Today’s Politics in the Internet Age.

With the Republican Primaries and Caucuses well underway, the candidates are narrowed down to the four main contestants. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul are campaigning across the nation and participating in debates to convince voters that they are what the nation needs in a candidate. How do the general public learn information about the candidates though, if they aren’t campaigning in their state? The answer is found on the candidates’ websites.

Mitt Romney uses his website to thank the voters in the states in which he was victorious.

Each candidate has their own website, run by their political team and volunteers that keep their information (like interviews, media, photographs and messages) up to date. On these sites are direct links to the candidate’s social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, and their Youtube channels to watch ads that have been produced.

Rick Santorum's website has his beliefs and campaign strategy on the main page.

Something you will notice on each candidate’s page are donation links, most notable on candidate Ron Paul’s page who needs the money to continue his campaign. For those who want to support their favorite candidates, there is no better way than to go online and donate to their campaign using links found on each site.

Newt Gingrich uses his homepage to let supporters know where he will be next and how to contact him.

These websites are also excellent outlets to connect to mass groups of people at once, without having to pay to run advertisements or receive television or print media coverage.  For candidates who don’t receive as much media coverage as they feel they deserve, this can be a vital part of their campaign. Since so much information is traded on the internet now, much of the general population is turning to the internet to learn more about the potential leaders of the United States.

Ron Paul's main page takes you directly to his donation totals to try to get more support for his campaign.

-Joshua Vester, Molly Jacques, Ashley Oliver, and Hunter Wilson.

Wait, they care about my vote?

Candidates have really been trying to “woo” young people to vote. This demographic can be quite difficult to motivate and actually get them to do something. They all just really need someone who they can relate to before we can make a decision, you know like a celebrity who is endorsing one of the candidates. Remembering back to the last election, this was very successful in Obama’s favor. Many famous people were sporting the always fashionable Obama gear. He even made it on the runway! Who wouldn’t want a president that has made it on the Paris fashion runway?

 

Of course, not all ploys to get the youth to vote are quite so extreme and over the top. Rock the Vote is one of the biggest organizations trying to get young people to vote. They use pop culture, music, and new technologies to get them to register and have successfully signed up over five million young voters. The Millennial Generation makes up about 1/4 of the voting population which makes them an important demographic for politicians to market themselves to. Just in the last presidential election alone Rock the Vote registered 2.5 million voters. This was by far their highest number they have had yet.

College campuses are another great outlet for getting the younger crowd to register to vote. Statistics show that there is a much higher rate of educated youth voting versus the ones who didn’t attend college. This is the most convenient way to motivate this  apathetic age group. Having an on campus presence is a good reminder of how easy it is to register. Since the 2000 presidential election it has been forced by federal law for postsecondary institutions to make a good faith effort to distribute voter registration forms to all of their degree seeking students.

The Presidential candidates now take the Millennial Generation a lot more seriously, then they ever did before. They want their voting numbers to go up and this large demographic can be the boost they need. As a member of this generation, I wonder what tactic they will use next to sway my vote?

 

- Mollie Berthold, Laura Simmons, Christina Stevenson, Dorothy Conley

Need Help Voting? There’s an App for That!

     While the pressure is on for candidates in the upcoming 2012 presidential election, social media is not taking a break in helping voters make the best decision either. Twitter accounts and Facebook pages are always the go-to websites with social media. They are effective in getting different views from different people and users have control over who they follow and what information they want to receive. Now with the transition into the use of smart phones, users can not only have instant access to their two favorite networking sites but they also have the possibility of downloading applications (apps) specific to their interests.

     With this new technology, the presidential campaign is now open to even greater possibilities and the chance for voters to really connect with the candidates in a new way. Apps like Politifact and Political Fury give voters the opportunity to not only find out specific information on a particular candidate but also to compare them head-to-head in terms of their policies and values. With these new apps you can look into informational editorials and even have the opportunity to voice your own opinion on a specific candidate or policy you have chosen to support. With some you can even take part in polls to give campaign leaders a chance to see what people think of their candidate. On one app, voters can choose to follow specifically Republican or Democratic candidates and tune in to radio stations or watch videos that cover them.

     In recent non-political events, such as the Superbowl or the Grammys, marketers have used social media to track how viewers respond to certain ads or particular performances. This use of viewer feedback, in turn, gives marketing teams and event organizers a chance to enhance their next event due to a direct connection with their audiences. The same goes for politicians. Campaign leaders can now review how their candidates are being understood through hashtags on twitter, repeated key words on Facebook, and how voters use the apps on their smart phones. This presidential campaign is taking place largely through social media. One example being the controversy over whether Ron Paul is being represented well through major news stations. This issue has created quite the buzz in social media and in turn is allowing more people to do their own research into his policies. In a way it could be a pretty good tactic for Paul as the campaign develops.

 

By: Sara Kaloudis, Kacy Cox, Alexis Kapczynski and Josh Bowman

Who is the Award Really Going To?


This year millions of people have and will tune in to watch various awards shows that honor and celebrate some of the biggest celebrities in the world. But why? Awards shows are nothing but a bunch of rich people talking about a bunch of very rich people while wearing clothes that cost more than the average viewer’s annual income. The reason these events are so interesting, aside from placing the whose who of entertainment in the same building, is that it offers us a chance to see the face behind the brand. We get to “catch” the actor out of character and see what the musician is like away from the studio. It’s the only time a year that most people get to see Will Smith interact with his family or see Pink step away from her emotionally charged music and have a relaxing night with her peers.

