Social, mobile will be key in 2016: Obama’s victory architect

David Plouffe believes Hillary Clinton understands ‘power of social media’

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Social, mobile will be key in 2016: Obama’s victory architect Plouffe: In 2016, you’ve got to be thinking social first and actually mobile first.
By  Stephen McBride Published  April 23, 2015

The 2016 presidential campaign will be dominated by the candidate that can make the best use of social media and mobile technologies, believes the man at the heart of President Obama's 2008 election victory.

David Plouffe was campaign manager for Barack Obama's first White House run and served as senior adviser to the president from 2011 to 2013. He is now senior vice president, Policy and Strategy, at Internet ride-sharing company Uber.

In an interview with at Uber's Dubai headquarters, Plouffe said social media platforms had become the primary point of contact between candidates and voters in the US.

"What's available [through social media] in politics and the private sector is the ability to reach target audiences in a very discreet way," he said. "You see President Obama now in Washington doing interviews with YouTube stars and doing mock videos for BuzzFeed. The reason he does that is it's really the only way reach people these days.

"TV advertising is still very important; you can reach a lot of people. But I think in 2015, 2016 you've got to be thinking social first and actually mobile first."

Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and Obama's main opponent in the 2008 primaries, recently announced her 2016 bid via a subtle series of social media posts. Clinton has also hired Google executive Stephanie Hannon as chief technical officer for the campaign.

"She's [Clinton] got a lot of really smart, able people advising her in the digital and social space, so I think she's made good personnel choices," said Plouffe. "I know she saw the power of social media when she was secretary of state, so I have a high degree of confidence that she'll have digital and social media at the core of her campaign."

But technology, Plouffe pointed out, is just a tool, albeit a powerful one.

"The most effective communication is personal," he said. "It's a sister talking to a sister. It's a cousin talking to a cousin. It's a friend talking to a friend."

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