The social media guru who co-engineered the campaign which saw Barack Obama elected has praised the stories.coop digital campaign in the lead up to the UN International Year of Cooperatives.
“I was excited to see Stories.coop – stories are essential,” Sam Graham-Felsen told delegates during his keynote speech at the International Co-operative Alliance’s General Assembly and conference in Cancun, Mexico on November 17, 2011.
Graham-Felsen, Obama’s chief blogger and “narrator in chief” on that 2008 campaign, said that the experience he gathered from the Obama campaign gave him the understanding that stories didn’t just have to be easy to digest videos, but that even more complex tales had a wide reach.
The Obama campaign broke all political fundraising records, pulling in about $US500 million, meanwhile building an email distribution list of 13 million which was the largest in political history.
The Obama campaign was notable for often telling the stories of grassroots supporters of the U.S. president, rather than inevitably featuring Obama himself. The BBC declared that social media had been the “key” to Obama’s victory.
During his speech, Graham-Felsen highlighted a global change in sentiment towards business. He caged 2011 in terms of a “revolutionary year”, like 1968 and 1989.
Particularly caught up in this global shift were the younger generations, he said. “This is your moment to reach this generation.”
Social media and story-telling were positive ways to help drive the messages of the co-operative movement. During Obama’s campaign, they created about 1,000 YouTube videos as well as online supporters generating approximately 200,000 offline events. Graham-Felsen has consulted on digital media strategy with, among others, U.S. Soccer, the U.S. Olympic Committee, American Red Cross, National Geographic, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tate Modern.