Obama and the Social Web #2

20 01 2009

The inauguration of Barack Obabma is a historical defining moment for democracy.  The anticipation of the inauguration was described as being like Christmas Eve and was celebrated in every way from commemorative crockery to the new Ben & Jerry’s ‘Yes Pecan’ ice cream flavour.

It’s place in history goes beyond race and background. Obama is the first democratically elected leader to embrace the social web.   After a few quiet weeks his much talked about twitter stream went live again on Martin Luther King Day, the eve of the presidential inauguration.  Obama understood that the ability of the ordinary person to use the Internet, has and will have a significant effect on the relationship between  between the politician and the body politic.   Oh Boy Obama, was an unofficial site produced by his supporters described as an “online think tank” where people voted on policy ideas that they believed Barack Obama should adopt as part of his campaign.   Oh Boy Obama was a Digg style site that showed how political ideas could be tested against real grass roots opinion with those most likely to succeed in winning popular support rising to the top.

There is a great deal of hope riding on this new president.  If he pursues his relationship with the social web he could help to redefine what we mean and understand by democracy.  That would be history in the making.





Barack, Ben and Jerry…’Yes Pecan’!

9 01 2009

Ben and Jerry are no strangers to the world of PR.  They regularly harness the power of word of mouth to promote their products and they actively promote their good works through the media.  The latest Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavour is particulalrly interesting and not just because it piggy backs the news story of the century.

The new ‘Yes Pecan’ flavour is a very obvious nod to the election slogan of the soon to be President Barack Obama.  No one can fail to see the PR power of that idea.  The name of the flavour is interesting because it appears to have come not from the creative hot houses on Madison Avenue or from a laid back group huddle at B&J HQ.  Rather it was the idea of an Obama supporter which might never have come to light had the Senator not embraced the social web as part of his campaign.

According to a posting on MyBarackObama.com the idea appeared on a blog.   “As many of you know, Ben and Jerry have endorsed Barack for President and are urging their fellow Vermonters to vote Barack on March 4th… Upon hearing the news, one of the commenters on our blog suggested an idea for a new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor: “Yes, Pecan!”

Less than a year later Barack’s on his way to the Oval Office and the new ice cream is in the freezer cabinet.








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