For Hire: Community Manager for Obama?

Josh Bernoff over at Forrester posted an interesting blog today on Groundswell about Obama’s victory. Bernoff calls for Obama to continue the use of social media within politics, and to even go so far as to hire a US Community Manager to facilitate the relationship between citizens and policy makers.

To me, this sounds like both an amazingly great and an amazingly horrible idea. Here’s why:

I’m all for Obama continuing to mobilize the younger audience he has captive on social networks and in various new media outlets, but am worried about fraud and cyber bullying. As so many of us know, the internet is hardly a stable or safe environment, and opening up the political system to something like this makes it extremely susceptible to fraud. If the US Government can find a way to validate and authenticate users in a legitimate way (one vote per user) so that it’s not the voice of the few, its the voices of the many, then I’m all for it. The last thing I want is my country being driven by a bunch of irrational users who don’t accurately reflect the rest of the country.

How would this be staffed? What type of credentials would a CM need to have to be the Community Manager for the United States? Clearly they’d need at least a little background in Public Policy to ensure that they even know what they’re talking about. And to be honest, how is this all that different than having congressional representatives in each area? Why not make each Rep an online community instead? Why recreate the wheel and make it a nationwide issue when we could easily keep things localized and find more success.

All in all, I think it’s for the most part, a great idea. Tapping into this resource would be a fantastic way to maintain Obama’s momentum, but it has to be done delicately. If not, Obama runs the risk of looking like a fool.

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2 comments so far

  1. Paul L'Acosta on

    Hi Melissa:

    I think this is a GREAT wake-up comment for everybody as we definitely should have somebody continue to work on what they started. But the important key here is that this CM not only be a manager but a communicator. Keeping it real, simple, and straightforward should be the key to communicate to the masses… Getting a tweet every now and then to find out my point of view about a certain political idea would be excellent; getting a tweet to ask for me to support a particular project will be wrong.

    Thanks again for opening this for discussion!

  2. […] 4, 2009 · No Comments Back in November I posted about the Obama campaign hiring a Community Manager to drive their online strategy […]


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