Politics & Media
May 30, 2008, 06:05AM

The will.i.am Effect

This campaign season the Internet is playing a more critical role in politics than ever before, whether through Barack Obama's fundraising success or the rapid spread of incriminating viral videas. As politics moves to the online world of instant media, will the problems of a "permament campaign" style of government just get worse?

"In the political climate of the information age—with its expanded cultural politics, easier transnational travel, increased competition within TV media itself, and the development of social media—the permanent campaign is a must. This kind of marketing requires a large number of decidedly partisan staff and volunteers, usually taking the form of extremely opinionated bloggers. This may be where the Internet has changed politics the most: blogs have become an important part of the election process to influence political writers in more traditional newsmedia.

Perhaps the turn to web-based campaigning is a rehash of a simpler time when people would have known their candidates through face-to-face meetings. Although Internet campaigning and social media is still small in its influence compared to television and public appearances, social media is an area in which uncensored opinions can be divulged and people can contest a statement publicly without regard to political correctness. In this way, the biases that would have been imposed through television and newspapers can be removed. Videos on Youtube and Facebook profiles might seem to divulge more about the personality of each candidate. Social media may change what it means for a candidate to win office based on reputation.



  • Of course the permanent campaign will intensify, for better or worse. One quibble with the article: "transnational travel" may be easier for wealthy political candidates, but for the rest of the country it's harder and more time-consuming than ever.

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