Using social media sights have a split response in the effectiveness of the use of them for political campaigns. According to Gueorguieva, in “Voters, Myspace and Youtube”, benefits to social media use include: increasing the candidates’ exposure at a low cost, increasing their ability to reach out to a variety of demographics at once, and aiding in political advertising, fundraising and volunteer recruitment. Challenges to social media use as a campaign strategy includes: the campaigns’ ability to control the candidates’ image and message. It’s hard for the campaign to manage new media, as well as traditional media, in a positive and effective way. The only way to do this is through blended networking, which incorporates online and offline networking. It’s hard to the campaign to appeal to everyone, but the Obama campaign is seen as a successful example of translating online support, into meaningful campaign action.
I think that the effort and eventual failure of the Dean campaign can be used as a model for future campaigns to base their Internet strategies on, because now they know what not to do, and what to do to make their campaign work. In “Friend the President”, Slotnick points out the ways in which the right amount of social networking worked for Obama. It made him relatable and accessible to the younger generation. He invited them to rally with him, in the real world, and merged his younger generation of supporters with the older generation. His campaign encouraged and excited young voters to participate in the election. He made them feel like if they voted, they would be a part of something. So essentially he overrode the idea of slacktivism by getting them excited to participate, and not just accepting a ‘like’ on his page.
I also liked Slotnick’s input on the Giuliani campaign as a comparison to Obama’s. She points out that Giuliani used little to no social networking during his campaign, and presented a reason for that as a reflection on the ideals of the Republican Party, in general. So after the success of social networking of the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign, do you think that the Republican Party will step it up with their social networking? Or do you think they will continue to limit their use of social media in future campaigns, in order to stick with their conservative and traditional roots?
Gueorguieva, V. (2009) Voters, MySpace, and YouTube. In (Panagopoulos, C. ed.) Politicking Online Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, NJ. pp. 233-248.
Slotnick, A. (2009) “Friend” the President: Facebook and the 2008 Presidential Election. In (Panagopoulos, C. ed.) Politicking Online. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, NJ. pp. 249-271.