In the piece written by Jennifer Steinhauer she touches on how Twitter is changing how politicians communicate with their audience and the speed with which it can be done now. The Obama campaign capitalized on social media in 2008 and the democrats in general were the first to effectively use Twitter as a vehicle for communication, but now Republicans are catching up. In terms of numbers (or followers) Republicans actually now have double what their Democratic counter parts have and on top of that their followers are consistently more active. A major change Twitter has brought is the difference in the time lag of messages. What used to take a day or two with TV spots, email, or mailing lists to fight policies or argue a topic takes no more than a couple minutes with Twitter. As soon as something is said, it can be researched for consistency or accuracy, and rebutted on twitter in less than a few minutes. Both parties have staff specifically to focus on social media and as Steinhauer asserts campaigns and politics will continue to migrate in the direction of more use and integration of social media such as Twitter.
The Lutz reading takes a critical look at the ways Obama integrated social media and online advocacy into his very successful 2008 campaign. He contends that essentially where previously Dean, McCain, and Bush were successful Obama used those same strategies, but in areas they weren’t successful the Obama campaign learned from it and made it successful for them. Some of the interesting strategies they used were gaining support through mobile devices and ensuring that people find the content you want them to find. The cost facts and percentage of read texts versus read email and costs of traditional phone banking or door-to-door work is worthy tactic to note. Also creating URL’s that appear at top of search engines seems like a common sense tactic, but releasing positive videos to combat critical videos is a very smart move. By tagging a video with the same tags as a video that is critical of Obama, the campaign ensures that people who watch something negative about the candidate are given a chance to see something that refutes the information they just saw.
The theme of both of these readings is that campaigns are going to continue to learn from one another and migrate towards more and more use of social media. The key that the successes of Obama’s campaign versus the failures of others is that for social media to work for a candidate is that it must be intertwined and integrated with all the offline work as well. My question for the class is that with both parties now having full time staffs dedicated to social media will we come to the point of overkill where social media presence will end up doing more harm than good?