The year's most successful startup took a skinny kid with a funny name and turned him into the most powerful new national brand in a generation.
Barack Obama's presidential-campaign team relied on technology -- what was known internally as the "triple O," or Obama's online operation -- to connect with voters better, faster, and more cheaply than ever before. The team has become the envy of marketers both in and out of politics for proving, among other things, just how effective digital initiatives can be. "We never felt like, 'This is our community,' " says Chris Hughes, the campaign's director of online organizing. "This is the community of all the people who empowered it." The community that elected Obama raised more money, held more events, made more phone calls, shared more videos, and offered more policy suggestions than any in history. It also delivered more votes. And it continues to act: In mid-December, house parties were held in 2,000 cities and towns to discuss how to carry on; 86% of those surveyed said they plan to provide grassroots support to Obama's legislation.
- Timeline -
Obama officially declares his candidacy for president. His campaign launches MyBarackObama.com, a social-networking site on which 2 million profiles and 35,000 volunteer groups are eventually created and 200,000 offline events are planned.
The campaign takes over a grassroots Obama fan page on MySpace with 160,000 followers. It creates Obama profiles on a dozen social networks from BlackPlanet to AsianAve. Obama fan groups on Facebook, started earlier in the year, eventually grow to 3.2 million supporters.
YouTube video of "I got a crush on ... Obama" is posted by Obama Girl. It ends up with 12 million views. The campaign's own YouTube channel churns out 1,800 videos by Election Day, reaping 110 million views.
January 3, 2008
Obama wins Iowa caucus.
February 5, 2008
Obama wins 13 of 22 states on Super Tuesday.
March 18, 2008
With incendiary comments by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright domi-nating the news, Obama delivers a historic speech on race in America.
June 4, 2008
Obama clinches the Democratic nomination.
Liberal supporters launch an uprising on MyBarackObama.com in opposition to Obama's Senate vote on wiretapping. He writes a long blog post explaining.
August 23, 2008
Obama announces the selection of running mate Joe Biden via text message. By Election Day, more than 1 million people are signed up for the campaign's text-messaging program, each receiving 5 to 20 targeted messages per month.
August 28, 2008
Obama accepts his party's nomination in front of 84,000 people at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
September 3, 2008
Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican convention excites the base in both parties: Obama raises $10 million in the next 24 hours.
October 15, 2008
Obama raises $104 million from mid-October to Election Day. Overall, the campaign raises a record $750 million. Online donations total $500 million, the vast bulk in increments of $100 or less.
November 4, 2008
Election Day. Every battleground-state voter signed up for alerts on Obama's site gets at least three text messages.
January 20, 2009
Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.