Campaigning 2.0

Social networking is the biggest thing to happen to political campaigns since television, and this medium is rapidly changing the way candidates reach voters.  We first saw heavy use of social media tactics with the 2008 presidential election.  You could “friend” the candidate you planed to vote for on Facebook or “follow” them on Twitter.  If you chose to do so, you were given access to immediate updates from the campaign trail and information on platforms in quick, bite-sized pieces of information that were easily digestible.  The trend of using social media in political campaigns has only strengthened since 2008; now almost all candidates have Facebook pages and a presence on other sights such as Twitter, Linkedin and Gist.

Political campaigns are benefiting greatly from the use of social networking.  The sights help to lend transparency and credibility to political campaigns by eliminating a middleman.  Voters can go straight to a candidate’s Facebook page and read facts straight from the candidate, rather than receiving biased information from a third party.  Michigan House of Representatives member, Justin Amash, began posting his votes, along with a short explanation from the House floor as his Facebook statuses.  He immediately received feedback from his “friends”, both good and bad.  Since starting this, Amash has gained popularity and even announced his candidacy for the US Senate through his fan page.

Social networking sites also offer the ability for candidates to access a wide variety of voters inexpensively.  Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and various other social networking sites also allow people to be the voice for candidates, which could either make or break them.  If a candidate has supporters touting their name all over their profile, then they are likely to receive more attention.  If people are constantly talking about how great somebody is then other people are going to think that candidate is a good choice.  Refer back to the last presidential election and this is seen clearly.

All in all, social networking has evolved the way political campaigns are carried out.  No longer can candidates rely on traditional tactics, rather they have to continuously keep their publics informed through status updates, tweets, etc.

Sarah McIntosh, Eliza Wadson, Jocelyn Walson, Sean O’Connell


8 thoughts on “Campaigning 2.0

  1. Social networking is overwhelming me this semester. I have seen the move “the social network”, joined twitter, created a facebook page for my job, and also conducted a poster session all of which (obviously) revolve around social media. The one thing I had not thought of to tackle social networking was politics but alas it has. I definitely agree that this is an intelligent tactic especially when it comes to involving younger generations, like college students. Almost everything today is done online especially for someone my age. I am constantly on my laptop between facebook, blackboard, UNCW e-mail, twitter and blogging. In today’s society it is convenient for us to simply be able to log online and click, click away to see information and updates about whatever we please, including politics.

  2. Social Networking truly has become a force to be reckoned with. Especially, when it relates to political issues. Not only are candidates able to advertise via Facebook, Twitter, etc… People now have voices in which to express their concerns, preferences, inquires, or critical views. I see social networking and politics mostly powerful from a person-to-person standpoint rather than a platform/advertising standpoint. That is not to say that social networks have a major impact on how it is used for candidates. I think that it is quite a phenomena for people to be able share their ideas on certain issues concerning politics. Someone may not totally agree with a certain candidate, yet their view may change based on the shared feedback from a friend on the same issue. By word of mouth, ideas are tossed around and interests are swayed one way or the other. However, one can only give thanks to the advertising on the social networking site that possibly started it all.

  3. I think that politicians would benefit a lot from using social networking as part of their campaign strategy. This is an easy way to get their platforms across and simplify them for people who are not up to date with political gargan. I have followed politicians on Twitter and Facebook and the short status updates and “Tweets” have really helped me understand more about them. On the other hand though, anyone is able to “friend” or “fan” them and there for anyone can post on their opinions on their walls. This could make or break the canidate considering people can post negative or positive things about them which could sway other peoples opinions. So while it is important for a politician to have a way to network socially with people it is also a big risk.

  4. Social Networking has truly changed how the world operates. Now, companies can reach thousands of people with the click of a mouse. These people, in turn, can repost and share the information with their friends, who can then share it with there friends,and so on. It is no surprise that politics have discovered Facebook and Twitter and began to utilize them. I have always been a big social media user. I update my Facebook several times a day (I think my friends secretly hate me for this) and my Twitter at least once a day. I post links that catch my eye in the news and media all of the time. They either are political, music related, or just for entrainment.

    During the elections (2008 presidential and the 2010 mid-term election), I was constantly posting my opinions about candidates, and now that the elections are over I am still posting things about policies, etc…

    I find that you can not only inform people via social media but also be informed. There is so much posted online each day that it can be very hard to keep up with it all. I can attest that a lot of what I found and then researched more about came from Facebook and Twitter. My friends would post links about the elections and I would read and then go do my own research. Without social media, I might have never found out about certain candidates or policies that are personally effecting me. One thing is for certain, politics will never be the same. Social media is changing the way the world communicates, and social media is definitely making it easier for politicians to reach their constituents and for regular people to voice their opinions.

  5. Social media has become one of the most influential ways to use word of mouth marketing. So yes I agree that running for a seat as an elected official has completely changed because we are making it easier to follow easier to recognize easier to find information etc… Just by using social media like facebook you are sharing your thoughts and beliefs and brand with a network of others who are doing the same thing and providing the information for you. This is definitely geared towards our generation and is rapidly changing. It is scary to think of where we will be technologically in another 5 to 10 years. But all in all politics will benefit from social media in my opinion because you will atleast have more educated voters from following their candidates through these social media’s.

  6. I think that it is fantastic that the population today has access to such great tools in the social media world. I am also glad that politicians are aware of the ever growing world of social networking and manipulate these tools because these tools are modern and growing quickly. With twitter and Facebook, a politician can keep millions of prospected voters updated every second of their campaign. This is HUGE. I recently worked on a campaign for the US Senate race and was in charge of updating Cal Cunningham’s twitter feed when ever he made speeches and attended events. We got a great response from supporters everyday and this ultimately pushed his campaign to great heights. I think social networking tools are beneficial for all aspects in life and politics is no exception.

  7. Social Networking has dramatically affected political campaigning, serving as “word of mouth” marketing. It is crucial for any political campaign to understand and utilize social networking in order to carry out a successful campaign in today’s electronic society. As a Facebook user, I have noticed a tremendous increase in strong political stances via social networking websites. I believe this is a great way for young Americans to become more politically aware; however I believe it has some negative affects as well. Social network uses must be informed, further researching an issue or candidate before accepting fellow users posts, blogs, and statuses as fact.

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