The Importance of Internet in Campaigning

This week’s readings emphasized the importance of online campaigning, especially in terms of rallying support and votes for candidates running for office. Prior to the Internet, people of different geographical locations were not able to interact and correspond with one another as easily. Now, people can gather online and now there is a “victory of affinity over geography” (Shirky, 2007). Blogging has now become a primary activity in the political realm and can carry key importance in deciding who comes out on top in voting. Blogs are interactive in that they get the people committed and involved, by not only attaching a human voice to a candidate but by also making the viewers feel engaged in a topic (Trippi, 2008).

Blogs can range from personal to political, which is effective in that gets activists involved in both aspects of issues that are pertinent in deciding on a candidate to vote for (Trippi, 2008). It is a well known fact that candidates are not merely evaluated on political performance, but on aspects of their personal lives, such as past relationships, kids, family affiliation, etc. Blogs can help voters evaluate these aspects more comprehensively. One of the reason’s Dean lost was because voters simply didn’t like him, which shows how devastating personal likability can be for a candidate (Shirky, 2007).

It is important to recognize that the Internet and blogging are crucial in campaigning; however, can blogging reveal too much about a candidate? Sometime’s it’s easier to think of  a candidate as a figure that has a job to do, rather than a father, mother, wife, etc. Is there any way that blogging can be a little too revealing and thus hinder the chances of them getting re-elected? What consequences can there be for revealing too much through blogs?

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3 Responses to The Importance of Internet in Campaigning

  1. I think that with the rise of the Internet and social media, there is increased accessibility and interest in the personal lives of the famous and/or political figures that we’re interested in and/or support. There is sometimes the notion that getting more information about what makes the public figure a “real person” is helpful to understand that they’re really not that much different than we are—making them more relatable and convincing. I think that blogging could be utilized effectively for this purpose, in that it might become easier for political candidates to express what makes them similar to their supporters, and to help them understand why they’d make the best candidate to represent their own interests. As stated in the reading, people like to know that they’re voting for a real human being, not a robot.

    Great, thought-provoking post!

  2. liarosen says:

    You raise a very interesting question here. I agree with Meaghan- this is a platform with a lot of potential for candidates running for election. However, I think it is important for candidates to continually consider both the benefits and potential risks of an online campaign. It is an excellent forum for people to express opinions and feel that they are truly (1) being heard and (2) feel as though they are getting to know the candidate through interacting with their online tools. However, it is much more difficult to control an “image” in an online environment. These sights certainly give supports an opportunity to contribute and interact, but also give a platform to opposition. I think this type of debate can also be helpful to the political process, but the candidates should be aware of its potential and be prepared to respond. Great post!

  3. macariav says:

    I feel that their is absolutely such a thing as saying “too much” and I think that this possibility extends to the internet and blogging. Their is a certain extent of information that we should know about our candidates, information that would be nice to know about our candidates, and then information that is absolutely non of our business. For the sake of the candidate, I think it is important to remember the line when blog posting. That being said I do feel that it is important to give voters a sense of realism when looking at a candidate. It allows them to connect with the candidate on a more personal level and shows them that while this person may be running for office they are still human and they can still make mistakes. Ultimately, I think that there is a fine line between sharing and over sharing. I think that blogging adds realism to the candidate however, I think it also creates another opportunity for scrutiny. Great Post!

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