Recently, we’ve read many articles and much information regarding the increased use of social media within the realm of politics. It is absolutely incredible how far the practice of campaigning has come – from its traditional means of speeches and parades, to today’s almost-completely digitized features. In her New York Times article, “Republicans Embrace Twitter Hard for ’12”, Jennifer Steinhauser highlights the importance that parties place on the use of digital media and quotes Mr. Rasiej of Personal Democracy Media, who claims that both sides have the ability to equitably use social and digital media as cavalries would fight with tanks and nuclear bombs in war.
However impressive, useful, or innovative these new means are, I can’t help but wonder to what extent the quality of our political leaders is diminishing due to these changes. As we’ve read, campaigns are almost completely run by agencies, like Blue State Digital. As any agency does, this one develops strategies and implements actions to obtain a specific goal; in this case, the goal is to win the presidency. Digital agencies work with advertising agencies, press agencies, PR representatives, speech makers, and beyond to create an image for the candidate or party they are aiming to represent. Everything down to the color of the tie candidates wear is chosen by an outside party for a specific reason.
Given this understanding, I beg to understand the extent to which the identity, demeanor, and politics of political/celebrity figures is marred and impacted by the strong influences of outside actors. Would you agree that the authenticity of a candidate is impacted by the forces of the agencies they rely on? The goal of advertising and PR agencies is to essentially manipulate something in the eyes of an audience so along those same lines, is it plausible to be fearful of a candidate’s negative qualities being overshadowed by a very strong and smart digital agency?