There’s a few reasons why the presidential candidates must use the web to engage. My real focus is on how corporations, executives, and employees use the web to reach out to customers, it’s not that much different from politicians reaching the public.
I do notice a few differences, but the reasons why to join the conversations are all the same:
1) The Internet is top used medium in North American Workplace: Most adults have internet access at work, and can communicate there
2) TV is still the top medium at home in North America (for adults), but the internet is closing in fast.
3) Generation X and Y (The ‘unreachable’ generation) is online and not reachable from email or TV or newspaper. They use social sites, IM, blogs, and text messaging to communicate.
4) People are going to argue, debate, listen and make decisions using online tools. Many will make decisions based upon what their peers are saying.
5) From a Global Point of View: The conversation is global, the voice from other countries will be heard, they will influence American voters. I don’t think any presidential candidate has given this a great deal of thought. I’ve seen quite a bit of planet earth, in the last year I’ve been to 8-10 countries other than the United States. I want the most powerful man in the world to represent not only our nation but the rest of the world.
6) Using the Internet, everyone has a voice and it can easily be found and heard
7) From the Politicians point of view: Using the web can be a cost effective way to get into the conversation.
8) From the Politicians point of view: Dealing directly with the masses and bypassing the press using Social Media may be a risk reduced way to make sure your message is un-altered and represented correctly.
9) Authenticity is going to be so so important. Those that blow this may have their credibility wiped away. Credibility may be even more important that the actual message.
10) The most important reason: I plan to make my decisions for the next presidential elect using the web as a tool to research and understand. I will then defend my stance to my friends and family and others.
It’s interesting and refreshing for me to turn my Corporate Web Strategy lens onto the Political Web Strategy scene, I’ll probably do this from time to time, as I seek analyze the Presidential Web Strategy campaign.
Oh, and who will be the Republican Candidate? Anyone know? I want to start seeing what they’ve done online.
Related Update, One Hour Later:
Heh, this is pretty funny, the web team at the Edwards camp accidentally turned on the new homepage announcing his run for president a day early. This concludes it was an accident for any who think the timing was in bad taste.