20 April 2011
The Internet Presidential Election
An essential understanding of how to reach and communicate with fellow supporters has been at the center of every politician’s agenda, but a firm grasp on the future of communication can be the secret weapon that wins the war. For Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was radio. For John F. Kennedy it was television. And for Barak Obama, it was social media and social networking. Social media and social networking were effective during the election of Barak Obama, in connecting his supporters, organizing his campaign, and also in reaching and changing the way young adults between the ages of 21 and 35 decided to vote, but for all the “up close and personal” feelings social networking evoke, there are advantages as well as disadvantages of using social media and social networking in the presidential campaign. Barak Obama has used this means of communication to change the face of politics in America, as well as give the people a voice in politics. Barak Obama, along with the other presidential candidates of the 2008 presidential election, crowned the internet as the king of all political media, with their use of social networking from MySpace to Facebook to YouTube. MySpace went online in 2003, Facebook in 2004, and YouTube in 2005. In the 2008 presidential campaign, these social networks provided a platform, not only for the presidential candidates to reach out to the people, but also for the people to be able to connect with the candidates, as well as with other supporters, but there was some controversy as to whether this form of campaigning would hurt or help the candidates in their efforts of becoming president. “The candidates had adopted many internet tools, including social networking websites, for the purposes of communicating with constituents and voters, collecting donations, fostering community, and organizing events” (Robertson 11). The candidates of the 2008 presidential election saw the huge benefits in campaigning via social media and social networking.
What is social media and social networking? The American Heritage Dictionary says social is “1. Living together in communities. 2. Living together in organized groups or similar close aggregates.” As a child one is told, usually at a party of some sort, to go out and be social, mingle and get to know the guests. To be social is a desirable thing. When the candidates were putting their profiles on the internet, which was their way of being social. Now, to go a step further, look at the word media. Hearing the word media, one would think of newspaper, television, or radio, which is absolutely correct. The American Heritage Dictionary says media is a form of communicating or getting information out. In the 2008 presidential campaign, the main use of social media was to first, make oneself known and second, to get the message to the people. Then, there is social networking. Social networking is when a group of likeminded people come together in a common place to share thoughts, information, and ideas (Safco 43). The use of social networking in the presidential campaign allowed the candidates to quickly get their message out across multiple platforms. So, each 2008 presidential candidate began their race via the internet, by putting out their biographies, posting blogs, and putting up campaign videos as well as speeches.
The candidates of the 2008 presidential election knew that using social media and social networking was the way to campaign. “Those who follow politics online are more politically active than the general public. According to the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet Project, Internet users who follow politics online are more likely to attend political meetings, contact politicians directly, attend a politician’s speech or rally, and be active members of an advocacy group” (Williams 68). This was the best way to reach the...