Digital Campaigning Platforms

In Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns, David Karpf acknowledges that there are many more sites available on the Internet for users to express their ideas and engage in activist campaigns however, he questions whether these “platforms make our attempts at political activism any more successful than before” (Karpf). Karpf believes that in order to answer this question, we have to look at the strategic rather than the tactical level. I think that this question that Karpf brings up is important to consider and answer especially in regards to the function of slacktivism, which we were discussing last week. Morozov believes that slacktivism has no impact on the society. I disagree with him and suggest that it is more important to look at how slacktivism plays a role in both the platform and context of specific digital campaign.

In Karpf’s article, he defines the tactical level as the amount of “Facebook friends, twitter followers, blog posts, video views, and e-petition signatures” (Karpf) a campaign has. However, these numbers can sometimes be misleading to determine the effectiveness of a campaign unless they are placed in context. Context of an activist campaign tells us what actions the digital campaign seeks to encourage and pursue and only then can we tell whether the tactical numbers reflect their goals and thus, make the digital campaign successful. When I read this I thought of Morozov’s view of slacktivism in The Brave New World of Slacktivism, where he states that slacktivism is activism with the least amount of effort by online users. He further goes on to say that the Internet is damaging since it has allowed slacktivism to grow and that this form of activism does not have a significant impact on society. However, I do not find this statement correct. According to Karpf, it seems that the idea of slacktivism and just the mere act of liking or signing a petition online could end up making a digital campaign successful if the goals of that specific campaign were to get a certain number of likes. With all of the different platforms available to engage in political activism campaigns on, I would think that the goals of some of the campaigns might be tailored to the platform it is on. For instance, a campaign on Facebook might be considered more successful if its goal was to get a lot of e-signatures since both people who are or would like to be both actively and passively involved in the issue would sign it.

Do you think that political activism campaigns tailor their goals to the platforms they use? If not, do you think this strategy could be beneficial to the success and spread of their campaigns?

This entry was posted in Winter 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Digital Campaigning Platforms

  1. andgoldberg says:

    I think political activism campaigns should have a combination between digital campaigns and traditional campaigns. While Facebook and other social networking sites have the capacity to broadcast messages to large audiences, the important piece of the puzzle lies in the interaction between individual users on these sites. The power of normal people distributing a campaign message to their entire friend circle is overwhelming. Despite this, It is extremely difficult for marketers to judge the impact of a “click” on a certain Twitter link or recent company Facebook “like” by an individual user. However, with a combination of an online viral marketing campaign and extensive traditional political campaign actions (TV ads, print ads, public debates), political candidates can place themselves in a position bound for success.

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