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Barack Obama Goes For The Web Push

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Howard Dean led the way with his grassroots online efforts that brought his failed Presidential campaign millions in contributions. The Senator from Illinois has a campaign that wants to build on Dean’s work and avoid his mistakes.

Probably rule number one on the campaign trail is “no screeching on camera.” Online, the rule may be embrace our supporters and let them build our momentum for us.

The tools provided at MyBarackObama, linked from his main site, give supporters options to blog, network, and form groups. Their enthusiasm probably contributed to issues the site experienced after launch.

Staffers have begun supporting the social networking effort by highlighting stories posted to it on the Senator’s blog. A recent tale hits plenty of sensitive marks: an inspiration to contribute money and get active in the campaign, a recently discovered interest in politics and C-Span, sinister unnamed Republicans illegally changing the person’s political affiliation in her voting registration.

All that’s missing is a shootout with Dick Cheney.

The construction of MyBarackObama provoked some interesting discussion at the TechCrunch blog. Mike Arrington and his bevy of commenters debated the rapid building of the site, and what technology may be behind it.

Consensus seemed to center on Blue State Digital, which has built sites for the Democratic National Committee and others. Not long after the site launched, Arrington discovered how a feature on the site was inadvertently showing visitors some undesirable social networking group names created by members.

Arrington noted that after getting his “hand slapped” by the Obama campaign, the feature has been changed to require moderation of group names before approval.

Obama’s website and social networking efforts have advantages today that Dean’s group did not. More people have access to broadband Internet connections, so they can view videos of the candidate on the campaign trail. The features are a lot richer thanks to continued advances in technology.

If the campaign can sustain interest from its supporters, and the inevitable attacks from Democratic rivals and Republican opponents, Obama may be able to hang around the campaign longer than Dean did. He has the tools in place to make this possible.

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Barack Obama Goes For The Web Push
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