Facebook gets central role in Obama 2012 re-election campaign


President Barack Obama officially launched his bid to remain in office for a second term today — and, once again, Facebook has become a fully integrated part of the political strategy.

Of course, the Obama team has created a fully-formed Facebook page for the re-election, complete with family photos and Obama’s favorite TV show (hint: it’s “Sportscenter.”) But that’s only the tip of the campaign’s social media iceberg.

The newly redesigned BarackObama.com now includes additional functionality when logged into Facebook through the site. Most notable is an interactive banner module that allows users to scroll through all their Facebook friends who haven’t yet joined the 2012 Obama campaign’s custom “Are you in?” application.

This feature enables Obama supporters who have joined to quickly remind their left-leaning friends to get involved with the campaign straight from BarackObama.com (with or without the help of an “optional message.”)

From the few minutes we spent clicking around, the Obama friend bar is definitely a solid feature that compels you to tell others about the campaign. But it would work far better if it were possible to also view your friends in a list, rather than one at a time. This would enable you to quickly check mark the ones you think would be interested in Obama’s re-election campaign. As it is now, you have to keep scrolling until you randomly find the people you want to contact.

The current functionality has its purpose, however, especially for those with the time and the will to click through each friend for consideration. Many of us, however, aren’t so lucky.

It should come as no surprise that Facebook is central to Obama 2012. The president’s “personal” Facebook page has nearly 19 million “likes,” and his 2012 re-election page has already earned more than 25,000 as of 8am EST today.

In addition, a recent Harvard University study shows that 55 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds support Obama for 2012. Of that demographic, 80 percent had a Facebook account. And that number jumps to 90 percent when looking at only college students.

The ties between Facebook and Washington go even deeper than just marketing potential. Just last week, it was rumored that Obama’s former press secretary Robert Gibbs is considering a high-profile (and high-paying) job with the Palo Alto, California, social network giant.

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