Week 7 Response

Personalization on the Internet has become a key way for companies and as Bimber and Davis point out, campaigns.  Eli Pariser discusses in the “The Filter Bubble” how different companies are finding success once they figure out a way to become personalized to individual users.  Websites such as Amazon are personalizing by recommending certain books to individual customers as well as by showing which users had similar preferences.  Campaigns and candidates are personalizing in a bit of a different way.  Since using the Internet to advertise and campaign is fairly new to candidates, similar to websites trying to personalize to users, candidates are in some ways in a race to figure out how to best utilize the Internet in their campaigns.  Candidates first moved toward the Internet as another means of reaching voters because of its low costs and because it was ideal for unfiltered candidate communication.  Wrestler Jesse Ventura for example, who had a low budget campaign, was able to use the Internet to make a website that was more personal for users and answered charges by opponents or the media, and updated supporters on the campaign.  By doing this, he was able to raise a large amount of money and win the Governorship.  John McCain incorporated online donations capabilities into his website and raised $1.4 million during a 3-day period.  His website allowed users to chat with John McCain online if they donated money, this was a way of personalizing to the users while still raising money for his campaign.

My question to the class is whether website personalization for candidates is a good thing or not. The media can portray candidates in certain lights that are not always true.  However personal websites allow candidates to portray themselves any way they want, which may also not be true.

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