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Obama's Wired Campaign: Lessons for Public Health Communication

Obama's Wired Campaign: Lessons for Public Health Communication,10.1080/10810730903033000,Journal of Health Communication,Lorien C. Abroms,R. Craig Le

Obama's Wired Campaign: Lessons for Public Health Communication   (Citations: 1)
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For those who still question the value of new media in public health campaigns, the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States can be instructive. Obama's campaign strategy has been heralded for its impressive ability to reach, engage, and inspire supporters. The high level of public involvement was evident in the record numbers of people who volunteered, donated money, and, most impor- tantly, turned out to vote for Obama (Swanson, 2008). While there are clearly many factors that contributed to Obama's decisive win, including the demographics of his supporters, one contributing factor was his campaign's innovative use of new media (Gardner, 2008; Swanson, 2008)—defined as media that are based on the use of digital technologies such as the Internet, digital video, and mobile devices (Abroms, Schiavo, & Lefebvre, 2008). These technologies were used to gain supporters and to mobilize them into action in ways that were unprecedented and untested in political campaigns. The Obama campaign's use of new media has relevance for how we conduct and build communities around our own public health campaigns. While previous politi- cal (Creamer, 2008; Deighton & Kornfeld, 2009; Harnden, 2008) and public health campaigns (Hamilton, Dennings, & Abroms, 2008; Hoff, Mishel, & Rowe, 2008; Huhman, 2008; Taubenheim et al., 2008; Williams, Zraik, Schiavo, & Hatz, 2008) have made use of new media, Obama's presidential campaign, especially during the general election, took their application to a new level. The Obama campaign's use of new media was an evolution from prior presidential campaigns such as Governor Dean's 2004 campaign, which made extensive use of the Internet for grass- roots fundraising. It also stemmed from Obama's own experience in the primary against Hillary Clinton, who also made use of new media in her campaign (Deighton & Kornfeld, 2009). It was during the general election campaign against John McCain, however, that the Obama campaign's new media ''machine'' got up and running at full speed and broke new ground for political campaigning (Vargas, 2008). As such, an understanding of how new media was used by Obama in the general election is worthy of reflection. The Obama campaign's use of new media can be
Journal: Journal of Health Communication - J HEALTH COMMUN , vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 415-423, 2009
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