It’s 2012, and modern times are upon us. I have had the privilege of taking Government during a year for the Presidential Elections. Since its an election year, my class an I have gotten to take a look inside the election process, especially how candidates market themselves and attempt to sway voters. In these modern times, candidate’s ways of campaigning to their voters have changed. With the easy accessibility of the internet, candidates have turned to social media sites in order to reach their voters. In our Campaign Commercials unit, we learned about some popular campaign commercials through the years such as Nixon’s “McGoverns Defense,” and Reagan’s “Prouder, Stronger, Better.” After researching campaign commercials as well as creating Twitter accounts for government and being opened to Twitters political influence, I was inspired to further go into the modern form of campaigning.
I took to researching on my own and came upon a New York Times article that explains the instrumental role that technology plays in modern campaigning. The article focuses on President Obama’s use of the internet in the 2008 and compares it John F. Kennedy’s use of television in his running for presidency. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post argues that,“Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee.” One of the most popular social media sites utilized by candidates is Twitter. Presidential candidates have taken to Twitter to campaign to the public through the convenience of the site and the ability to develop seemingly personal relationships with their constituents. To add some factual evidence to the overwhelming introduction of technology to campaigning and the presidency; President Obama has 15,471,940 follower on Twitter! That staggering number confirms that modern times are upon us and presidential campaigning has taken a turn down the road of technology.
Next, the article focuses on President Obama’s very effective use of YouTube. President Obama was able to utilize YouTube as free advertising for his campaign. Instead of paying for millions in commercial costs, he was able to show millions of people his message through YouTube. President Obama’s most famous YouTube video has collected a little over 24 million views. Not only is the way of campaigning changing, but it is affective. Joe Trippi, who ran Howard Deans campaign in 2004 states, “The campaign’s official stuff they created for YouTube was watched for 14.5 million hours.” He then confirmed that, “To buy 14.5 million hours on broadcast TV is $47 million.” This is a perfect example of how campaigning has used modern technology as a beneficial way of communicating to the public.
It is obvious that campaigning has become modernized, and it can be seen happening today as campaigning continues for the 2012 election. However, is it effective? Does Mitt Romney’s Tweet or President Obama’s YouTube hit actually help the campaigning process? In response to my study in government class as well as my further studies on the topic, personally I would say the change to modern campaigning is beneficial. If such a powerful thing such as the internet is being un used, than why not utilize its potential? Electing a new president is such an important decision and the power of the internet should be used for something so important. By using technology, Presidential campaigning has become accessible to citizens. Candidates are able to convey their messages and ideas to millions of followers within seconds which gives candidates the ability to organize their supporters. Using the internet to campaign has given results and it is effective. Millions of people follow on Twitter and watch YouTube videos and messages are being conveyed through these sites. It is truly amazing the impact and the continuing change technology gives campaigning. As campaigning for the 2012 election continues, I look forward to being able to view and benefit from the use modern campaigning.