In this class, we have learned the strengths and weaknesses of using social media as a campaign tool. In analyzing the strengths and weaknesses, it is important to note the timeliness of using certain social media. For example, unlike Dean’s failed social media attempt, Obama’s online presence in social media was much more timely and extensive as Twitter was emerging as an information highway and facebook was seeing its peak. It is also important to gauge differences in campaign goals to properly assess its success.
In this week’s readings we are faced with two opposing, yet overlapping ideas, that social media certainly has an effect and place in the political realm. The question is how much of an effect does social media actually have and to what degree is it necessary to rely on social media today and in forthcoming campaigns. Will social media make or break every candidate?
In measuring the success of social media, we must be careful and stay aware that this much newer phenomena has a lot of room for development and analysis over time– and has the tendency to widely vary from situation to situation. However, it would be a mistake to undervalue social media as it is an inexpensive outlet for reaching people from all over the world in one space. We understand that social media is one of the main sources for people under 30 in obtaining political information (Neilsen)– the Scola reading pushes us to consider social media as an invaluable necessity today.
I personally agree that a strong social media presence is absolutely necessary for showing connectedness to progressive ideas, while also ensuring outreach to young people on all platforms possible. The Scola reading, in line with the Karpf reading, shows the importance of strategizing around making social media work as an essential element in political campaigning. Conversely, Nielson highlights the limitations of social media and deems other PR arenas as the true guiding light for political campaign success in Blue Digital. Of course, Scola and Nielson provide us with frameworks that prove measuring successes of social media for political campaigns is not so cut and dry.
My question(s) for the class is, can a campaign today see ultimate success without much of a Twitter or Facebook presence? Is it enough to focus on more traditional PR routes? How necessary are mixed methods of traditional and progressive PR?