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The Obama Presidency

What it could mean for Hawaii

(page 4 of 4)



Whether you supported Obama or not, his campaign provided a valuable lesson for any business struggling to survive in the 21st century: Make smart use of the Internet.

Businesses have been placing their products, advertising and services on the ’Net for years. Nothing new there. Likewise, there is nothing new about using the Internet to raise funds or other support from Cyberspace.

But what Obama did — and this is not yet fully understood — was make full use of the social networking power of the Internet to create a base of support, a community of interest, to which people felt compelled to belong — almost whether they wanted to or not.

At one level, the Obama campaign opened itself up to the networking power of the Internet so that people were raising money, organizing events and sharing information with each other almost entirely independent of the campaign hierarchy itself.


It is dangerous when an organization abandons a controlled, top-down style of administration, but it also creates opportunities (as Hillary Clinton learned, to her regret).

So, is there a business model here? Are companies willing to give up hierarchical control and brand management to grab the power of social networks? Obama did it and won. Smart businesses will soon find a way to emulate him in the commercial sphere. It will take guts, but the power of social networks, as we have learned, can no longer be ignored. —JU

 Barack Obama's Facebook Page

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Hawaii Business,January