Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 Presidential election was hailed as a landmark moment in the history of American politics for being the first time an African-American Presidential candidate rose to victory. Lost in the shuffle of that incredible story however was the revolutionary way the Obama campaign utilized social media and the Web to rally and organize supporters outside the political mainstream and the financial elite.

Barbara Sharief: A Tale of New Media Success

When it comes to using the Internet and all of its various myriad components, from social media and websites to chat rooms and blogs, few politicians could rival the wave of momentum built by Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief. Mayor Sharief, has engaged her constituency in very unique and direct ways that have enhanced her vivid and accessible online portrait.

Whether Facebook posts or Twitter updates, press releases and video appearances, Barbara Sharief has created a variety of unique content that transcends the canned and predictable photo ops and puff pieces associated with most politicians today.

Instagram As Signpost

Whereas most political figures, be they governors or presidents, city councillors or state legislators, are stuck in the “safe” and “playing not to lose” mindset of media content distribution and creation, Mayor Sharief is a very “hands-on” practitioner of the social media arts. The Babara Sharief Instagram page, for example, illustrates her down home and accessible style with a variety of friendly and illustrative photographs that blend her professional appearances with standard and casual goings-on about town.

Facebook The Way It Was Meant to Be

Her Facebook page combines video clips of appearances on news shows and press conferences with photos from her philanthropic endeavors and other public appearances. Added to these standard issue political image-building content items are her family photos of recent vacations or evenings out with her kids to enjoy dinner. The combination of the personal with the professional is what makes Mayor Sharief’s content so immediately appealing. Her Facebook page also connects her with her fans and constituents by highlighting hot new restaurants, award winners in small business sectors and various charitable causes.

Her smile is natural. Her words are well-chosen without feeling scripted and safe. It is this sincerity which has led her to two straight election victories in the Broward County Mayoral races.

The Future of Barbara Sharief’s Political Career

Who knows what the future holds for Barbara Sharief? Whether or not she runs for a state or federal office, one thing is true: Ms. Sharief’s handle on digital media creation and her fluid sense of confidence combined with a natural sincerity make her a textbook study on how to build a digital presence in an age where so many politicians don’t know the business end of a smartphone app from a rotary dial handset.