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“For your final blog post, please predict, based on what you’ve learned and what your *imagination* says, what you think will be key to winning the 2012 election online.”

I think the key to winning the 2012 election online will be how best to engage potential voters. Technology doesn’t mean a hill of beans if people aren’t engaged or invested in the candidate. Andrew Lipsman states in Patrick Patullo’s article, the Internet has proven a powerful tool for candidates and campaigns, but technology alone won’t win an election. There needs to be substance behind the candidate. “The digital medium is really an extension of the candidate themselves,” Lipsman says. “I think at the core if there is a common thread you need a strong candidate. If you don’t have a good candidate it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to build that really grassroots campaign online.”

But if we are to deal strictly with online strategy, then other than the candidate, the key is being where the conversations are. Communications is about reach. Communicating is about relational dynamics between people. Social media provides the means to effectively communicate with your market. Communicating in human rather than institutional terms. People are having more conversation online than offline, therefore it is no doubt that social media and social networking will be front and center in the 2012 online election. And according to CNN, in 2012, those social media tools will move from your computer screen to your pocket, as mobile technology helps define the new terms of campaign engagement.

Political Internet Marketing 2010 and Beyond states that being on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Ning and FriendFeed is a must but only 1/7 of the websites you should be on for 2010 and 2012 elections. If your strategy does not include 85% of : Bi-daily aggregation to 25+ social websites, search engine

optimization, video search engine, traditional video website, and internet visibility then you can get beat in a close election.

As Michael Silberman so eloquently put, the fundamentals of organizing haven’t changed. The next major challenge for a national political campaign will be to string together the various online volunteering tools into a program that does not rely as heavily on an army of paid field staff like Obama’s to facilitate the “last mile” of physical-world organizing.

TechPresident’ writes; The next presidential cycle will be a lot of work and a ton of fun. Jose Antonio Vargas from the Washington Post noted: “The floodgates are open. This doesn’t mean just hiring Web developers, bloggers, videographers — the works. It also means using the Internet to invite people into the process, giving them something to work for, offering them a stake in victory or defeat.”

So the answer lies in who can do it best. Who can be in a million place at once. Who can use every imaginable and unimaginable communication and information source out there. Who can make your online experience with the candidate unique and special, like no else can; that is the heart of winning online and offline.

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