Leading into this election day in the United States, the theme of “reaching across the aisle” has been sounded by both presidential candidates on many occasions. Based on this, it seems worth reviewing two apparently disparate offerings that have found common ground in an unexpected manner: whatever differences may exist, Obama.com and Military.com have successfully reconciled theirs by becoming state-of-the-art examples of Web 2.0 implementations. (Unfortunately, John McCain’s Web presence hasn’t been nearly as effective or noteworthy, so it’s not featured here. It’s amazing in this day and age to see a site that is so purely “push,” especially in politics.)

Both Obama.com and Military.com deliver inspiration from their architectures, and focus ruthlessly on users and communities.

Military.com takes full advantage of the structure of the military, dividing the site into Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard, while also providing battalions their own sites and creating the ability to find buddies you might have known through your rotations.

Military bloggers have been some of the most remarkable over the past few years, and the people behind Military.com have gone to great lengths to recruit the best.

Meanwhile, on Obama.com, you find the prototype all other campaigns should follow for Web 2.0 integration and leveraging the audience. From fundraising to groups to parties to notices to discussions, it’s all here, but all driven to the endgame of the election. It’s an amazing technical tour de force, coupled with an empowering freedom and diversity of both thought and action for supporters of many different stripes.

What truly unites these efforts is their ability to tie the virtual world to the real world. Soldiers on the ground and community organizers in cities and towns are both more involved because of their respective sites.

And this orientation toward the people, and not the technology or the brand or the business model, is what sets these sites apart.

Focus on the people — it’s an appropriate message for election day.

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.