If we wanted to see Brad Pitt act, we could run to the local Redbox and rent MoneyBall and if we wanted to hear Katy Perry sing we could get online and download her latest album (legally of course) but these shows are about so much more than that, these shows are about taking those brands that entertain us throughout the year and recognizing the face behind that brand.

There can be that personal connection behind those who have many different faces in different roles of television shows, movies and more.  Even though the winners stand up behind the microphone and deliver a pre-rehearsed speech about how it was not possible without certain people, we still see them in their own skin.  There are no accents or lines, just them.  It’s almost a purity in that we can have those actors and actresses take off their many masks and be themselves for an evening.  That’s what seems to drive the excitement aside from them winning awards in the respective categories.

 

- Julius Roberts, Leanna Marshall, Bryce Koonts, Leslie Tyler

Year of Adele

The Annual Grammy Awards are one of the biggest nights in the music industry where artists are recognized for their exceptional achievements. Last week the Grammy awards ceremony celebrated its 54th anniversary at the Las Angeles Convention Center with host, LL Cool J. With live performances by Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, and Adele, America was eager for this year’s Grammy Awards. The 54th Grammys brought in 39.9 million viewers which was the second highest rating since the 1984 Grammys. America, along with the artists, held their breath with anticipation to hear the winners for the 78 awards.

It’s hard to go even a day without hearing the name “Adele” in the music industry. She hit the music scene in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she seemed to gain fame overnight with her single “Rolling in the Deep.” The young British singer has encountered many obstacles in the past year, from canceling her tour to undergoing vocal surgery in late 2011.  “Adele underwent vocal cord microsurgery by Dr. Steven Zeitels to stop recurrent vocal cord hemorrhage (bleeding) from a benign polyp,” said a source at the hospital where her surgery took place.   She gave her first post-surgery performance at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards last week, and solidified that she’s still got it. Her worldwide fame reached new levels this year with an amazing 6 Grammy nominations; Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Song of the Year, Best Short Form Music Video, and Best Pop Solo Performance. She won every category in which she was nominated and left the awards ceremony with her arms full of Grammys.

At 23, Adele has more confidence than most females her age. She focuses on her passion for music instead of trying to look like the “ideal” celebrity.  She is happy with how she looks and is not pressured to be skinny like her competitors.  Despite criticisms of her weight rolling in from the media, Adele prides herself with being a role model for the average woman. Her fame and success prove that talent can overcome looks in today’s society.  “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.” –Adele

 

-Kelsey Bendig, Andrea Blanton, Brian Burch, Brooke Keller

The Oscars Generation Gap

Since the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929 there has always been a prestige and honor surrounding the awards.  But lets face it, the era of Hollywood glamour has been replaced by Joan Rivers and obnoxiously unfunny skits between Anne Hathaway and James Franco.  The Oscars prove time and time again to be the most “stuffy” of all awards shows and continues to try to appeal to their top viewers, the 50+ age group, while vaguely attempting to reel in younger viewers. Through choosing young popular actors such as Anne Hathaway and James Franco, the Oscars attempted marketing to a younger age group.  What had much potential turned out to be a disaster as numerous news sources called it an “Oscars Bomb.” In a promo video for the 84th Annual Academy Awards this Sunday, Funny or Die released a long drawn out parody between Michael Myers and Kevin Kline.  Needless to say, the Academy was making an effort to appeal to the majority of moviegoers, 18-29 year olds, by joining forces with a popular online comedy troupe.  Will the Academy reach their much-needed younger audience this year? Or will the Academy fall behind  to become the old stuffy grandfather of awards shows?

By: Molly Jacques, Hunter Wilson, Josh Vester, and Ashley Oliver.

Let’s get Weird!

So here we are in the middle of award shows. We just had the Grammys and now we are preparing for the Oscars. We know that some of the things we are going to see at these events are the designer gowns, crazy hairstyles, and death-defying shoes. We all know who most of the winners are going to be at these events: it will be the new and hip people on the scene, or possibly a singer/actor who has made a comeback in the industry. But what about the unsung heroes that are always there? Who are those people that are really good at what they do, but never seem to make it? One of the biggest unsung heroes is “Weird Al” Yankovic. He has been on the music scene since 1976 and has been making comedy music like “Bob”, “Born this way”, and “Amish Paradise”, just to name a few.

He has been nominated for comedy awards 14 times, but only twice has he ever won. Even with only two wins, he just keeps on writing and performing his amazing parodies. This is what people should look for when choosing a brand. You want to research and look for a brand that has been around and survived throughout the years; brands that are secure and responsible. You can go out and try the newest brands, but because of their newness, they might not last. Then you have those brands that are trying to revamp themselves because they are on their last leg. Just like “Weird Al,” we all love those brands that have given us the best products and services for years and that we know we can rely on. This is something to keep in mind when you are looking at all the brands that will show up this year at the award shows.

~ Dorothy Conley, Laura Simmons, Christina Stevenson, Mollie Berthold