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?