Even the new president’s doing it!

2 Dec

An inspired choice!
On the back of so much comment about Obama
, I just couldn’t resist commenting myself – not just on my shared feelings of inspiration, hope and optimism about the result, but also about his amazing campaign.

Amazing use of social media
For those that have read some of my previous blogs
, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a social media nut! And, that it’s something I think is really important for us to be doing at Virgin Media. It’s great to see loads of our employees really getting involved with some the stuff we’ve implemented so far – and, as I’ve said before, there’s more coming. Anyway, on to the reason for this blog.

Even Obama’s a social media nut
Yep, for any of those following the US election campaigns, you can’t have missed the massive use of social media – especially for Obama. I personally followed
him on twitter as well as keeping an eye on YouTube and all the other stuff he and other candidates were up to. Here’s some interesting stuff he did on social media in his campaign:

  • He’s got over 121,000 following him on Twitter and he’s posted 263 tweets since he started -tweeting about his thoughts, what he was up to, important events and thank yous for the support – during election week, he gained nearly 3,000 new followers!
  • His last tweet, straight after being elected was “We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks.
  • Around 500 million blogs referred to Obama since August (only about 150m for McCain)
  • Obama won hands down on MySpace with over 800,000 friends (compared to over 220k for McCain). During election week, Obama gained over 10,000 friends – McCain only 1,000
  • He’s got over 1 million Facebook friends and also used LinkedIn, FriendFeed, YouTube and FlickR to name just a few
  • The social media campaign is reported to have directly resulted in over $250 million worth of donations as well as capturing 1.4 million email addresses – and, undoubtedly contributed not just financially to his overall campaign!
  • Note – the above figures were correct at time of writing this blog (beginning Nov 08)

Obama listens and connects with people
Obama’s team were obviously the more social media street-wise through the entire campaign and realised the massive benefits of how social media contributes to engaging and motivating people. He faced up to what people had to say and embraced it – committing to talking with people whatever they had to say. And, all along, he’s asked to hear people’s own story – and used that to develop his campaign, and to quote, creating a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.
And, it doesn’t finish there – his website
http://change.gov invites people to tell their stories: “The story of this campaign is your story. It is about the great things that we can do when we come together around a common purpose”. So, he’s continuing to listen and connect – and I’m sure he’s got plenty more up his sleeve.
Can we replicate that in Virgin Media?
Well, there’s a question! A management services guru in the states summed it up really well:

“By engaging with supporters, [Obama] was able to create that all important sense of connection – ‘he’s talking to me, he’s in my network and he’s someone I feel like I know’.
“He provided a chance to challenge, question and connect and by acknowledging the discussions, and made it feel like everything had been read and taken on board.”
Can we do that here at Virgin Media? (I’m talking primarily about within the company as that’s my job. Well, in my view…
(Apologies for the blatant use of THE election catchphrase).
By continuing to develop, implement and, most importantly, USE our communication tools how they should be used, we’re at least on our way to creating that sense of community that is free to talk, listen, discuss and influence – creating a true two-way communication process, one that’s open and transparent and aligned with where we want to be as a Virgin company.
We’re still in the early stages, and we’ve a long way to go – but, it’s a massive priority for us.

obama, blog, stephen beynon, social media,
obama, blog, stephen beynon, social media, twitter, YouTube, tweet, mySpace, LinkedIn, facebook, FlickR,


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