Week 9 – Caitlin Spinweber

This weeks readings focused on the new, successful age of Internet campaigning.  How is it that Barak Obama used the Internet and social media to successful win the White House, why was he the most successful to date, etc?  Allison Slotnick touched upon the fact that the Internet allows for candidates to speak to people who were previously uninvolved in politics – and the Obama campaign recognized that.  When looking at the 6 major candidates for the 2008 primaries, it was found that “the vast majority … have incorporated the interactive social networking resources into their larger Internet strategies by featuring prominent links on their official homepages.”  (Slotnick, 258).  Thus showing that Facebook is more than just a minor tool in the race to the Whitehouse.  Kreiss, on the otherhand, emphasized the “networked public sphere.”  Using a network of people to reach the news media directly.  Therefore, they essentially cut down the communication line to a minimal number of people.  Information we directly from Obama/the Obama campaign to the new media … no middle man.

The revolutionary usage of media and the Internet brings an interesting segregation of target audiences within a campaign.  There is a specified way to reach younger voters (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and then there is another specified – more traditional – way to reach older voters.  The 2008 Obama Campaign did a great job of identifying those two populations, figuring out how to reach them, and emphasizing enough importance on BOTH groups when deciding communication tactics.  Obama’s success was due in large part to his relation to the younger generations.  The 18 – 25 year olds that normally may not care about, Obama picked out and campaigned to them.  With that he was able to incorporate the new generation of campaign technology (the internet and social media) while maintaining his dedication to traditional methods.

This is my question to the class, however, given the different age groups and preferred method of acquiring news/campaign updates, is it smart for campaigns to have two tracks for reaching voters (the Internet & social media vs. traditional news media), or is it possible to merge the two and simultaneously use each side to reach each age group?  In other words, is it possible to reach older voters with a Facebook driven campaign or a younger voter with a news media driven campaign?

 

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About cnspin12

Comm 488 student
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1 Response to Week 9 – Caitlin Spinweber

  1. staceync says:

    I think you have raised a very interesting question. It is smart for politicians to utilize both methods (traditional news media, and the Internet) in order to reach a broad demographic base of people. I think that in the future, merging the two simultaneously to reach each age group is an interesting idea. However, if we did that now, we would miss the amount of people in various age groups that use one or the other. In the future, it is definitely possible to reach older voters with an Internet and social media driven campaign but since social media is still relatively new, it would not be as successful. Currently, it is best to use both methods in order to reach out to a wide demographic base of people since not everyone is using social media. The one main benefit of social media is that it allows for more engaging campaigns and it allows for people to communicate directly with others about a common topic. This topic is continuously being explored and researched to see what exactly users of social media look for in a campaign. Once that is found out and the generation of social media gets older, I think being able to merge the traditional approach and the Internet approach in order to reach a wide range of people.

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