When you go to a political website, are you treated as a “customer” when you make a contribution or as a “member?” There is a big difference between your “consumer experience” when you contribute to Hillary Clinton’s website or Barack Obama’s site and that might be suggesting how each candidate views your participation in the political life of the US.
John Sviokla’s site has a fascinating analysis of this issue. Hillary treats her supporters as “customers,” and Barack treats his as “members.”
So Hillary sees her supporters as a series of constituents with individual interests that she needs to meet and Barack sees his backers as members belonging to a mass movement. One is a traditional political model. The other is a more modern engagement model.
“…the two sites differ radically. On Obama’s I received “points” for creating a profile, making my profile public, logging in, befriending a link in my social network – which all told, puts me at 96,044th place in the my.barackobama.com universe. I can “climb” by engaging more–hosting events, linking to others, raising money and many other forms of participation. To anyone in the MySpace/Facebook generation this type of functionality is expected. In contrast, the Clinton web site gave me an identification like TzQ$, so I could make sure that any donations were tracked back to me – sounding just like old style “frequent purchaser” numbers that everyone from CVS to American Airlines uses.”
So it appears that Obama’s web folks understand that engagement is how you attract the peer-to-peer, attention-deficit, content-overloaded younger people of the Web. Money follows engagement.
There’s lots of talk about why your company should be a Facebook. Now, perhaps your political campaign should be a Facebook as well.
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