Week 9 Jamie Schwarz

After reading the study by Hargittai/Shaw and the piece by Gueprguieva I found that they synthesized a number of arguments about the impact of internet use on campaigns. One argument that I developed after reading is that the internet is virtually limitless in what it can offer for candidates because of the development of new sites such as youtube or facebook which are user generated (for the most part) and allow for easy expansion.

One part of Gueprguiev’s piece that aligns with my argument is what youtube has been able to offer to candidates. Big budgets are no longer needed in advertising sectors of campaigns if these campaigns can learn to capitalize on cheap, or even free, online campaigning. By isolating youtube as a venue to show aspects of a candidate in an extremely tailored and planned way, campaigns are able to directly affect the people who they are aiming to influence. The limitless part of youtube is that it has gotten to the point where anyone with a video-camera enabled phone can post videos on the go without even having to sit at a computer. Candidates can publish as many videos as they possibly want and these videos can convey and message that they choose.

Hargittai and Shaw find in their study that involvement online has a correlation with actual political involvement in college students. How powerful is the internet if it can distract college students from difficult classloads and attempting to build social capital? The power comes from the fact that students can now gain political knowledge while simultaneously gaining social capital. It is “cool” to follow politicians on Twitter and update your facebook status about what a candidate said during a debate. College students no longer need to actively seek out political information because the internet brings it to their dorm room in a click. Social networking sites play a large part in how effective online campaigning can be, but what other types of sites could further online campaigning even more that haven’t even been invented yet? Howard Dean was able to collect donations online which created the illusion that he was highly supported. What kind of sites could be next?

My question this week for the class is do you personally trust online campaigning? Would you vote for a candidate solely based on what you read online as opposed to watching tv or attending an event?

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4 Responses to Week 9 Jamie Schwarz

  1. emilythibodeau says:

    I do not trust online campaigning without witnessing other campaign strategies, such as print or broadcast media. I think the online aspects of campaigns do not give a complete picture of a candidate and successful online campaigning may not be the sign of a successful leader. Overall, I think it is easier to take information out of context online (such as a short YouTube clip), which may present a candidate as a more viable option than is presented when watching a full debate, for example. Unless individuals are willing to research all candidates and the overall election online, I think it may disadvantage voters to rely on online campaigning only.

  2. alurs says:

    I do trust that the messages that candidates put out online are truly messages they stand behind. The messages a candidate puts online should not differ from the ones they put out in any other medium. However viewers need to be careful that the online website they are looking actually comes from the candidate, because that can often be fabricated. Yet, I do that that voters should use as many mediums as possible to base their vote if they can. Voters should watch broadcast debates and also look at those make outlets online. In a perfect work, voters would use all mediums to assess the candidates. But, using online websites to base your vote alone, is better than basing on nothing.

  3. sargwa1 says:

    I do not trust online campaigning completely. Although the messages that candidates put online are certainly how they wish to be perceived by their audience, that does not mean that they are entirely true. Candidates will say anything online, in order to make themselves appealing to voters and their audience. Many online users could easily believe what they read online without a second thought. Online websites can be a tool voters use when deciding their vote, however it is important to use all mediums to base one’s vote on so that the voter has a variety of sources to base their stance on.

  4. spriel says:

    I think that online campaigning has both pros and cons that determine whether or not it should be trusted. Online campaigning can be a way for candidates to divulge information to reach people that they wouldnt normally reach, or to present facts that might not otherwise be shown. Traditional media outlets can be just as untrustworthy, if not more, than online campaigning. The media has the power to determine what information the public can see. TV programs can be bias and present only one side of an issue, and journalists often choose to display what will be good entertainment, rather than just what will be good news. Through an online campaign, a candidate has the power to determine which messages he or she wants to get across to the public. However, I do think it is important to supplement information that one receives through online campaigning; one should not rely solely on a candidate’s website as a source of information.

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