Teddy Goff: Obama’s Online Supporters Mattered as Evangelists (and Donors)

Via PoliticalWire, several interesting observations have come out of a recent campaign debrief at Harvard, which starred several veterans of the 2012 presidential race. Among the campaign staff was Obama digital director Teddy Goff, and BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller captured two particularly revealing statements he made during the discussion:

According to Teddy Goff, the nearly 34 million Facebook users who “like” Barack Obama on the social networking sites are friends with 98% of the U.S. Facebook population, making it an effective tool to reach out to younger voters.


Goff explained that more than 90% of the Obama e-mail list voted in 2008 — the challenge in 2012 wasn’t as much to keep them on board, but to reach out to more people.

Aside from fund-raising, Goff said the digital operation wasn’t about getting supporters on their lists to vote — it was about getting their friends to vote for Obama.

Individual supporters as evangelists and recruiting stations? Very similar to 2008, and a good approach for other campaigns to emulate: once someone’s on your list, who else can he or she bring to you? To how many others can THEY spread the word? Also, this is a good example of how what we do as on social media as individual activists can be as important as what a campaign does itself. Though note, of course, that supporters’ money mattered, too…a lot.

More to come on the details of how the campaign put supporters to work — info is emerging steadily. BTW, here’s another juicy bit from the BuzzFeed piece:

Obama Digital Director Teddy Goff proclaimed Paul Ryan “highly meme-able” when asked about his initial response to Romney selecting the Wisconsin congressman as his running-mate.

“Voters usually don’t hear what is trending on Twitter,” Goff explained, talking about Ryan’s speech at the GOP convention. “The Janesville [GM plant that shut down] did.”

“He was the perfect object for social media in this election,” Goff added.

And not in a good way. Also note that Romney’s folks apparently don’t go to YouTube — the “47%” clip caught them completely by surprise, even though bits from that speech had been online for months. Malpractice!


Written by
Colin Delany
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