In Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns David Karpf describes what makes a digital campaign successful. He outlines two different ways to assess a campaign—tactical and strategic measures. Tactical metric is when you measure the raw number of traffic a website or blog receives, or the number of tweets, friends, or likes. On the other hand, strategic metrics “require a clear theory of how you expect your tactics to make a difference, in turn clarifying which measures actually contribute to success” (Karpf, 151). Karpf claims that strategic metrics are more useful because they can isolate what needs to be done and what’s the most useful tool that can be utilized to get results. Therefore, many social media campaigns are not successful because they rely too heavily on tactical measures as opposed to strategic measure.
This idea that digital media isn’t as beneficial to democracy as once thought is similar to Morozov’s point of view. He argues that people have considerably overestimated the power of digital tools and the internet in mobilizing people because people generally use these tools as a source of entertainment, not politics. Instead of mobilizing people, these digital tools are actually pacifying them and are giving them an escape from their own lives.
However, recently, the role of social media and digital tools may have changed when the events of the Arab Spring unfolded. Though an argument could be made that the uprisings during the Arab Spring were not entirely due to social media, but because the government did not provide the type of entertainment that induces people to forget about their problems, I’m more inclined to believe that the way social media was utilized was more productive. In other words, the campaign was more strategic in nature than tactical. This means that the posts on Facebook or Twitter were operated in such a way that it spread to the people who were most likely to engage in the protests instead of just the general population. After all, in order to make a revolution, the tweets or posts needed to reach the activists within the country. Therefore, the number of people who viewed the links inside the Arab world, though considerably less than the number of people who viewed them outside the Arab world, were probably those who were most likely to mobilize people and make an impact. Do you think that the role of social media has changed in the recent years, and if so, how?