Ben HalperinWeek 9

Reading Geuorguieva’s and Kreiss’ pieces, in conjunction with each other, was fascinating. The difference in implementation of Internet resources in the election cycle is marked. Geuorguieva’s writing describes how MySpace and YouTube were used, specifically during the 2006 election cycle. It was noted that, at that point, adults still largely relied on television for news. At the same time, however, she states how Internet use has increased greatly since 1996, and will only continue to do so. The article continues to discuss how candidates were aware of, at least during the 2006 election cycle, how at least 60 million potential voters used the Internet. Also, Geuorguieva explains the many potential benefits that using YouTube and MySpace can give a candidate. These sites were used to promote the candidates, show advertisements, promote voter registration, recruit campaign volunteers and achieve higher public exposure. What can be considered most important, though, is how these websites can dispel information and spread the messages at a much faster and less expensive rate than previously thought possible. At the same time, she discusses potential problems, which include how voters need to look up specific terms on the sites to find the information. Kreiss’ piece demonstrates how use of the technology expanded with Barack Obama’s run for the presidency just two years later. The use of bloggers and more discrete sources of information sharing amplify the effectiveness of the Internet.

Kreiss studied the Obama campaign and how they would use blogs to create a buzz for the candidate. The goal, as explained by Kreiss, was often to plant a story with a blog, and hope it gets picked up by the more influential political blogs, such as Politico or DailyKos, then a commentator such as Keith Olbermann would report on it, then creating a mainstream news cycle. By planting news or events in such a manner, they are cultivating a more organic, and seemingly grassroots, method for publicity. This way, supporters, or the public in general, will not be as skeptical as what can be seen as a shameless plug. Kreiss also explained how the use of YouTube became more specified with blogs. The campaign would show blogs specific videos to post, which would then trickle through the entire news cycle to the general public. This method is more organic and helps alleviate the problem of making specific searches that was brought up by Geuorguieva. However, similar issues that we have discussed in terms of strategic action still exist. If a planted news source does not go all the way through the news cycle as the staffers envisioned, a story would remain in the blogs. Because the readers of these blogs are likely to be politically active and decidedly liberal, it is likely that their decision would have already been made in the general election. On the other hand, such tactics, if they only reach the blogs, would still help people make their decisions for the primaries. In addition, Kreiss specifically mentioned how the Obama campaign went out of the way to make the bloggers feel important by giving them exclusive access to information such as Obama’s birth certificate. Such exclusivity allows the blog to gain notoriety and make the spreading of such information appear more organic. It is clear that the world of electronic campaigning is dynamic, but where do they go from here? Are these changes done, or will campaigns find new ways to seemingly create buzz organically? How do you see the place of bloggers in this landscape changing?

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2 Responses to Ben HalperinWeek 9

  1. anishaa1 says:

    I think you have done a good job of explaining Kreiss and Geuorguieva’s articles. They have brought out certain tools of social media and shown how they have effectively contributed to campaigning. You make a good point about organic buzz is created and if the landscape will allow for changes. I think that the blogging and social media environment is continually changing. All of these tools also feed off of each other because of their unique abilities to integrate with each other. For example, people that use WordPress are able to log in using Facebook or Twitter. I also think that the nuance with location oriented applications will change the blogging and campaign landscape. I don’t think that people will stop their creativity- ever- and there will continually be new ways to create buzz organically.

  2. jbschwarz says:

    I think you did a great job of synthesizing the arguments that the writers made and brought up a number of good points that they made. In particular, you focused on the plantation of ideas in blogs by campaigners. You mentioned that this is a more organic method and I definitely agree that it appears that way, but if you just read the information a little bit more closely it becomes pretty clear what ideas or messages are placed in those blogs on purpose. I guess its much better to use user-generated blogs to spread ideas then outright versions of campaigning but I think it also makes it much harder to trust political blogs in general. To answer the question, I see bloggers as important assets to internet campaigning because as you said a lot of politically active people read these blogs or rely on them for information. Bloggers will continue to further their involvement in campaigns because they have found a way to voice their opinion to a large amount of people for practically no cost. The “free” aspect of blogs is part of why they are so successful and will continue to expand in the future. It will be interesting to see where the future of online campaigning goes, especially in terms of youtube, facebook, or blogs. Also, I think that campaigns will find more ways to create buzz organically basically out of necessity. The Dean campaign showed America the importance of understanding how to use a newly invented tool and hopefully future campaigns will understand that organically created messages are much more effective then those which are obviously planted.

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