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4.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet Insightful
I found this short book to be interesting, informative, and insightful. This book is a good starting point for someone interested in social media and politics or business.
Published 17 months ago by CollegeGuy

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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All fluff, no substance
I can't believe that I paid money for this book. I'm strongly considering finding Ms. Harfoush's PO Box, returning this book to author, and seeking a refund. Or sending her a copy of Lester Wunderman's Being Direct.

I think I should preface my comments by saying that I work in the online marketing industry, was impressed by the Obama campaign, and was looking...
Published on July 12, 2009 by Jacob Peterson


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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All fluff, no substance, July 12, 2009
This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
I can't believe that I paid money for this book. I'm strongly considering finding Ms. Harfoush's PO Box, returning this book to author, and seeking a refund. Or sending her a copy of Lester Wunderman's Being Direct.

I think I should preface my comments by saying that I work in the online marketing industry, was impressed by the Obama campaign, and was looking forward to an interesting read highlighting the strategy and tactics behind the revolutionary Obama campaign. I found nothing. I found abysmally little insight. The strategies did not make it past basic direct marketing. The book so completely lacks any details that it reads like a high school "How I spent my summer vacation" essay punctuated with smiley faces and hearts over the i's.

For example, take chapter 13 Analytics and Online Media, this chapter runs 6 pages. The social media section can be summarized "Obama campaign spent a lot with google, we got a 15 to 1 ROI". Though what is ROI here? Donations? Votes? Engagement? Harfoush doesn't say. The equally short analytics section mentions the "campaign embraced a philosophy of constant iteration by using the data they collected to instantly adjust and course correct". Course correct what or how, she never mentions. Results of this iteration she never mentions. Did they improve campaigns X percent? Did they find any voter insight? Did they discover that Ohioans love Nafta related content? We'll never know. To what level or detail they tracked or course corrected she never mentions. She claims that "building flexibility and agility into internal processes" could allow companies to evolve and meet consumer needs despite the fact it runs contrary to their philosophy. In fact, the clients I have worked with in online marketing appear to be vastly more sophisticated than the Obama campaign judging by the examples in this book. This chapter, an interesting and thriving field in direct marketing it even has its own cool conference graphing social patterns, is so shallow I can't imagine a High School English teacher would have found it acceptable.

Another treat, the Text Messaging and Mobile chapter includes these gems as takeaways: "Always let users opt in, Create a conversation, and Engagement to Go". Always let users opt-in, this has been an industry standard for years, and frankly in the mobile space I wouldn't be surprised if non-opt communications are illegal for SMS. It has the same problems fax marketing had 30 years ago, it costs subscribers to receive them! Of course you need to get them to opt in, you're actually going to cost them money not merely inconvenience. Create a conversation, nothing new or novel there. Engagement to Go is summed up like so "With the rise of mobile applications and smartphones, new opportunities will emerge for organizations to provide value-added services for consumers in the real world. With increasingly sophisticated devices being released in the market, mobile technology will play an important role in upcoming political elections". Wow. Incredible insight.

There are many other problems: the layout makes it hard to read, also-ran feeling to the narration, aggrandization of fundamental techniques that companies have been using for years ("The last element of hypersegmentation was donation history" she equates not emailing subscribers who can't donate any more "hypersegmenation", blech), etc. I think I'll just stop here. If you're a marketing professional or work in social media do yourself a favor, and avoid this book like the plague.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Substance, October 11, 2009
This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
The author, Rahaf Harfoush, has written an inside perspective of Obama's "brand identity" through social media during his landslide victory last November. It's filled with a lot of fancy sounding verbage, but the book reads like something a college freshman would compose during a frantic all-nighter. Professor Underwood gives her a solid D.

The truth of the matter is, Obama would've won easily, even if he'd never heard of Twitter. He had the election in the bag by the time he first appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.

I'm not saying social media isn't important; however, this book's analysis of its relationship in getting Obama elected is of little substance. I can think of a half dozen books that are more relevent on the subject, without using the Obama hype. If you're looking for some 5 star books on the subject, check out Dan Schawbel's Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success. Other worthy efforts: Erik Qualman's Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business, Lon Safko's The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success & Brian Solis' Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR.

Other authors who really know what they're talking about with social media include Shel Israel and Clara Shih.

This book is too self-serving to have any real credibility; Harfoush may pass the course, but barely.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shows how Obama really drove voters to the box, January 17, 2010
This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
For a none American this book confirmed my worst fears about the popularist circus that has become The US Presidential Election. If you like Obama and think he won the election because he's different, don't read this book. It is however, a fascination look at how the Obama machine managed to use social media to it's maximum effect, learning from the mistakes of their predecessors. This is an excellent book for marketers and businesses who want to learn how to use new media to drive people their way.

