Obama Tumblr page reboots Web-friendly campaigning

Obama Tumblr feed launches this week, about one year before the 2012 election. Can the president's campaign, including this new Obama Tumblr page, capture the attention of youth voters as it did in 2008?

Susan Walsh/AP
President Barack Obama greets patrons as he stops for a snack at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. Obama is on a three-day trip to the West Coast.

While the Republican presidential primary rolls on, President Obama's reelection team doubled down on online campaigning. The president launched an Obama Tumblr page on Monday, a sign that he plans to again turn to the Internet for support.

Unfamiliar with Tumblr? The online service fits somewhere between the brevity of Twitter and reflection of a personal blog. People upload posts – often pictures relating to a particular theme – and Tumblr makes it easy for viewers to skim, share, and comment.

"There are lots of reasons we’re excited to be launching the Obama 2012 campaign’s new Tumblr today," says the first Obama Tumblr post. "But mostly it’s because we’re looking at this as an opportunity to create something that’s not just ours, but yours, too. We’d like this Tumblr to be a huge collaborative storytelling effort—a place for people across the country to share what’s going on in our respective corners of it and how we’re getting involved in this campaign to keep making it better."

The Obama team welcomes people to submit their own campaign stories, using Tumblr's contributor tools: "You can send us a few paragraphs about how your latest phonebanking gig went or why you’re in for 2012." The page will also accept photos, questions, jokes, charts – whatever you think the Obama campaign might like to share with supporters. Screeners will then sift through the submitted material and publish their favorites.

"There will be trolls among you: this we know," says the inaugural post. "We ask only that you remember that we’re people—fairly nice ones—and that your mother would want you to be polite."

While submitted questions might be answered by the president, he will not oversee the Tumblr page. "He’s got a fair number of non-Tumblr things to do on any given day," jokes an entry from Tuesday.

Obama used social media to great effect in 2008. Before the election, the then-senator had 1.3 million Facebook supporters and the No. 1 Twitter account. He now enjoys 23 million Facebook "likes" and 10 million Twitter followers.

Interested in Tumblr? The Christian Science Monitor runs its own Tumblr feed, replete with photos, peeks behind the headlines, and links to Monitor stories. Check it out at: http://csmonitor.tumblr.com/

For more on how technology intersects daily life, follow Chris on Twitter @venturenaut.

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