Presidential candidates began courting political bloggers before the 2008 nomination race even got started. Virtually every candidate hired bloggers on staff. Some successfully and some not so much. Many set up conference calls with bloggers (McCain has excelled here). Both the RNC and DNC are allowing bloggers access to the show floor during their national conventions.
Arguably the two candidates most attuned to the Blogosphere during this presidential campaign were presumptive nominees John McCain and Barak Obama (notice the video?). Obama has certainly benefited the most from social media having raised $45 million dollars online in one month!. He has more followers on Twitter (31,000+) than anyone including Bloggerati Rock Stars like Robert Scoble and Jason Calacanis. Mommie and Techy bloggers regularly tweet and post on his behalf. Obama has near 850,000 members on his Facebook fan site and a huge presence on MySpace (though many of those friends may not be old enough to vote). Who can forget the Viral Videos from Obama Girl (nine million views!); which had more than a small part in raising national awareness and elevating Obama’s candidacy to legitimate contender status.
Now the McCain campaign in following with it’s overall strategy of reaching out to voters beyond his base is reaching out to left leaning blogs and even non-political blogs. Here is an excerpt from a Washington Times article on Friday.
Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign is trying to tap a new audience of potential voters by taking his campaign message straight to liberal and nonpolitical issues-based blogs, which reach millions of readers but don’t often delve into conservative politics.
The strategy was in full swing yesterday when Mr. McCain invited non-conservative bloggers to join his regular blogger conference call, just hours after he delivered a major speech previewing his war strategy and other priorities for a first presidential term.
These candidates are both going to continue to seek the support of the Blogosphere and their tens of millions of readers. They are wise to do so. Bloggers and their readers vote. For the candidate that does it right, it just might mean the difference between winning and losing the Presidency.
PS. A couple of months ago I was joking with someone that Obama might be the first President to Tweet the State of the Union Address. I might not have been that far off.