It’s no secret that Barack Obama revolutionized the political campaign. He used the internet and social media in a way that no candidate ever had before. And it paid off.

Previously, presidential candidates looked to corporations and wealthy individuals who could make $2,000+ contributions. This isn’t what Obama did. Instead, he reached out to regular people like us using tools like Facebook, Twitter and my.barackobama.com. By the end of the campaign, he had raised $122 million in individual contributions less than $200, making a record-setting total of $264.5 million. McCain raised $88.2 million.

Now that Obama has paved the way for online campaigns, there’s no going back. A candidate will never succeed without posting on a blog or communicating via Facebook. I’m not saying that Obama won solely because of his use of social media, but it certainly helped. Social networks allowed him to connect, literally, with millions of people that he wouldn’t have reached otherwise.

It will be interesting to see where we will go from here. Will these tools have as big of an impact once everyone is using them? Only time will tell. But anyone running for election in 2012 better put their thinking caps on – they have big virtual shoes to fill.

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