Hillary Clinton, Yahoo Answers & the Power of Social Media

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Hillary Clinton has turned to Yahoo Answers, the social media driven Q&A experience from Yahoo, to look for some ideas on how normal Americans would improve health care in the United States.

I find this quite interesting as not only a campaigning tool but also in choice of media.

Senator Clinton asked her question 22 hours ago and already has over 24,000 responses (with 12 days of Answering remaining). I cannot think of another form of media which would allow the same kind of user interaction AND approachability that Yahoo Answers brings to the table.

You won’t find that on CNN, radio, townhall meetings or 99.9% of the Internet.

Yahoo Answers dominates not only the Q&A site market with a 96% market share, but also dominates social media in terms of community, 17.9 million users according to comScore, and its hodgepodge of lifestyles amongst such members.

Sure, the Democratic Presidential candidate could post a similar question on a political blog, a social news site, or even MySpace, but what Yahoo Answers brings to the table is diversity.

Additionally, the content generated by this question alone is amazing. In less than one day this question by Senator Clinton on health care has resulted in an estimated 1,250 pages of responses.

Can you think of another online outlet which has the member base to produce so much content in such a short amount of time?

Digg couldn’t. Wikipedia couldn’t. Nor will they ever, their exclusivity assures them of such limitations.

And that’s the magic behind Yahoo Answers.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Dorothy Lenz

    Dear Hillary,
    I think that doctors, for whatever reason, have a very egotistical viewpoint of themselves. There are very few professions where you can be knowledgeable and experienced and charge as exhorbitant prices as doctors do. My suggestion would be to do all possible to promote naturopathic doctors and their solutions, and to have any health care plans cover them. I would also ensure that drugs are not given out so freely, as they lead to side effects and more trouble. The answer is not always a pill. I think a major issue with health care is nutrition, and that means looking at other areas- ie. the major lines of food sources into American grocery stores with plenty of sugar and preservatives and toxins. I think that less regulation rather than more would be good. Thanks for asking.
    Dorothy Lenz

  • It must NOT be a government run or managed program– government should limit itself to oversight in the same manner as the SEC.

    Government can establish a blue ribbon committee to figure out how to consolidate
    health care data, patients and providers, to utilize today’s technology

  • Ellie T.

    Individual states need to better manage their state assistance programs. An outstanding example is SAGA in CT has given their members 2 new benefits effective 1/1/07. One is vision care that entitles you to a standard eye exam, basic frames and standard lenses. I had my exam but need bifocals and the state won’t pay for them. THEN WHY EVEN GIVE ME AN EYE EXAM??? Just waste the $100 for the doctor and let me walk around as blind as I was in 2006.

  • Paul E. Tedder

    Give the people the same medical coverage that the Senators and Congressmen have at the same price they have to pay for it. Think on that! from Paul E. Tedder–North Carolina

  • Addie Hudson

    Ms. Cilton you are one of the best there is to me it is time to get this place in tic because the other one have put us some where we should not be , now there’s nothing wrong with happen someone when their are in a bad place but for 4 years let that is enough of that so we need you to get this going in the right way.

  • Addie Hudson

    We as people need health care that we can get because if you are not rich or in a job where you have health care you are hit so yes place help us with this, a lot of us do not have a job or on the state and if you know anyone that have this it is bad so we need very good health care not something that the doctor just stand there and ask you what is wrong.

  • rob

    I think health care should be like it is in Canada. The people pay more taxes but all they have to do when they are sick is go to hospital or doctor and its all taken care of. But many people in the medical profession wont like it cause they cant charge the outragous amounts of money as they are doing now, so they wont make as much money. I always thought we as americans in the great melting pot were supposed to help our fellow americans any way we can but thats not what its all about. Its all big business!!!

  • On a side note – I’d hate to be the one responsible for weeding through the 25k+ responses. I guess the bigger question is; will she actually be reading these answers and taking action or is it just a PR stunt? That could really be a factor is how much participation she gets down the road from social media.

  • Good point Cameron, and great follow up question for Yahoo.

    My guess is that as Yahoo Answer members vote and “Star” certain answers which become the most popular, Clinton’s staff (interns) would review the Starred answers and ideally those would lead to some sort of action through the Clinton camp.

    If so, then yeah, this would be a success.

    If not then you’re right about there being some effect on the use of social media in such a hot spotlight, and its effectiveness based upon reputation and agenda.

  • Lynne D

    Dear Senator Clinton,

    We need a single payer system. Sheila Khuel, a California state representative, authored SB840 about 4 or 5 years ago. You can find it simply by doing a search on “SB840 CA”. This bill made it through both houses and all the necessary committees, including the financial committee. After years of hard work and the support of both the Assembly and the Senate, it went to the Governers desk. He promptly vetoed the bill, calling it socialized medicine. He also raised $4 million in campaign financing from the HMO’s. And now he has come up with a health care program that is literally worse than what we have, which is nothing.

    Please research SB840 and see of you can come up with something similar.

