US President Barack Obama launched his reelection campaign with a social media barrage Monday, turning once again to the online tools that helped propel him to the White House three years ago.
Obama, 49, announced his 2012 candidacy with a message on Twitter, a status update on his Facebook page and an email blast to his millions of supporters, all of which provided a link to his BarackObama.com campaign website.
"Today, we're filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign," the Democrat told the 7.28 million followers of the @barackobama account on Twitter.
The Twitter message, Barack Obama page on Facebook and email all urged voters to "Say that you're in" and provided a link to barackobama.com where they could provide an email address and a zip code.
The website invites supporters to make a donation to the campaign, volunteer and offers a new range of branded merchandise, including 2012 badges, bumper stickers, water bottles and T-shirts.
The new campaign logo featured on the items includes the celebrated image of a rising sun used in 2008, but this time nestled in the "0" of 2012.
An "Are You In?" application on Facebook lets members of the social network write a message of support for Obama's candidacy and invite friends and family to do the same.
"I am so IN!," wrote Facebook user and Obama backer Debra Wilhoite.
"Of course I am in just like I was in 2008!" said another, Elizabeth Boergert.
Obama also released a two-minute YouTube video that did not feature the candidate himself speaking but a diverse range of supporters explaining why he should be given another four years in the White House in the November 2012 elections.
Obama relied heavily on the Internet during his 2008 presidential campaign for organizing, fundraising and communicating and Monday's launch made it clear he plans on doing so again, building a grassroots campaign online.
In his message to supporters, Obama said "the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you -- with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends.
"The work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today," Obama said, adding that he was counting on his supporters "forging a new organization that we'll build together in cities and towns across the country.
"We'll start by doing something unprecedented: coordinating millions of one-on-one conversations between supporters across every single state, reconnecting old friends, inspiring new ones to join the cause, and readying ourselves for next year's fight," Obama said.
Nancy Scola, an associate editor at TechPresident.com, a blog which covers technology and politics, said Obama's reelection campaign announcement was "baked through with the spirit of a social, collective effort."
"Are You In?" -- could be the tag line for any number of geo-social start-ups," Scola said in a blog post.
"Clearly, Team Obama is really hoping to drive home the message that the 2012 campaign is meant to be a group project," Scola said, noting complaints that "the Obama presidency has been one run without the sort of grassroots collaboration implied by the '08 campaign."
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