That's Not How You Do It Obama

I had high hopes for Barack Obama’s net savvy. But today his campaign blew it. I heard that he announced his candidacy for President today in Springfield, IL, where Lincoln did the same thing almost 150 years ago. I decided to go see the video. I went to Obama’s website and clicked on the video. Turns out it only plays in Internet Explorer. Firefox and Apple users were directed to another link that didn’t work for me. That sucks.

I don’t know what they did today, but it didn’t work. They’ve been using the Brightcove player successfully and I like the stuff they’ve done with that so far. I even embedded an Obama video in one of my earlier posts. But as Jackson pointed out in the comments, the Brightcove players requires Flash 9 and many don’t have it. YouTube might not have the quality of Brightcove, but Jackson never complains about not being able to watch my YouTube videos.

So after being shut out of the video, I decided to play with the website a bit. It let’s you create a profile. That’s pretty neat. It says that they are trying to be inclusive. Anyone can have their own page on Obama’s website. But "MyBarackObama", which is what they are calling the social aspects of the website, wouldn’t load just now. Today’s a big day, they are getting a lot of attention. It’s not acceptable to be experiencing server overload.

So then I saw that they let you write your own blog. That’s smart too. But what if you already have one? No way to import my political blog posts into my profile. The people who are most likely to blog for Obama already have blogs. It’s silly to shut them out.

But despite all the bungles today and they made a bunch, I do think Obama’s team gets the net. They just have some work to do to get it right. The Obama website is certainly a lot better than Hillary’s. So is Edward’s for that matter. Both Obama and Edwards have links to flickr, youtube, facebook, and myspace pages on their home page. That’s smart.

My friends who are deeply involved in politics tell me that the Democratic campaign is going to be about money, big money, and that Hillary has the big advantage and it may be over before we even get to the primaries. I am saddened to hear that. Because although we could play the big money game, I hate it. It’s not democratic. It’s not of the people, by the people, and for the people. The net is. I hope the Net plays an even bigger role in 2008 than it did in 2004. And if it does, Obama, Hillary, and Edwards have work to do.