SPRINGFIELD, ILL.—Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign launched its revamped web site aimed at the Facebook and YouTube generation with a slogan, “This campaign is about you.”
Obama, who kicks off his White House drive at 9:55 a.m. central time Saturday in a theatrically staged event in front of the Old State Capitol in this city of Abraham Lincoln, personally inspected the site just before it went live at midnight.
While Obama announced his presidential exploratory bid on a podcast at www.barackobama.com, the web site itself was light on content and nothing special.
The souped up version at the same address provides significant insight into the unfolding Obama campaign ethos and what will be an emphasis on using “new media” platforms for organizing door-knocking volunteers, netroot activists and fundraising.
The web site features the new Obama logo, built around the letter O (or a globe, depending) stuffed with three road-like red stripes, a blue sky and a white sun or moon. That logo has already been branded on everything from the press and staffer ID's handed out on Thursday, to lapel pins for the ranking aides, to the new Obama clothing line.
The Obama campaign New Media Director is Joe Rospars, a veteran of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, which in its day was seen as an innovative leader in using the Internet as a critical campaign tool.
At 11:25 p.m. on Thursday Rospars blogged on the site, “I'm writing now because we're making the final tweaks on the initial set of tools and functionality that will hopefully help a lot of people like you hit the ground running and start this campaign off with the culture of self-organizing that Senator Obama wants to build.,” Rospars blogged .
“Earlier tonight I was with Senator Obama taping a short video message that will go out to folks on Friday, reminding them to watch the live video stream of his announcement speech,” Rospars wrote.
The TV element of the site includes interviews and bios of Obama and a piece featuring Michelle Obama, produced by Obama media guru David Axelrod, where she talks about how she met Obama.
In the podcast Michelle Obama said a goal of the campaign is to “bring a new hope to people who have been ignored for a long time.”
“Hope” is a central theme of the Obama presidential drive.
*You are who you link to. The Obama web site links to facebook, partybuilder, YouTube, flickr and a site for voter registration.
*Using the web to reap contributions from individuals is not new. The Obama team created an on-line toolkit so people can raise money from others—and get credit for it, a practice known as “bundling.”
The pitch: “your own personal fundraising page will put the financial future of this campaign in your hands. You set your own goal, you do the outreach, and you get the credit for the results.”
*The Obama store features an Obama t-shirt with the new logo, priced at $20.08. 2008, get it?