Mknac’s Weblog

Diving into the shallow pool of Web 2.0 and Social Media head first!

Campaigning in the Digital Globalized Era

I thought lyrics from Bob Dylan’s popular song The Times They Are A-Changin’ were appropriate for this post.

“Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside

And it is ragin’.

It’ll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin’.” Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’

This week our assignment was to investigate what is happening with the 2008 presidential campaign and social media. Well, let me be the 1100 person to report that political campaigns, they are a changin. It appears that from my investigations that the Democratic Party is adopting to the changing landscape of a globalized world by embracing Web 2.0 and Social Media. The Republican Party appears to be, to be kind, tepid in truly embracing Web 2.0 and Social Media platforms as part of their strategy.

For example here is my quick survey of three popular social media sites. I could have continued the survey but I think this trend of greater support for Obama rather than McCain will continue on all social media sites.

Facebook; Obama 1,203,257 supporters / McCain 179,477 supporters.

MySpace; Obama 430,071 friends / McCain 59,946 friends.

Twitter; Obama 50,068 followers / McCain no official twitter feed.

As noted by our instructor Garrett Graff, and author of The First Campaign, the 2004 presidential election was the beginning of the end of the current campaign model used by the major parties. Howard Dean’s campaign for the democratic presidential nomination in 2004 was the first to realize and tap into the rising tide of social networking to organize supporters, spread messages and most importantly raise money.

The Democratic Party has taken the experiences of the Dean campaign and adopted them to their strategy for the 2008 race. Clearly the Obama campaign dwarfs McCain’s efforts on-line. The Republican strategy seems to be based on the model President Bush used in 2000 and 2004.

This coming November’s presidential election will be a water shed event for future political campaign strategies. Does the advantage Obama has in the on-line world translate to real world votes? Are Obama’s on-line supporters just people who have drank the Obama cool-aid and are patting themselves on the back in a huge circle jerk? Do on-line supporters register to vote at the same rate as the general population? Do registered to vote, on-line supporters, actually vote at the ballot box at the same, greater or smaller rate than the rest of general population?

In my opinion if Obama beats McCain in a landslide then pundits and talking heads will have evidence to argue that on-line social networking is directly proportional to votes cast in the ballot booth. If McCain wins or Obama wins in a squeaker then that argument, at least for the 2008 election, is weakened.

But like Dylan said, “For the times they are a-changin’.” There was phenomenal growth in Web 2.0 platforms and Social Networking from 2004 to 2008 and their use politically. Is it enough to change the model of political campaigning for 2008? If the growth of Web 2.0 / Social Networking continues from 2008 to 2012 is that enough to tip the balance in favor of new ra evolution of political online social networking tactics?

Our November 2008 Presidential Election will answer many questions.


July 26, 2008 - Posted by | social media | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] doing it. But that’s not to say they’re all doing it equally well, as ATW and Mknac point […]

    Pingback by Everybody’s Doing It (Or Getting Others To Do It For Them) « Melissa’s Musings | July 28, 2008 | Reply

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