Week 9 – Emily Thibodeau

Slotnick stresses the powerful uses of social networking sites in campaigns, while Gueorguieva doubts their relative power compared to other campaigning strategies. In “‘Friend’ The President”, Slotnick discusses how an authentic use of social networking sites can have great results for candidates. While many candidates attempt to present the same image on social media sites as they do through the rest of their campaign, there are opportunities to present themselves in unique, site-oriented ways. Overall, the importance of reaching out to social media users in ways that are appropriate to their age group/internet savvy level are shown to be successful. For example, John Edwards implemented a facebook page that was integrated with the rest of his online campaigning, that encouraged individuals to reach out to him via text messaging and facebook messaging, two very common communication methods for college-aged individuals who are the primary Facebook users.

Gueroguieva cautions against a great reliance on sites such as YouTube and MySpace, because of their limits and the ways they can impact a campaign negatively. She highlights the “limited function” of such sites, by noting how these sites are used by a self-selected group of already interested individuals. However, she seems to incorrectly note the main users of YouTube, pointing out that almost all voting age individuals are YouTube users. This seems to be a false assumption, while most may occasionally use YouTube, I think there is likely a greater use pattern by younger individuals. If she had focused more on the ways in which messages on these sites could be targeted to the most applicable groups, I believe she may have found different results.

Overall, both point out the benefits of the low cost to use social networking sites. These allow unknown candidates to have an opportunity, and allow a broad range of web endeavors to be undertaken by all candidates. However, Slotnick focuses on the authenticity of the campaigns, noting that the more successful facebook pages mirror the interaction style of other facebook users, not merely the candidates image and communication style. Gueorguieva points out the struggles with retaining a consistent image on social networking sites, as there is always a threat of Macaca moments being caught by others. What is more important in a campaign, a consistent image across all platforms or a flexibility that changes based on the campaign medium used?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Week 9 – Emily Thibodeau

  1. I think there are two different answers to your question, based upon the two different perspectives involved in political campaigns. I think that presidential candidates, such as Dean and Obama, would consider flexibility to be more important when building a campaign. This allows the nominees to appeal to a number of audiences and, essentially, manipulate their policies and preferences to garner a large amount of support. This used to be more evident when campaigns were not online, as information was not easily passed from one city to the next in order to compare presidential speeches and/or promises.

    However, based on a democratic perspective, or one that is “for the people,” I would say that a consistent image across all platforms is more important. This enforces candidates to state their opinions and not make false promises. Rather, presidential nominees need to make clear their political preferences and then stick to them throughout the duration of their campaigns. This allows for more complete understanding by the American voters and should lead to a more democratic system.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s