Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Assignment #2: How Participatory Culture Affected Obama Campaign.

Title: How Obama used social networking tools to win.
Publication Date: July 10, 2009
Publisher: Insead Knowledge
Tags & Keywords: participatory culture; social media
Retrieved from:

Obama's Presidential campaign illustrates how Scott Goodstein (campaign's External Online Director) created an effective participatory culture by allowing people to "engage and validate". Jenkins defines participatory culture as one:
1.With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement.
2.With strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others.
3.With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.
4.Where members believe that their contributions matter.
5.Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).

Some examples of how the above principles were implemented are:
1. Harfoush, New Media Specialist, allowed the blog to be self-moderated which created an open dialogue (Felesky).
2. There were no barriers for artist creations. The artist creations were uploaded to the Obama website in order to share and so people could comment.
3. Campaign was interactive and took advantage of new technology. The iPhone was not in existence at the start of the campaign but throughout the campaign became increasingly popular. Goodstein decided to create an iPhone application that could provide supporters access to the campaign’s news and videos. The application also served as a mapping device to show the location of local campaign offices to new volunteers, which resulted in people showing up at the offices with iPhones in their hands.

The article supports how Obama won using social media tools. Personally, I agree with Cass, Public Relations Specialist who states, "the use of social media tactics gave the opportunity for Obama to compete but it was his public relations strategy that got him to the White House." Cass does not back this statement up with facts but as Goodstein acknowledges the "election's success would of not happened without the right message or the right messenger".

Supporting Links:
Cass, J. (2008, November 09). A PR Strategy Not Social Media Tactics Won The Presidential Election 2008. Retrieved from:

Felesky, L. (2008, December 5 ). Social media strategy: inside Obama's online campaign. CBC News. Retrieved from:

Jenkins, H. Confronting the challenges of participatory culture media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from:

Zak, P. (2009, July 1). Henry Jenkins Interview Short. YouTube. Retrieved from:

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