It has been said that Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign changed politics. The use of social media, specifically to draw attention to a particular candidate and his views, had never been done quite that way before. Could podcasting have an influence on the upcoming 2016 United States Presidential election?
In 2008, Obama’s campaign used Web 2.0 tools to organize supporters, advertise to voters (with videos on YouTube), communicate with constituents, and defend against attacks made by opponents. I cannot help but wonder if podcasting is what will end up being the form of social media that has the most influence on the upcoming 2016 election.
The conversation between the podcaster and the politician brings a sense of humanity to politicians who are most frequently seen in staged photo opportunities, pre-written speeches, and debates where most stick to a few key talking points. They get to show a side of themselves that they might otherwise have to keep under wraps.
When Marc Maron had a conversation with President Barack Obama on Maron’s “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast, people took notice. That episode got an impressive number of downloads, as it should have. This was the first time a sitting United States President was interviewed on a well known podcast. The conversation got very serious, and personal, at times.
This week, the Another Round podcast, hosted by Heben Nigato and Tracy Clayton, interviewed former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Another Round is a Buzzfeed podcast.
While some parts of the interview focused on policy, there were also some amusing moments (including a funny story about a robot that you just have to hear). In the episode, Hillary Clinton came across as a fun person to hang around with. I’ve heard it said that people tend to vote for the candidate they’d most like to have a beer with. Could appearing on this episode of Another Round influence “undecideds” to vote for Hillary Clinton?
The Axe Files is hosted by David Axelrod, founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. In his first episode, he interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders, as the two shared a van that was on the way to a Chicago venue that Sanders was going to speak at.
The conversation between David Axlerod and Bernie Sanders was respectful, insightful, and direct. Bernie Sanders came across as a very likable guy. Being on a podcast could, potentially, make “undecided” voters want to find out more about what Bernie Sanders’ viewpoints are.
When a person listens in on a conversation between a podcast host (or hosts) and a guest, it can feel like an intimate setting. Listeners end up getting to know, and possibly feel somewhat more familiar with, the politician who was interviewed on a podcast. As a result, I think podcasting could end up swaying the outcome of the 2016 election.
Image by Alan O’Rourke on Flickr.