Week 10

This weeks readings discussed the importance of reaching out to a wide demographic audience in order to engage users with a campaign. It is evident that campaigns must reach out via many media in order to reach a wide demographic of people. Both articles by Nielsen and Lutz, illustrate the importance of using the Internet, email, and phones in order to increase civic engagement.

The Mundane Internet Tools, Mobilizing Practices, and the Coproduction of Citizenship in Political Campaigns reading by Nielsen discusses the important kinds of information and communication technologies that engage citizens to get involve with politics. Nielsen argues that specific mundane Internet tools are used in much more depth with engaging citizens than specialized tools and emerging tools.  Nielsen theorizes for Internet assisted activism that allows for the coproduction of citizenship.  Nielsen believes that emerging technologies do create hype for candidates and can help raise funds for their campaigns. However, they do not lead to civic action and mobilizations. To understand his theory further, the best example is the Howard Dean Campaign. In the Howard Dean Campaign, he utilized the Internet to interact with votes. However, we read that although it appeared he had been winning, he ended up losing. This helps demonstrate Nielsen’s point that mundane internet tools are used much more in-depth and when people call and email votes, they motivate people more and voters become more civically engaged with the campaign. In the end, when candidates provide a wide variety of Internet tools, the campaign is much more elaborate and effective. It is still unknown, which is the most beneficial way to use new technologies in order to engage voters.

On the other hand, The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit by Monte Lutz, discusses the ways in which the Obama campaign utilized the Internet. From thoroughly looking at the Obama Campaign, Lutz found that by starting early, building to scale, innovating where necessary, making it easy to find, picking where you want to play, channeling online enthusiasm into specific targeted activities, and by integrating online advocacy into every element in the campaign, you will do a better job of engaging voters. In addition, Lutz presented 10 key learnings that can be used by others to engage and activate supporters.  I think the most important one is to go where the people are. While many adults utilize social media, they do not necessarily use all of the platforms and you cannot possibly reach everyone there. Therefore, it is imperative to use more than one platform and to use other aspects of media as well.  The analysis of Edelman demonstrated all aspects in order to create a successful campaign.

In both articles, they discussed the importance of utilizing e-mail lists and phones in order to engage voters. For example, in the Obama campaign 13 million people were emailed and 3 million received SMS and were called. The Internet is a place where candidates can further their campaigns. Additionally, it is evident in both articles that it is important to reach out to more than one platform.

My question for the class is: If you were running for president, what would your campaign look like? What media would is use? How would it differ from what is already out there?


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2 Responses to Week 10

  1. Nicole Taylor says:

    I think one of the most effective uses of media was mybarackobama.com. This allowed for people to spread information through their networks and garnered support. Of course one can argue that these people did not necessarily get involved in the campaign, but many people came out to vote for Obama and a lot of his younger supporters were attracted by his social media. I also think some of the voter action network tools are very useful in campaigns. I have been involved in campaigns and we utilize voter vault throughout the campaign in order to contact other republicans. When we made phone calls for the campaign we called people that had voted republican in the last four elections which allowed for us to gather support from people that we regularly go to the polls. They also began making smart phone apps that use this feature so when you go door to door or make phone calls from your phone you can keep track of which people you have contacted and can view maps on your smart phone. If I were running for president I would try to utilize these tools to my advantage. Getting people to volunteer is always a problem for campaigns, but using these tools to create more effective volunteers is important in a campaign.

  2. jbschwarz says:

    I think it is really interesting to ask how we would use the information that we are learning about and and apply it in terms of what we would personally do. If I were running for President my campaign would center around a blog that is user generated and also linked to my campaign page. The idea is similar to mybarackobama and I think it would especially be effective with videos of speeches or campaign events. I like the idea of users being able to generate content but also be supervised by what the campaign wants to convey. I would also refrain from the use of relying heavily on online donations and urge more donations to be sent in or given in person.

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