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Posts tagged ‘politics’

The Key to Winning the 2012 Election Online

The mixture of politics and technology proved to be very successful for the 2008 race to the white house. This video, posted last summer in the heat of the campaign, explains how big this had really become:

The first time technology really worked in favor of a presidential candidate was for John F. Kennedy during the 1960 elections, with television as the up and coming medium. And to think… that was just under 50 years ago! We’ve come a long way, and we all know that technology continues to become more efficient at exponential rates. It is hard to imagine that Facebook was a small social application limited to college students during the 2004 elections.

The key to winning the 2012 elections can be summed up by learning from Obama’s campaign strategy in 2008. In Edelman’s “Social Pulpit” report, these are described as follows:

  1. Laddering support through tiers of engagement (personal, social, anelections20-20flag20and20balloonsd advocate)
  2. Empowering super users
  3. Providing source material for user-generated content
  4. Going where the people are
  5. Using tools people are familiar with
  6. Ensuring that people can find your content
  7. Mobilizing supporters through mobile devices
  8. Harnessing analytics to constantly improve engagement activities
  9. Building the online operation to scale
  10. Choosing the right team

Obama’s campaign is pure genius for getting this right the first time (my professor described this very well in his Infonomics column). These lessons will be the basis of the 2012 elections and the trick to winning – adapt to new technologies and apply them in intelligent ways. The major difference in 2012 will be with #5 (with the emergence of new and improved tools) and #10 (choosing the right team members who will collaboratively make the right decisions). Striking the perfect balance between technology and face-to-face communications will also be a key factor to winning the future race to the white house.

To give you an idea of where we’re headed, think about this: Moore’s Law states that computers will become twice as fast and half as cheap every 2 years. This means that by the next election, technology will allow us to accomplish things that I can’t begin to fathom or describe. I am anxious to see how this all unfolds!

Exploring Global Bloggers – Saudi Arabia

I recently visited Global Voices Online, a very interesting collaborative site that organizes and highlights blogs from around the world. Since I already explored Iranian bloggers in my very first blog post, I decided to hop across the Persian Gulf and explore Saudi Arabia’s blogging world. I was curious as to how similar the two countries were in terms of freedoms and restrictions.

One of the major recurring themes that I came across was the repression against women. Saudi Arabia Women Rights is a blog that raises awareness of the lack of rights.  I was actually pleased to see that some men were outraged by the government’s rulings. One of my favorite blogs was saudijeans.org, written by 24-year old Ahmed Al-Omran who resides and studies in Riyadh. He focuses on the country’s social and political issues, and also stands against repression towards women.

In a country where so many restrictions are set, blogging is a gateway to expression for many in the middle east. It is, in a way, a small revolution. As expressed in UK Financial Times:

The movement appears to have caught more conservative members of the establishment off guard, by introducing new tactics to the political scene as well as a new spirit of activism among young Kuwaitis.


Fouad Al-Farhan

However, bloggers in the region need to be cautions of what they post. A perfect example of someone who may have gone too far was Fouad al-Farhan, who in December 2007 was the first Saudi Arabian blogger to be arrested because of his criticism of corruption and call for political reform. Farhan also ran into trouble with the authorities in 2006 when he tried to start a group to protect bloggers’ rights. The executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information even stated:

“When the Saudi authorities arrest a young man writing maturely and is against terrorism and calls for reformation, it is a serious indicator for how far are the fanatic and those opposing freedom of expression and reformation are taking over in Saudi Arabia.”

A contributor of Global Voices Online outlined al-Farhan’s situation perfectly.

This may be a revolution, indeed.

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