    Lynne Ducharme

  • Larry Anderson

    Dear Hillary, When you look for some way to help Americans children,please think to look at the Parents. Social decline I believe started with the isuance of Suplimental Security Income which originally was to substitute for no or low income.It has now go to a point where a single Mother of 4 makes more on S.S.I. than the regular worker. I think it would be far more productive to furnish Daycare for the parents .Give the Parents time to find work for a specific time and then review thier situation .In my opinion it has got severly out of control. What would happen if people on S.S.I. had to take random drug test to keep eligability? I’m sure there would be a lot cut off.Also the Parents are good at signing thier children up for thier own checks which by the parents jokingly are refered to as thier Kids Crazy Checks. They are teaching thier Children how to retire on S.S.I. at a small age. S.S.I. is a social problem that needs carefull scrutiny. I’m not saying it’s not a good program ,but the abuse is enormous I’m sure. It helps support a lot of Drug enabling.

  • sergio gonzalez

    Dear Mrs.Clinton
    What is the benefit of buying a Health Ins.policy if the Ins. co. (blue cross & blue shield) uses right away their unfair terminology of the assesment to a non profitable claim and becomes labeled “pre-condition ” within 12 months of policy being effective and so for the rest of future claims everything is applied to the first denial .I recently have being robbed blind
    by this Health Ins. co. and left with a hospital and doctors bills with an amount close to $28,000.00 plus whatever they charged me in advance for the 6 months policy.
    Only (you) the government could forbid all ins.companies from using the term “pre-condition” to rob us . Also as for the 100 plus conditions of covering medical charges , in reality they act like magicians to our eyes, making us believe that we have good coverage until we find out otherwise.
    If your intentions are to help us, may I suggest to curb their way of doing bussines to put big buck in their pockets .There are many factors
    concerning this big problem .number one is that hospitals,ins.cos. ,pharmaceutical cos. are wery greedy.
    Thank you for your attention and time reading this lines. God keep you safe and bless you always.

  • Beverly G. Andrus

    Senator Clinton – Thank you for asking this quesiton through Yahoo. I hope that the answers will help guide you to an effective Health Care Policy. Please revisit the plan you came up with when you served as First Lady. That plan was highly criticized by the President’s opposition, so clearly it must have some merit. I have served as a Medicare Counselor for two years, during the hectic time of the introduction of the Medicare Prescription Drug progam. That program is particularly flawed with unnecessary complexity, the coverage cap, and inconsistent pricing of prescription drugs. The same prescription and dosage can be as low as $5.00 with one plan and as high as $80.00 with a different plan. Pharmaceutical companies need to be controlled and regulated to prevent price gouging. The suggestions that you look at what works in other countries, and that doctors serve in public clinics have merit. Thanks again and good luck to you.

  • Dave Valant

    I sure miss the yahoo Discuss option…it was far better than this very sluggish program.

  • Jake Lockley

    Wisdom of Crowds or throwing out ideology in order to pander to the swing voters? Didn’t they do this in the 90’s by polling subarbanites using marketing techniques to determine domestic and foreign policy?


  • We should have one nationwide health care system. It should be very affordable. Alot of laws need to be changed. My husband and I witnessed a slapping in a New Jersey nursing home. I reported it to ombudsman and others. They investigated it found nothing and that same person is still working their ready to slap another person. Lawyers are ripping people off left and right My 95 year old friend had to pay over 21,000 for me to get guardianship. Too much money and the court system lets it go by. Nursing homes have bad urine smells and no reason for this problem. They charge alot of money and they do little for the resident. The ombudsman should be fired they are no dam good. They just want the lawyers to get rich over the elderly people. Just not fair. Our world is really messed up.

  • Senator Clinton

    One thought I have for the housing problems would be to bring back mortgage interest deductions for primary residences on income taxes. At least till the housing and subprime problems are out the way. Not a top ecnomic person but I would think it would help.

    I also would like when you talk about the higer income tax rate on incomes of 200,000 and above that you always remind people that it would help the middle and lower incomes in social programs or maybe even a tax cut for them. The middle and lower income will use this savings and spend for other things , which will drive the economy upward !!!

  • Senator Clinton

    Please excuse me for for my mistake on the mortgage interest rate for I was not thinking apparently when I made that statement. I know we get that for deduction now.

  • Charles R. Laney

    My wife has been on SSI for the last year and a half , now that i hav become disabled , all her benifits are being withdrawn. She has MS and needs to havesomeone come in to take care of her. I am not able to because i have a bad heart siezures and narcolepsy + other problems.why dont we have a program that will cover the needs of this group of citizens.My wife is 50 years old and does not qualify for disability. She missed it by 2 point because he was so sick yhe last 10 years and did not work much.
    What they are doing is forceing me to take care of her and sending me to an early grave
    We have 30 days to find a program that will cover all and their is none
    Charles R. Laney

  • Aracelis Arroyo

    I suupport you and hope to see you at the White House