Week 9: Cody Patton

The Kreiss, Gueorguieva, and Slotnick readings focused on how Barack Obama was able to successfully use social media to win the 2008 election. Kreiss focused on the network building aspect of the campaign. He defined network building as the creation and maintenance of ties between allies that can use these ties for informational purposes. In order to build these networks the online information channels must push along the campaign’s information. Obama used the Huffington Post and the DailyKos to produce positive spin about his campaign. The Obama campaign was able to create ties with social movement organizations, journalists, and citizens who all worked together to help the campaign gain momentum. This staff did a great job of communicating the campaign through the internet which led to votes on election day.

The Gueorguieva article looked at the advantages and disadvantages of YouTube and MySpace in the 2006 election. Advantages of these sites were that it was a cheap and easy way to access voters. However, they weaken the level of control the campaign has over the information that is being put out there. Since anyone can make an account it is possible for the market to be flooded with incorrect information about the candidate. Gueorguieva correctly argues that in the future there will need to be special staff that are in charge of handle the social media aspect of the campaigns.

The Slotnick article focuses on how candidates use social media for different things. All candidates see that it is a great tool for collecting donations and it is easy to reach a larger audience. However, Romney for example, uses social media to tell a funny story about himself. Other candidates use it as a tool for voters to learn more information about their political beliefs. Finally, MyBarackObama.com was successful because it was designed in a similar manner to that of Facebook. This helped gain support from young voters. Each campaign is different each year, but it is clear that social media websites are going to be influential in the campaign process. Candidates will have to find new ways to utilize the changing technology, and the candidate that can best adapt will have the advantage. It will be interesting to see whether social media can influence the campaigns more that traditional media.

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1 Response to Week 9: Cody Patton

  1. Trippi, Kreiss, Geuorguieva, and Slotnick all implicitly or explicitly explain that they believe a successful campaign is one that provides a seamless combination of online and offline success, or a blent of digital/social and traditional media.

    Trippi says they were thrilled with the “success” of the Sleepless Summer Tour because in their eyes it translated offline, which correlated to offline success. On the other hand, Kreiss states that a major downfall of the Dean campaign was that it was not fluid at all, and that social involvement did not translate into field volunteers/support when they were most needed in Iowa.

    Additionally, Geuorguieva and Slotnick essentially define a successful campaign as one that incorporates social media into it’s larger strategy, or a campaign that is a blend of on and offline strategy.

    Overall, I tend to agree. I don’t see a “more” or “less” dichotomy. I see a continuum of “how.” Traditional and social media provide very different strengths and weaknesses. Each are important and neither should a campaign be willing to sacrifice. They compensate for one another and work beautifully in tandem. Generally speaking, a campaign is probably at a disadvantage with only one and stronger with both.

    In terms of future campaigns, I see them looking at the big picture and recognizing the benefits of using both.

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