I didn’t want to write about something related to politics, but I failed. It is very hard on these days to get inspiration from the Internet or any other kind of source without being bombarded with news about Trump or Pence or why did or didn’t people vote them, what is going to happen or not – it is exhausting, I know.
But I am going to talk about something different. I am going to talk about Obama and his hability to manage social media since he is possibly the first political figure that has left real footprint in it.
Let´s go back to 2008. When Obama won the elections that year, there was hope and political movement, but what you couldn’t find was Instagram or Snapchat, and Facebook and Twitter were an anecdote compared to today’s importance and weight. From there Obama has designed a communication strategy that has broken with any precedent, in many ways Obama has been the first politician in the world to connect with that lost and blurry generation called Millennials.
In my opinion he has been able to take what they call the “Show-politics” and generate a profile both is social media and outside of it that, being able to be combined with the serious and presidential facet, that helped Obama connect with the general population and the millennials not only in the US but throughout the whole world.
How has he done it? In my opinion the secret of the success is the normality. Obama behaves nearly as a normal man with one difference – that he is not and therefore everyone is seeing him. That combination, with a small addition of genius that is not definable, is what it makes a perfect combination.
This is what I mean. A simple photo. No campaign signs or any kind of political message or correctness. If it wasn’t Obama this picture would have been forgotten because it doesn’t say anything special, it is too normal. But it is Obama, and those three words take a lot of meaning and the normality of the picture, which otherwise would have been boring, is what makes the photo so natural and emotional. And this is how this tweet was so powerful, getting to be one of the most re-tweeted tweets of the history of the platform to this day.
Second key example. For the ones who live under a rock, McKayla Maroney was an American athlete that became viral by showing an unimpressed face when she received the silver medal on the London Olympics. Obama was very smart in this case. He used a popular meme of the moment, and replicated it with the author becoming viral at the moment. Again this picture shows us an sort of humane Obama, a funny and friendly president and politician. There aren´t any advertisement campaigns able to create this image as well as these kind of actions do.
At the end Obama has been able to connect with a great amount of people by simply approaching the politician candidate to the public in a very natural way by doing exactly what every other social media user would do. He uses social trends and memes to promote his image and himself making him a normal human being.
And the result of it? Obama has been considerably successful nationally. Gallup rates Obama in a 57% of approval, only outmatched by Bill Clinton in the 2000 with a 61% very far away from the 28% of president Bush.
But the biggest success of Obama is not the national approval – it is how the international community sees him and his job. In Europe, for example, Obama was a game-changer on how Europe perceived not only the President but america in general
There has been other political figures that are active and popular in social media and the internet, but they haven’t been able to be establish themselves as well as Obama did. Some of them are almost a joke, with strange hair that is becoming a meme.