Week 10

In this week’s reading, Nielsen argues that people use specific Internet tools for specific reasons, and different tools accomplish different goals. He mentions three general categories under which Internet tools fall: mundane, emerging, and specialized. Nielsen uses email as an example of a the first category, mundane tools, because it is already integral to everyday life with almost all Internet users maintaining an account. The second category, emerging tools, are those such as social networking sites that have only recently become a tool for political campaigns. The third category, specialized tools, is exemplified by campaign websites, because of their specified goal. Nielsen argues that of these three categories of tools, mundane tools are the most important in mobilizing practices. His claim is supported by the idea that mundane tools such as email and search are the most efficient at “identifying, recruiting, and retaining” campaign volunteers. Thus, these tools help volunteers to connect in two-sided communication with campaigns and provide support in the ways that are needed. He claims that emerging or specialized tools do not do this as well as mundane tools do.

In “Republicans Embrace Twitter Hard for ‘12”, Steinhauer describes the way in which Republicans have taken to Twitter to express views against Obama, Washington, and the Democratic party. The story is based on the way in which Obama utilized Twitter in his 2008 campaign, while Republicans were not yet fully immersed in this campaign strategy. Twitter would be considered an emerging tool according to Nielsen’s categories, and therefore Nielsen would say that it is not nearly as efficient at mobilizing practices as, for instance, email. However, Obama’s use of Twitter is said to have created a huge impact on his election campaign and the number of supporters he gained. Do you agree with Nielsen that emerging tools like Twitter are inefficient in mobilizing practices, or do you think that these emerging tools have the ability to do so as well?

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2 Responses to Week 10

  1. bhkadin says:

    I believe that Internet tools are as efficient as the user wants them to be. Anybody could sign up to receive emails, follow individuals on Twitter, or like things on Facebook. However, this can be the extent of their involvement. It has been argued that email is effective in mobilizing practices because a direct link to donations is included, making it easier for recipients to take action. However, I feel that if people are going out of their way to follow certain individuals on Twitter, then they will take the initiative to donate to their cause or take other political action. I do not think that it is the tool that has the ability to create efficient mobilizing practices, but the person using the tool.

  2. stephmfarr says:

    I certainly wouldn’t say Twitter is inefficient in mobilizing voters, although I do recognize Nielson’s arguments about the different levels of effectiveness certain tools can have. I think Twitter, while emerging, can be considered quite efficient today because it has truly developed into something which is all but required for a successful campaign. It may be new, but it is an efficient tool for mobilization.

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