Social Media to Win

The readings for this week discuss how President Obama used social media to aid in his campaign. For instance, The Social Pulpit by Monte Lutz discusses how the victory of Obama can be greatly attributed to his online campaign. Obama supporters were encouraged and had the ability to engage in conversation and debate via text messaging, online videos, and through his website Change.gov. The article also discusses how both the McCain and Dean campaigns fell short to channel the use of Internet to encourage a greater number of supporters that resulted in votes.

The Social Pulprit suggests that Obama properly “harnessed the power of public engagement to influence the conversation across various spheres of cross-influence” (Lutz, 4). This means that people had the opportunity to participate and respond to new policy ideas, which encouraged important discussion leading many people to loyally follow his campaign. His campaign allowed them to receive updates through text messages and emails. They could even participate socially by adding comments to other follower’s opinions or positing feedback on policies. Additionally, they could advocate the Obama campaign and recruit more people to follow. When comparing Obama’s campaign to the reading The Real Lessons of Howard Dean: Reflection on the First digital Campaign, by Hindman one can see how the differences in the use of the Internet in the Dean Campaign inhibited his ability to win true followers and voters.

What do you believe were the biggest mistakes of the Dean Campaign after reading about Obama’s successful tactics? If the Dean Campaign were to have enhanced public conversation as the Obama campaign did, do you believe the results could have been different?  I believe the use of the Internet has dramatically increased in recent years; therefore, the public may have not been ready for the use of social media during the Dean election. What are your opinions and why? Do you think every presidential election needs to use social media to win an election?

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3 Responses to Social Media to Win

  1. arlaurin says:

    You tackle a lot of great questions there and I wanted to address the last one. I believe that now, every presidential candidate must use social media. As Slotnick points out in “”Friend” the President: Facebook and the 2008 Presidential Election,” a web presence is now expected (p.255). This does not explicitly state social media, but that is where our Internet innovations have led us. When we expect certain things, we are turned away when they are not there. We expect now to be able to go on Facebook and find groups supporting each candidate. If a candidate tried to run and had zero social media presence, information about them would not be as easily assessable. You need to ensure the people can find your content, which is number 6 on the list of ways Obama succeed through the Internet in Lutz article, “The Social Pulpit.”

  2. alexlcraig says:

    I believe the biggest mistake of the Dean Campaign was not clearly stating what the campaign stood for. Without clearly stating where they stand on the hot issues, it was impossible to fully drive the campaign. I think right now, every campaign, presidential or otherwise, needs to use social media to win an election. However, I think with time and technological changes, the just of social media in campaigns may become obsolete. It’s important to ‘go where the people are’. Right now, that happens to be social networking, but that may change, and candidates and campaigns have to be willing to adapt to the changes in social spheres.

    • chicmix says:

      I agree with you and think that all campaigns must use social media effectively in order to win. However, when considering where I get the majority of political information about presidential candidates I realize it is either from other people or television. I think it is important to consider how the use of social media sparks conversation among us more than it contributes to our political knowledge and participation in a campaign.

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