The Digi-Cult

A New Religion for a Digital Age

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Barack Obama Art Movement

Posted by Matt Harbottle on November 19, 2008

As we know, President-Elect Barack Obama will be stepping into office in January 2009.  He is now known as the “wired” president, but did you know he’s an art movement as well?  Most artwork produced that revolves around Barack himself came out during the pre-election period as people wanted to show their support, at the same time promoting him.  But since he has won the election, the “Barack art” keeps on coming.obama-art-22

The Artworks come in all different mediums, but it seems that a lot of the pieces distributed online tend to be from digital art forms.  Coincidence that Barack being “wired” would fuel these digital works?  Probably not, but to me I think it’s an interesting concept.  Why now?  Why didn’t art movements take off before when other American elections were taking place?  Maybe the idea of being “wired” to the youths of the world relates to being “cool” and in touch with what’s really going on.  After all the old, out-of-date presidents prior, why wouldn’t they want to promote and idolize a guy like Barack by creating artworks of him.

obama-21As it stands right now, everything Barack touches turns to gold.  Barack art is selling like there’s no tomorrow.  As many sites online are out to make a buck  by selling these artworks, I would hope that most artists would be doing it just for the sake of showing their appreciation and support.  On the other hand, if the opportunity arose to make some money at it, I’m not sure if I could really blame the artists who make a few dollars at it.  After all, the world has gone “Obama Crazy.”

Hundreds of sites have been popping up that showcase “Barak art,” even sites like the Obama Art report that are specifically dedicated to the art movement.  Another site, Design for Obama, is a free site that shows how graphic designers best support Barack obama. 

shirts

So maybe this gave Barack a slight advantage over John McCain’s campaign.  Having attractive, well designed shirts and clothing that McCain seemed to lack.

Not only did the movement take-off online, exhibitions have sprouted all around the world as well.  One American exhibition can be seen here, and another I found interseting is this gallery all the way in Paris, France.

Matt

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President of the Intertubes.

Posted by Rod Leland on November 7, 2008

“Undoubtedly Obama’s rise to the presidency will be studied for years to come as the textbook example of a new kind of electioneering driven by people and technology” -Ralph Benko, principal of the political consulting firm Capital City Partners, in Washington, D.C.

picture-7
Barack Obama is now officially the president-elect of the United States, and it’s certainly no accident. Obama drew the largest voter turnout in a century.  He managed to awaken voter demographics that were dormant for many, many terms. Yes, he’s a great speaker, yes his platform is solid, and yes he’s riding the wake of a 20% approval rating for the current republican president. But what really won him the election?  The Internet and social media tools.

It’s no coincidence that Obama’s team at campaign headquarters is packed full of ambitious 20-somethings.  These same 20-somethings understood that this election is completely different because for the first time the Internet was massively, fundamentally, important.

So, Obama has a great website. It’s easy to read and navigate with a standards-compliant, clean, functional design.  However, every candidate has a website nowadays.  Where the real differences start to come is in Obama’s use of the free online social media tools like YouTube and Twitter, Barack’s use of different communication methods for different demographics, and probably most importantly, the creation of his OWN SOCIAL NETWORK.

Let’s start with the free online social media tools.  Barack leveraged all the major pre-existing Internet staples and built huge followings within each. The important metrics (at election time):

125 THOUSAND Twitter Followers (the most of all twitter users, ever)
100 MILLION Youtube Views,
865 THOUSAND Myspace Friends,
and 2.6 MILLION Facebook supporters.

It should also be noted that Obama’s Youtube channel has close to 2000 videos and in the final days of the election new videos were being released at a rate of roughly one an hour.

I think those numbers speak for themselves.

These are tools a vast majority of us already use and love.  When we can show support for, and interact with our presidential candidate, it helps immensely to build personal brand.  It’s certainly very cool to “be friends” with Obama on MySpace or receive a Tweet from Obama thanking YOU for helping to elect him.  This is why building personal brand becomes so important to help with Obama’s message.  He wants to drive home the point that every single voter matters, and the use of social media re-enforces this.  These relatively simple, passive tools that can (and most likely are) run by members of Obama’s team help personally connect voters to their candidate.

Barack and his team also used individual communication methods to contact different demographics.  For the younger voters, text messages were the weapon of choice.  Appropriately, for the older demo, clearly-worded, short, concise emails were sent out.  The personalization of campaigning helped Obama reach each generation in the best way.  In past elections, a TV spot goes out to everyone watching TV, and it’s much tougher to customize your message for a specific set of people.

picture-8On to Obama’s own Social Network.  My.BarackObama.com launched in the middle of February and by the end of his campaign had 1.5 Million accounts.  The social network launched pretty much without bugs and feature-complete showing again, that Obama’s team was CRUSHING the web aspect of his campaign and know the do’s and don’ts.  Through this social network, Obama’s followers arranged their own rallies, meetups, and contributed a vast amount of money that helped fuel Obama’s campaign.

In another show of web prowess, just a single day after being named president-elect, Obama launched the Obama-Biden Transition Project (as the organization is legally known) under the domain Change.gov.  Obama and his team know that keeping their followers in the loop via the web is not optional anymore, and this new project is a perfect example of the fact that Obama is committed to pursuing this view not just in his campaign, but in his presidency as well.

(Props to Techpresident for the killer metrics.)

-Rod

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Obama as the Bottom Up President

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 4, 2008

Barack Obama could be THIS iconic.  Seriously.

Barack Obama could be THIS iconic. Seriously.

Well, I was listening to CNN after Obama won the election and Alex Castellanos was speaking about Obama as a President for the communication Age.  I’ve got to say that I agree.

The pannelist was discussing how in terms of software design the world has shifted towards a bottom up kind of development with great success.  Likewaise Barack Obama has asked each voter for thier help; a distinctly bottom up approach.  Perhaps this will the first Open Source government.

Economics and Industry have lead the way for government for a long time.  Democracy was influenced by artisans who were proud of their work and by intellectuals who had just started to understand thier own minds and what individual thought could accomplish.

The American form of Democratic election was influenced by masses of disenfranchised labourers who wanted to band together to take down those in power, but didn’t want to lose thir hard won individuality.

Perhaps we will see a Bottom Up government if this pattern continues.  We can only hope.

Barack Obama created a powerful internet campaign and a grassroots movement through the internet beyond anything ever seen before.  For the first time in a long time (perhaps since Kennedy’s face graced the TV, winning over many wih this charismatic features and throughful words).  This could be the time when Digital Culture bleeds fully in to the analog world.

And that can only mean, a world united.

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