The Web Goes Political - the Internet and the 2001 Elections

Article excerpt

Following the September 11 attacks, the many charities devoted to helping the families of the victims raised over $110 million online.

Only one avenue of communications could have captured the overwhelming outpouring of support in such a short time: the Internet.

How does this relate to politics? Similar characteristics--emotion, the media spotlight, urgency, a need, and an opponent to rally against-- make regular appearances during every campaign. The Internet comes into play by providing campaigns with an instant avenue of response.

Following the attacks, President Bush announced the formation of the American Liberty Partnership--libertyunites.org. Not only did he include AOLTimeWarner, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay, and Cisco Systems in this partnership, but he asked Americans to visit the site and take action by making a donation.

What happened next was the "snowball effect." Media reported about the site, which created an instant branding of the site and record nonprofit online fund-raising results. This led to more news stories, and thus the "snowball effect" continued.

Most candidates in the November 2001 elections continuously asked voters to visit their Web sites and take action. …