Politics and the Internet





Politics and the Internet

Why has the internet become a vital tool in the process of political campaigning?

Any political leader today is aware of the importance of the internet in the modern day political process. The internet has made it possible for politicians to reach more people. Anyone with a web presence increases his or her advantages in campaigning because of the publicity. This was especially made clear in the 2008 campaigns although it was not the first time that a politician used the internet to campaign. Nowadays, Americans are using the internet more to get more information and to engage in political activities (Hargittai and Shaw 116). The internet gives one access to social media sites and it enables interactive communication between the candidate and the electorate. Candidates can use it as a means of encouraging others to engage in the political process and to gain more voters in the process. The internet provides a way for the candidates to communicate their political messages. Word spreads fast on the internet because social media acts in a similar way as word of mouth. Therefore, any messages that the candidate communicates through it are bound to reach many people.

What role has the internet played in fundraising for modern presidential candidates?

The internet has made it possible for many people to contribute financially to their parties and candidates of choice. Parties no longer have to depend on hard money. In the 2008 elections, the then presidential candidate, Obama, benefited from small donors, who made their political contributions through online platforms (Carpenter 224). In previous elections, many candidates have concentrated on getting their funds through big corporations and they have ignored the small donors. The internet makes it possible for candidates to get funds using other means other than the taxpayers’ funds, and to circumvent the spending limits. This was the case in the 2008 presidential elections.

Why is electronic advertising important to the candidate?

Electronic advertising is cheaper compared to television advertising. It makes it possible for people to sell products, persuade, and raise awareness. It shapes people’s perceptions and behaviors. Candidates can use a wide variety of platforms especially on social networking sites. Many people use the internet and this has increased the audience reached. For instance, more than a third of American adults access facebook daily (Broockman and Green 264). Candidates can use electronic advertising to campaign, lobby, and encourage participation.

Describe the culture of the population being targeted by internet campaigning and how they fit in to the internet campaigning strategies

The culture of the population that is targeted by online campaigns are young adults from eighteen years to about thirty years. They are technologically educated and creative. They have a desire to increase their networking options but they choose to do this using their own means. This is seen in their increasing participation on social networking sites including sites such as facebook, twitter, and others. They are innovative and willing to try new ideas. They are interested in popular media and they have a keen focus on entertainment.

Are interactive campaign tactics such as blogging and live chat sessions effective campaign tools, why or why not

Interactive campaign tactics are effective tools during campaigns. They are more personal compared to other tools such as websites. They encourage closer participation in political matters. More importantly, they provide a way for the candidates to communicate directly to the electorate and to get their feedback on diverse issues. This is important for anyone conducting campaigns because the discussions held provide important content. These interactive tools enable candidates to continue updating data and providing reliable and relevant information to the electorate (Carlson, Djupsund and Strandberg 22). It also provides a way for the candidates to know the stand of their rivals on different issues.

What are the costs, risks, and/or dangers of using technology as a medium for a campaign?

One of the risks of using technology during campaigns is that the candidates have minimal control of how their image is perceived, information is received, and their messages are communicated to the public. People can share videos, messages, and the image of a particular candidate with his or her opponents. Technology minimizes the level of an individual’s privacy. It is hard to manage the communicated messages because they are shared within a very short time (Elmer and Langlois 43). Anyone can claim to represent the candidate even though this may not be the case. This has the risk of communicating the wrong information.

What is the future value of this technology in terms of political capital during a campaign season?

Many people are realizing the benefits of technology in politics. Political technology is developing beyond raising awareness and trying to persuade people to become active participants in politics. Many political parties are realizing the benefits of using technology to conduct analysis and determine the nature of the targeted populations (Miller 48). The construction of voter files has become especially important for the management and effective use of data. The political scene is changing and those who have embraced the change can see the results. Anyone interested in a career in American politics will embrace technology because of the numerous benefits it offers. Political parties and candidates understand the importance of good data in ensuring that they have effective campaigns. This can only be made possible by using technology. In the recent past, the use of information communication technologies has proved to be beneficial in persuading many people to participate in politics. It has enabled candidates to reach different electorates, who would not have otherwise voted. The increasing need and desire for interactive communication will ensure that more people use technology.

Works Cited:

Broockman, David E. and Donald, Green P. “Do Online Advertisements Increase Political Candidates’ Name Recognition or Favorability? Evidence from Randomized Field Experiments.” Political Behavior 36 (2014): 263-289

Carlson, Tom, Goran, Djupsund and Kim, Strandberg. “Taking Risks in Social Media Campaigning: The Early Adoption of Blogging by Candidates.” Scandinavian Political Studies 37.1 (2014): 21-42

Carpenter, Cheris A. “The Obamachine: Technopolitics 2.0.” Journal of Information Technology & Politics 7 (2010): 216-225

Elmer, Greg and Ganaele, Langlois. “Networked Campaigns: Traffic Tags And Cross Platform Analysis On The Web.” Information Polity 18 (2013): 43-56

Hargittai, Eszter and Aaron, Shaw. “Digitally Savvy Citizenship: The Role of Internet Skills and Engagement in Young Adults’ Political Participation around the 2008 Presidential Election.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 57.2 (2013): 115-134

Miller, Sean J. The Digital Battlefield: Why The Online Political World Can Be Downright Nasty. 2013. Web. 16 Sep. 2015

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