My toe-dipping debut onto the social media scene has me empathizing a bit with the proceed-with-caution approach that the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee takes in dragging the social media waters for votes and voter data. It means giving up a lot more control than they’re used to, it means being more open and speaking and responding directly to voters via You Tube. It also means politicians who can’t fully embrace social media, won’t win.
Obama‘s digital campaign is being called the gold standard. For starters, he welcomes visitors to his official campaign site as if he’s there at the door, offering you a personal invitation to be a part of his campaign. McCain’s page has only a still photo and asks for your e-mail and a donation.
Although it is highly unlikely that McCain will ever keep pace with Obama’s digital campaign express, Republicans have still come a long way. RNC’s Web site is peppered with interactive goodies to draw in Web surfers. Most of the features are there to attract visitors and data. What might be confusing for some voters though is how prominently Obama is featured on many of the widgets and buttons on the page. At first glance it appears as if even McCain is endorsing Obama for president (albeit they change every 30-seconds to other topics). Although the widgets and bells and whistles on the site are shiny and new, the RNC’s approach to getting ahead still rests too heavily on discrediting the opponent versus promoting McCain’s platform and bolstering support from voters who actually share his views.
If only the McCain campaign had used the same level of creativity on his videos that he used on this one bashing Obama.
On the plus side McCain’s videos as posted on his site are also easily transferred to television. But that’s so traditional. The Republicans will get there, just not in time for the 2008 election.