 2008 was just such an ad. Back in March of 2007, a [remix](http://youtube.com/watch?v=6h3G-lMZxjo) of Apple’s classic “1984” ad that attacked Sen. Hillary Clinton in a pitch for Illinois Senator Barack Obama made its debut on YouTube. The clip is more than a minute long, and was just as striking as a political ad as the original Super Bowl commercial was for Apple. The buzz surrounding the video, especially the question of who produced it, extended the story over weeks and the ongoing attention caused thousands more to view the clip. While it was later disclosed that the ad was the work of a seasoned Democratic political operative–Philip de Vellis of Blue State Digital–the stage was set for the 2008 cycle.
At least one of Obama’s supporters really understands what sells on the web: sex. There is no other word to describe the sultry siren song of Obama Girl’s “[I’ve Got A Crush On Obama](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKsoXHYICqU)”. The success of the first video–which joins the ranks of the 1984 ad with more than 4 million views on YouTube–has spurred the creation of additional “Obama Girl” videos on [BarelyPolitical](http://barelypolitical.com), as well as tongue-in-cheek “reactions” to the video, like “[Romney Girls Attack Obama Girl](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXyl39kgBh8).”
Senator Obama’s official site also has social media elements, including a blog, embedded video, and links to the campaign’s presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace. You can also follow the Senator’s Twitter

The Month in WordPress: August 2018

Many of the WordPress contribution teams have been working hard on the new WordPress editor, and the tools, services, and documentation surrounding it. Read on to find out more about this ongoing project, as well as everything else that has been happening around the WordPress community in August. WordPress 4.9.8 is Released WordPress 4.9.8 was […]

WordPress 4.9.8 Maintenance Release

We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of WordPress 4.9.8.  This maintenance release fixes 46 bugs, enhancements and blessed tasks, including updating the Twenty Seventeen bundled theme. Following are the highlights of what is now available. “Try Gutenberg” callout Most users will now be presented with a notice in their WordPress dashboard. This “Try Gutenberg” […]

The Month in WordPress: July 2018

With WordPress 5.0 coming closer, there’s lots of work going on all across the project. Read on to learn about how we progressed in July. Release of WordPress 4.9.7 On July 5, WordPress 4.9.7 was released,  fixing one security issue and 17 other bugs across the platform. While this is a minor release, incremental fixes […]

Quarterly Updates | Q2 2018

To keep everyone aware of big projects and efforts across WordPress contributor teams, I’ve reached out to each team’s listed representatives. I asked each of them to share their Top Priority (and when they hope for it to be completed), as well as their biggest Wins and Worries. Have questions? I’ve included a link to […]

Update on Gutenberg

Progress on the Gutenberg project, the new content creating experience coming to WordPress, has come a long way. Since the start of the project, there have been 30 releases and 12 of those happened after WordCamp US 2017. In total since then, there have been 1,764 issues opened and 1,115 closed as of WordCamp Europe. […]

WordPress 4.9.7 Security and Maintenance Release

WordPress 4.9.7 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release for all versions since WordPress 3.7. We strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. WordPress versions 4.9.6 and earlier are affected by a media issue that could potentially allow a user with certain capabilities to attempt to delete files outside the uploads […]

The Month in WordPress: June 2018

With one of the two flagship WordCamp events taking place this month, as well as some important WordPress project announcements, there’s no shortage of news. Learn more about what happened in the WordPress community in June. Another Successful WordCamp Europe On June 14th, WordCamp Europe kicked off three days of learning and contributions in Belgrade. […]

The Month in WordPress: May 2018

This month saw two significant milestones in the WordPress community — the 15th anniversary of the project, and GDPR-related privacy tools coming to WordPress Core. Read on to find out more about this and everything else that happened in the WordPress community in May. Local Communities Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of WordPress Last Sunday, May […]

WordPress.org Privacy Policy Updates

The WordPress.org privacy policy has been updated, hurray! While we weren’t able to remove all the long sentences, we hope you find the revisions make it easier to understand: how we collect and use data, how long the data we collect is retained, and how you can request a copy of the data you’ve shared […]

WordPress 4.9.6 Privacy and Maintenance Release

WordPress 4.9.6 is now available. This is a privacy and maintenance release. We encourage you to update your sites to take advantage of the new privacy features. Privacy The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on May 25. The GDPR requires companies and site owners to be transparent about how they collect, […]
(http://twitter.com/barackobama).
Republican candidate Mike Huckabee’s site has a blogroll that sports links to more than 600 bloggers supporting Huckabee. The site also incorporates embedded video, which includes a variety of clips, not just the candidate’s commercials. The campaign’s most notable use of social media to date is a campaign commercial that seems tailor-made for the web. Huckabee’s “[Chuck Norris Approved](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDUQW8LUMs8)” commercial is an amusing take on the standard political endorsement ad. Norris’s reputation as a tough guy is played up, as Huckabee quotes some of the funnier “[Chuck Norris Facts](http://chucknorrisfacts.com).” (Huckabee says: “when he does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the earth down”). While the numbers aren’t on par with Obama Girl, the clip has a respectable 1.6 million views on YouTube–which is something, considering the fact that people are voluntarily going to a site to watch a campaign commercial.
In May, Senator Clinton posted a video clip on her campaign site, asking supporters to provide advice on “one of the most important questions of this campaign”–something the team had been “struggling with, agonizing, and debating for months” over–selecting the campaign’s theme song. She then showed a clip of herself singing the Star Spangled Banner (badly), and promised that no matter what the choice of song was, she wouldn’t sing it in public. Unless she wins. The video was funny, and showed that the senator had the ability to poke fun at herself, and added a component of interactivity by asking supporters to choose the song.
Republican candidate Congressman Ron Paul has ardent supporters who have been very active in forums, message boards, and on blogs. While the campaign itself hasn’t invested heavily in a social media strategy, quite frankly it hasn’t needed to. The supporters appear to have taken over Digg and Reddit, he’s mentioned on those two Web 2.0 establishments virtually every day. Tech types are an independent bunch, and the contrarian nature of a Paul candidacy appeals to them.
While the above candidates have had the social media “hits” of the campaign season thus far, every candidate has attempted to introduce some social media elements into their official websites. Democrat John Edwards has a
(http://blog.johnedwards.com/) on his site, and incorporates YouTube clips of key campaign appearances. Republican Mitt Romney’s sons have a “Five Brothers” blog, and the campaign has enlisted the services of [VariTalk](http://varitalk.com) to allow personalized greetings to be sent to supporters and friends “[from their dad](http://romney.varitalk.com).” Republican John McCain’s site has a
(http://www.johnmccain.com/Blog/) and a blog roll, embedded video, and a link to “[McCainSpace](http://www.johnmccain.com/Connecting/),” the campaign’s MySpace presence.
While the candidates and their supporters have met with varying degrees of success when utilizing social media to convey their messages, the fact that so many candidates have incorporated these tools into their campaign communications toolboxes shows how important the rise of these technologies has become. As we move closer to Election Day 2008, Media Bullseye will be watching to see how campaigns and supporters evolve in their usage of Twitter, social networks, blogs, video and more.

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