The Necessity of Bridging Traditional and New Social Media

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?

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2 Responses to The Necessity of Bridging Traditional and New Social Media

  1. emilyod17 says:

    I that social media is completely necessary in the modern day campaigning process. People rely heavily on Twitter and Facebook to give the information on varying candidates, and are veering away from traditional news sources like newspapers and broadcast news television. The Internet has given people a fast and convenient way of gaining information and news updates on developments in the political arena, so a candidate must utilize it heavily if it wishes to keep up in the technological era. Traditional PR is still important; however, neglecting the importance of social media would be devastating for a political candidate. Great post!

  2. alemor7 says:

    I also agree that having a digital presence is necessarily and will becoming increasingly more important as time goes on. I also think that tradition campaigning methods are still very important as well. Both are necessary in order to have a fully effective and successful campaign because they target such different demographics. The digital campaign, including Twitter and Facebook, targets the traditionally “not likely to vote” demographic of people between the ages of 18-24, but also encompasses the more tech-savvy baby boomers and everyone in between. This is a crucial demographic because many times it is these potential voters who will not reach out to more traditional campaign methods in order to inform themselves on a candidates position on various topics and overall running platforms. More traditional campaigning methods target those who are not as technologically inclined and provide comfort for them in the sense that it keeps things the same as they are used to from previous campaigns that they have seen and have deemed effective and yielded qualified presidents.

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