The Internet truly played a role in Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. Matthew Hindman and Clay Shirky discuss the usage of websites, social media and Internet Politics to conclude that while Dean was at means for election, the Internet subsided him. Dean believed that through the Internet, he could win. Although, while Internet politics has many advantages, Hindman and Shirky found that Dean’s failure to win was predictable because of the issue surrounding his electability even though his online campaigns made him an early primary.
Hindman discusses how Dean’s campaign marks an ongoing shift in the way candidates use the Internet, with liberals visiting websites much more than conservatives and moderates. He created an interactive campaign website that encouraged his voters and supporters to generate their own content, create their own Dean websites, and fundraise. According to Hindman, the rich and educated use the Internet more than those with less money and education, with women lagging behind men, and Hispanics/ African Americans behind whites and Asians. It would be thought that this medium is disproportionately in the hands of advantaged groups, but it is not the case. Really, liberals dominate the audience for politics on the Internet. While Dean won numerous key endorsements and had strong plurality in the polls, his presence on the Web was still not enough to make him a key player in the election. His experience is thought to be a larger trend in online activism that actually only benefits liberal views.
Shirky reinforces Hindman’s thoughts. He believes that Dean was the best-funded and best-publicized bid to the Democratic nominee yet he was never truly successful. He raised money, got press, and excited people and potential voters to aver to campaign workers and pollsters that would vote for him when the time came, in which they did not (Shirky, 2). His success was not real. The support he had throughout the election did not translate into votes. Regardless of the Meet Up in New York City and the high attendance surrounding his presence, these attendees only expressed their support—not go out of their way to vote for him. This “bubble of belief” (Shirky, 10) convinced him and others that he had a great chance at winning. Both Shirky and Hindman contended that Dean’s followers did not truly financially back him. His campaign was more of a social movement, instead of a real political campaign.
With in being 2013 and social media usage at an all time high, how would you counter slacktivism and actually make your followers go out and vote for you? Their comments and presence on your social media sites would not be enough. How could you actually physically get them to go out and vote?