Clay Shirky analyzes and discusses how Howard Dean’s “successful” campaign was not actually successful at all. He explains that even though he used a multi-faceted campaign, raised a significant amount of money, and got a lot of attention, his “success” was merely a facade, or a “mirage” or a “soap bubble”, as Shirky calls it. The support for Dean may have been real, but it was “thin and vulnerable”. Shirky talks about Dean’s campaign as being a “novelty campaign” even though “the Dean staff put the Internet to the best, most vivid, and most imaginative use it has every gotten in any national campaign”. He explains that in the future, we will have to worry that a candidate, who is trying to use in the internet in innovative ways, will be warned about doing so.
Matthew Hindman also discusses what can be learned from the first digital campaign. Like Shirky, Hindman explains that Dean gathered an outstanding amount of funds, good endorsements, and had seemingly wide spread support leading up the primaries. He also notes how the Internet played a key role in Dean’s campaign. He explains that while conservatives and liberals are online in fairly equal amounts, liberals visit political websites more. Hindman suggests that this is one of the things that could have contributed to Dean’s apparent support.
Given what we’ve read and know about the failure of Dean’s digital campaign, how do you think the election would have been different if all the candidates campaigned digitally?