It is safe to say that the relationship between technology and societal adaption lives in a perpetual state of flux. One way that we are able to see this trend is through the changes that occur within political campaigns over time. When an election takes place, enough time has passed between the last major campaign in the sense that what may have been a novel strategy then is now considered to be standard practice. From the Nielsen reading and the piece on Blue State Digital, it is apparent that what is expected from campaigns is to be looking forward and backward at the same time; relying on typical media strategies but also being proactive about utilizing emerging technologies.
Nielsen’s reading echoed one of the main points that Shirky emphasized, which is that technology does not become socially interesting until it is technologically boring. These ‘mundane’ internet tools, such as email, are much more of a necessity than ’emerging tools’, like social media, or ‘specialized tools’, like campaign websites in gathering citizens to mobilize efforts and actually get involved. We see the differences between those who have held office longer being less likely to care about social media strategies than those who have only held their position for a short period of time because they simply don’t see a need. The way that social media efforts aid in the political campaign strategies are by appealing to more media savvy voters who are looking for their candidates to be where they are online. In this way, focusing on emerging tools may get your message out there but will not necessarily lead people to take action and get involved. It is through the now traditional methods, such as emailing volunteers directly, that get the results in activism that candidates are typically looking for. However, email was once considered an emerging tool itself, reflecting the change in how technology is used over time and makes a case that candidates simply are unable to ignore the new, progressive tools that are constantly growing in popularity.
One example of a firm taking advantage of this mindset is Blue State Digital. With the success of the Obama campaign, they have proven that such adaptive strategies can produce results. The firm stresses how they work to incorporate social media into their traditional marketing and public relations work in order to reach broader audiences. Their success in politics has allowed to them take this same approach into other areas of work, including entertainment and non-profit campaigns. In doing so, they are helping to shape the overarching cultural trends that perpetuates use and reliance on social media in all aspects of society. This, in itself, fuels the transformation of such emerging tools in allowing them to eventually become mundane.
Do you believe that social media outlets, such as Facebook, are now considered ‘mundane’ or are they still emerging? What other technologies have been adapted since the 2008 election to the point where they are no longer optional for strategic use? As the internet stands currently, which tools may be considered emerging for the coming 2012 election (ex: Pinterest)?