Politicking Online: The Transformation of Election Campaign Communications

Politicking Online: The Transformation of Election Campaign Communications

Politicking Online: The Transformation of Election Campaign Communications

Politicking Online: The Transformation of Election Campaign Communications


Of the many groundbreaking developments in the 2008 presidential election, the most important may well be the use of the Internet. In Politicking Online contributors explorethe impact of technology for electioneering purposes, from running campaigns andincreasing representation to ultimately strengthening democracy. The book reveals how social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are used in campaigns along withe-mail, SMS text messaging, and mobile phones to help inform, target, mobilize, and communicate with voters.

While the Internet may have transformed the landscape of modern political campaigns throughout the world, Costas Panagopoulos reminds readers that officials and campaign workers need to adapt to changing circumstances, know the limits of their methods, and combine new technologies with more traditional techniques to achieve an overall balance.


Costas Panagopoulos

On January 20, 2007, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton formally announced her intention to seek the Democratic Party’s 2008 nomination for president via the Internet. the Clinton announcement, delivered in a video featured on her Web site, followed a statement a few days earlier by Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama about his plans for a presidential run and was launched on the same day that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, another hopeful for the Democratic presidential nomination, declared his intentions—all on the Internet. in the 2006 midterm elections in the United States, Republican Senator George Allen’s bid for reelection in Virginia was seriously damaged by widespread online viewing of a speech on YouTube and other popular videosharing Web sites in which he referred to a young man of Indian ancestry associated with an opponent’s campaign as a “macaca,” a derogatory term. Allen eventually lost the election, narrowly. These unprecedented events signaled the start of a new era for the use of the Internet in political campaigns and marked the growing dominance of the medium as a political tool (MacAskill 2007).

A wide range of technological developments, most notably although not exclusively the Internet, has transformed the landscape of modern political campaigns. Technology has increasingly been featured in political campaigns throughout the world in prominent and unprecedented ways. Campaigns have capitalized on advancements in technology to inform, target and mobilize voters. Strategists, for example, increasingly rely on database management and Web-based tools to identify, monitor, and communicate with voters. Campaigns use software tools to recruit and manage staff and volunteers and to execute elaborate campaign plans. Software helps track campaign contributions and expenditures, facilitating required disclosure . . .

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