Be wary however of some grossly lacking editing (the book is riddled with mistakes, even in some headings). It also degrades into a juvenile high-school-journal-feel in the second half so if time is precious just rip through the first. It's an easy read if you accept the errors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet Insightful, January 21, 2013
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I found this short book to be interesting, informative, and insightful. This book is a good starting point for someone interested in social media and politics or business.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What?, April 30, 2011
This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
More crap for the left, most of these reviews are from "friends" of the author. This was a wast of print and paper.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, March 31, 2013
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This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
When i first started reading this book it was because of my thesis and because after listening to Rahaf in a conference she gave in my country. I felt inspired because of how people that are so young can achieve so much. So I started reading the book one day at 8:30 am and as the day went by I told to myself "okay, just one more chapter" and chapter by chapter i repeated the same, until 23:00 arrived and i was in the last chapter of the book.

It is an awesome book. Really easy to ready to any person. People that have the know-how of how a campaign works or people that have no idea of how a campaign works. This book is so explanatory that it makes the reader feel very intelligent and confident of the knowledge he or she is getting. This is because, this is a narration of a experience and how a person saw how her team worked in each area.

In matters of content it has the right amount of definitions and explanations of each topic she talks about. It is highly recommended to the people that is interested in reading a book that can give you knowledge, it is fun to read, and most important it is easy to read. Also, for the people that is interested in Social Media and politics it is a great book, because it shows you the importance of Social Networks nowadays in everything and how you should use them.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All Politics is Social, June 24, 2009
This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
Among the things helped Obama win the national election last fall were the campaign's savvy use of social media.
Author Rahaf Harfoush says the campaign's success resulted from refinement--not invention. The team improved on social media tools to build a scalable organization with national reach. The hub of the campaign's communications was the web[...]. The MyBO web site allowed users to create events, exchange information, raise funds, and connect with voters nearby. More than 3 million people created an account on MyBO so they could upload contacts from their Outlook and Gmail address books and invite their extended social network to join. They created special interest groups like Electricians for Obama, and they organized more than 200,000 offline events.
Supporters from across the country could log in and write a note of encouragement to precinct captains and volunteers, thanking them for their hard work.
Howard Dean's presidential campaign was notable for its online fund raising success, yet was unable to convert online enthusiasm into actual votes, Harfoush says. When the Obama camp built their online grassroots movement, they ensured that online organizing translated into offline action.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Overview of the Campaign, the Tools and the People, August 10, 2009
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This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

In 185 pages, the book offers a well-written, engaging account of what it was like to work on the campaign in the new media group. The author's personal, first-hand account was interesting in and of itself. But she also filled the book with short personal profiles of others who worked in the new media group and I found each story interesting and even charming. And, I was very interested to discover the people and ideas behind things like the logo/print design or the [...]

The book also offers good, practical advice on how to use social media to help build a brand and lead to action. It isn't intended to be a how-to book, but includes enough facts and examples to be very helpful. e.g., how much they spent on on-line advertising across different channels; how many people participated in specific on-line events.

Engaging, informative and entertaining, I'm recommending "Yes We Did" to anyone interested in the campaign and in how to emulate some of their success using social media.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anyone looking to build a case through social media, July 21, 2009
This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
Anyone looking to build a case through social media should check this out. The entire nonprofit industry (and by that I include the education, healthcare, churches, charities, etc) watched with marvel the way the Obama campaign used social media to raise money and build support. This book offers a useful ``how we did'' guide that so many will want to follow in the future.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YES SHE DID!, June 13, 2009
This review is from: Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Paperback)
Rahaf's "Yes We Did" is required reading for three reasons: it's a clear and hype-free primer on social media, it's a well told story of the most important political event of our generation, and it's an amazing tale of how this extraordinarily gutsy woman changed the direction of her own life through her internship with the Obama campaign. Full disclosure: Rahaf is a friend and a colleague. The night of the election I was in Toronto with Rahaf's parents watching the results on TV and twittering and emailing with Rahaf live from Grant Park. Her participation in the process made the Obama win more personal for me - it was her victory too.

This is Rahaf's first book and I hope it is just the beginning of her writing career. He style is right in line with the values of the campaign she is describing: honest, authentic, open and always respectful of those around her.

Read the book, and keep your eye out for more from Rahaf.
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Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand
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