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Business - Written by on Thursday, June 5, 2008 11:51 - 11 Comments

Don Tapscott
More on Obama and wikinomics

I continue to be amazed at the pundit’s lack of comprehension about why Hillary lost. Bad tactics — this. Bad choices on where to campaign — that. Not enough focus on caucuses — this. Getting Bill involved — that. It’s like the old style pundits using their old style tools to analyze why an old style campaign failed. They’re not only locked into an old model of thinking about politics. They lack a sense of irony.

Let’s face it — Obama ran a new kind of campaign based on social networks that mobilized youth — the Net Generation. And it’s not just that young people were influential on others — which they were. In many cases they actually enabled a numerical majority. Look at the chart below. Obama was actually beaten in Iowa by both Clinton and Edwards if you only count voters 30 and over — the segment that old style politicians have always cared about. But he handily won the watershed Iowa vote because of the Net Generation (voters aged 17-29). The chart says it all.

don-iowa.png

And how did he engage youth? Sure he had a great message that appealed to young people sick of old style politicians and sure he behaved with integrity throughout the campaign. But from an organizational perspective he harnessed the power of social networks. Get to a Net Gener with a social network of say 400 young people and tapping into a powerful resource called social capital — relationships based on trust. Politics will never be the same.

(Note: you can check out my previous posts on this topic here, here, and here)



11 Comments

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Venkat
Jun 5, 2008 12:40

This is not a conclusion I’d trust without some validation of your conjectures (“Get to a Net Gener with a social network of say 400 young people and tapping into a powerful resource called social capital — relationships based on trust”).

It is tempting to draw the conclusion that this is a triumph for Politics 2.0, but some of the attributions you are dismissing as trivial aren’t. The non-criticality of those influences has to be proven rather than assumed.

Don Tapscott
Jun 6, 2008 2:45

Good comment. At this stage in the elections I don’t think there is any “proof” in the sense of valid and reliable statistical procedures showing causal relationships (My background is actually research methodology.”) We’re pretty much making hypotheses. In measurement terms I think mine has what’s referred to as “face validity.” I came to this conclusions studying the campaign carefully for my next book (October 2008) Grown Up Digital. Social capital is a powerful thing, especially Net Gen social capital, I believe that Obama tapped into effectively.

Don

Book review: The revolution will not be televised by Joe Trippi « Forgesian Thinking
Jun 10, 2008 10:44

[...] and beyond. Obama’s campaign is been argued to be an improved version of Dean’s and Obama’s embrace of the internet to have given him the edge over Clinton in the primary [...]

Erik R
Jun 13, 2008 10:46

I would say Obama’s youth appeal and web 2.0 approach is what made it possible for him to win.

Hillary still could have won if she’d avoided all the mistakes that can be boiled down to a failure to recognize that the political landscape had changed.

Wikinomics » Blog Archive » Democracy Digitized
Aug 26, 2008 10:23

[...] have the power to make a difference. The numbers speak for themselves. As Don Tapscott wrote in a previous post – During the Iowa preliminary, Obama had won by a landslide in millennial votes. His 28,000 vs. [...]

Obama and social media - Bloggerati - Blogs - Brand Republic
Sep 1, 2008 2:06

[...] http://www.wikinomics.com/blog/index.php/2008/06/05/more-on-obama-and-wikinomics/ Published Sep 01 2008, 07:00 AM by Justin Hunt save it on  Del.icio.us  Digg  Stumble share on  Facebook  reddit Comments No Comments   To comment on this post you have to be logged in Top of Page Search Community [...]

Grown Up Digital » Democracy Digitized, by Ming Kwan
Sep 3, 2008 8:08

[...] have the power to make a difference. The numbers speak for themselves. As Don Tapscott wrote in a previous post – During the Iowa preliminary, Obama had won by a landslide in millennial votes. His 28,000 vs. [...]

Wikinomics » Blog Archive » Vote for change.
Sep 29, 2008 9:06

[...] times about the impact of social networks on this year’s US Presidential election – see here and here. And let’s be honest, the use of such networks and new web 2.0 technologies has been [...]

Wikinomics » Blog Archive » Obama campaign sign…under Internet watch
Sep 29, 2008 11:43

[...] has deployed technology and engaged the Net Generation to enhance his bid for the Oval Office. See here, here, here, here, and [...]

Wikinomics » Blog Archive » Obama vs. McCain Online
Oct 2, 2008 16:34

[...] note: for previous coverage of the role of wikinomics in this race, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and [...]

marco
Oct 14, 2008 12:40

do you think is it possible to have peer production also for marketing/commercial activity? my company http://www.lamercanti.it sell office furniture (selection of italian brands) around the world. is it possible that community is interesting in promoting my business.. do you think there is a possibility…

Now available in paperback!
Don Tapscott and Anthony D. William's latest collaboration, Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet. Learn more.

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