Rising Black Tide of Poli-fluentials

Five cents tour in Bablion:

The Internet is proving to be the most powerful political campaign tool in the 2008 Party races for a US Presidential nominee. Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois prophet, made out like a bandit and I’ll tell you why. It’s also going to be interesting to see how the Internet will be used in politics elsewhere in the world. In Romania, for example, political candidates are thinking hard about how they can get similar results.

Politics is More Engaging

Politics got a lot more interesting this year. The Internet is proving to be the most powerful political campaign tool in the 2008 Party races for a US Presidential nominee. How quickly politics will change, globally, is yet to be seen. However, I suspect that political campaigns in Romania, for example, will quickly adopt the new online strategies and forever change the way politics is done there.

In the last four years, US political online strategies have demonstrated huge successes in fundraising, volunteer recruitment and candidate profiling, current political campaigns are aggressively adapting social media and online brand strategy to get empathy, popularity and votes. The concept of Poli-fluentials and their role in the new political process was defined by a recent report from the Institute for Politics, Democracy & The Internet (IPDI).

Through social media, Poli-fluentials are reconnecting people to politics with opinionated, vocal and active advocacy. This new political class is described by the IPDI report as “technologically savvy”, “voracious consumers of news and opinion”, and highly dedicated network “hubs”. Black poli-fluentials take it to the next step with their sense of style, connection to popular culture, and power of feeling.

Obama’s Online Victory

As Hillary Clinton recently found out, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Despite all her plans, her best game and years of wheeling and dealing with Democratic Party bosses, Barack Obama came from far behind and put her in the Party’s backseat.

How did it happen? Together, Obama’s campaign team and fans have overcome the impossible with a passionate integrated campaign strategy with heavy emphasis on the online including sophisticated websites, video and blogs. But, what Obama’s campaign team didn’t anticipate is that Obama’s message could so captivate a black tide of Poli-influentials that would take matters into their own hands to passionately communicate their support for Obama and their opposition to Clinton.

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Since RoperASW demonstrated the 10 percent of a population effectively influences the other 90 percent in all aspects of lifestyle and decision-making; it is no surprise that poli-fluentuals are making the biggest waves in politics with their social networking tools. These tools allow them to act fast and transcend geographical, financial, community and other boundaries. In the case of Obama, black poli-fluentials were able to provide the critical public support he needs to win the presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention.

User Generated Content

will.i.am, front man for the Hip hop chart-buster, Black Eyed Peas, led the victory march when he put his “Yes We Can Song” video online. Based on an inspiring speech given by Obama, several celebrities sing parts of Obama’s speech. Featured is the beautiful Scarlet Johansson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Herbie Hancock, and others.

The song and video which would have cost millions to make and months to produce was made in two weeks at the cost of the inspired will.i.am and his friends. Inspired by Obama, the pop star wanted to make a difference in American politics. The Obama presidential campaign team had no knowledge of what will.i.am was doing.

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After putting it online, the Yes We Can video went viral overnight, registering approximately 16 Million views in the first week across youtube, myspace and hundreds of other internet locations. Untold hundreds of thousands of Republicans, Hillary fans, and Democrats were profoundly touched by the video and Obama’s message of unity, change and hope.

Never before in politics have so many voters changed sides overnight. Many more overcame their indifference to politics and got excited about the presidential campaigns. Two weeks later, Obama is being proclaimed by fans on the left and right as the next President of the United States of America.

Change

Reflecting on Obama’s victory, it becomes obvious how social media has empowered campaigners and poli-influentials with low cost communications, fund raising, collaboration, and action across geographic and time boundaries. Political strategists worldwide will gain much by taking such lessons to heart.

As observed by the IPDI, if campaigners can tap into the power of poli-fluentials, they can spread “their message across vast segments of the nation, mobilize thousands of volunteers and tip the balances to win.”

There is the other side of the coin as well – opposing poli-influencers can do great harm as we have seen in the case of Hillary Clinton. Their power must not be underestimated- especially the black tide of hip poli-fluentials. But if the best defense against such is a great offense, rallying allied poli-fluentials to make the first moves is more advisable than waiting for them to react to oppositional forces.

Stan Faryna
February 21, 2008
Bucharest, Romania

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FEED UPON other popular posts by Stan Faryna:

>> Outsourcing
>> Great Websites
>> IAB Europe
>> Online Strategy
>> Open Source

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About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

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One Response to Rising Black Tide of Poli-fluentials

  1. mac157 says:

    Burning up the blog recently? It’ good to see you still have some politica=
    > l fire in your belly . . . albeit a bit more toward the left. Perhaps it =
    > was just that you required inspiration and didn’t get it (particularly in F=
    > airfax in the 80s) from the Dems. In any case, I’m sure your not so suppor=
    > t for Clinton loops back to issue of morality. Nonetheless, it looks incr=
    > easingly unlikely we’ll have a loop back to those days. After all, Johnson=
    > –despite experience–lost out to Kennedy in 1960 and I assume the same dyn=
    > amics are at work in 2008 (particularly given Clinton’s admiring comments r=
    > e. Johnson back around MLK day). Matt.
    P.S. Just got the account activated. Not ignoring your posts

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