The U.S. elections have been an interesting spiel of old vs new, of traditional vs social media. While Republican Senator McCain and Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton have put their money on traditional media (think Clinton’s “phone in the middle of the night” TV spot and its, shall we say: mixed success), Obama’s campaign strategists have been a lot smarter.

One of Clinton’s old-school TV spots, (not too successfully) pushing her message:

 

The Obama campaign has been a lot better at harnessing the power of the web. Also, they clearly have a better understanding of how to address the web community. Example? While both Clinton and Obama are on Twitter (Clinton: 1, 2; Obama), only Obama (as Leo Laporte pointed out in Net@Nite) followed people back from the beginning. It’s this engagement on eye level that really makes a difference in social media.

BarackTV’s Your Story: Engaging the voters, (successfully) asking for grassroots support:

 

And the engagement paid off for Obama. Says PoliticsOnline:

Senator Obama surpassed an ‘old school’ campaign, changing and breaking the rules of the Washington game. He has taken a quantum leap from the stale websites of past politicians, going on to raise millions of dollars through small donations from millions of people and creating a network of diehard volunteers. While ensnared in one of the most cut-throat political campaign races in history, Sen. Obama’s online campaign helped to diminished the quantitative significance of the million mark; whether it was millions of supporters, millions of YouTube video views, or millions of online donations. Raking in over $265 million is as worthy of historical prose as being an African American with the name Barack Hussein Obama.

The whole micro-donations issue has been on the table since the 2004 U.S. election campaigns. It’s really hard to imagine why the more conservative elements in both parties haven’t picked up on this. Anyway, it should be interesting to see how it all plays out, and which aspects are going to be part of the next German elections…