Digging Politics

Here at futurethink, we’ve tried to stay pretty quiet about the upcoming presidential election. But we recently caught wind of something that’s just too good not to blog about. 

A couple of Obama supporters recently launched a new site called OhBoyObama!. According to the site: 

OhBoyObama! is the unofficial campaign think-tank. Created by Obama supporters for the purpose of giving the Obama grassroots a platform to submit and vote on ideas to better the 2008 general election campaign of Barack Obama. All supporters are welcome to participate. Just register a new account and submit a “scoop” or start voting.

Basically, OhBoyObama is harnessing the power of the Social Web to create a community voice for the Obama campaign. Users log on, submit various talking points and issues, and the rest of the community votes certain items up or down. Those bits of content (issues, talking points, jabs at the opposing party) will presumably filter their way into Obama’s campaign—in political debates, advertisements, or formal speeches and addresses. The site works just like Digg, but instead of “digging” websites or news articles, users vote on specific tacts, facts, or strategic directions for the Obama campaign to use. 

Why are we, an innovation research and training firm, writing about this site? Simple. It’s a wonderful example of how a public-sector, non-profit organization is harnessing the power of the Social Web to engage users and build community in a targetted, relevant way. The folks behind the site (two gentlemen named Ryan and Logan) aren’t working for the Obama campaign and have no official affiliation with the campaign. But the Obama campaign has recognized the site and promoted it on other social media channels like Facebook. So far, the site has over 4,500 registered users, and the most popular campaign suggestion on the site has 834 votes. 

There’s a lot you can learn from this little Website. For example, it’s hard to deny the power of community and what your community is capable of if you give them the tools and channels they need to engage with you. Your “community” is whoever you want it to be—your employees, your collegues, a team of experts you find interesting, your customers, your fans… the options are endless. Whoever you are, and whatever business you’re in, there’s a lot you can learn from the people who are excited enough about you to share their insights and opinions with you. You just have to give them the opportunity to do so. Oh, and the dialog has to work both ways—people will quickly lose interest in engaging with you if you don’t provide them with regular feedback and updates. 

For more, visit OhBoyObama!

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