Campaign 2.0

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Get ConnectedHow are 2008 Presidential Candidates using the Internet in their campaigns? That’s what I wanted to find out when I started putting together data for Campaign 2.0: 2008 Presidential Campaigns and their Use of Web 2.0.

It all started when Don sent me a link to John Edwards’ page on Social Networking. I was astounded when I saw that his campaign had setup profiles on 20 different social networking sites. At first, I couldn’t believe that someone spent that much time getting setup on so many different networks… but then, I realized this might be really, really smart: his campaign can now be seen on twenty different, established networks.

Reviewing the websites of candidates that have formerly announced and/or filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission was eye-opening. Most Democrats are utilizing RSS feeds, and have setup accounts on one or more social networks. Few Republicans are offering an RSS feed. Only one is using a social network. All three Libertarian candidates are using RSS feeds, and two of the three are on multiple social networks – and one has included options to Digg the site, add to Del.icio.us bookmarks or view their Technorati profile. I’m not surprised that the Democrats are using technology like they are… but I am surprised by how little the Republicans are using the web…

This brings up a number of questions that I hope to have answered between now and November 2008:

  • Will using social networks (or Web 2.0) make a difference or will homegrown social networks be the real winner?
  • Will social networks “accept” candidates as legitimate participants in their communities? More specifically, will users “friend” candidates, comment on content submitted to the community, etc.?
  • Will candidates increase their use of existing social networks as we draw closer to the election?
  • Will Republicans use the web more?

For now, I’ll be detailing which social networks candidates (and providing links to their profiles and/or groups on each of those networks). As additional info becomes available, I’ll be updating the site. Of course, you can help with this too… if you know of any additional information that would be helpful with this table – let me know! You can email me at chris@cdharrison.com.

8 thoughts on “Campaign 2.0

  1. Interesting stuff…it makes perfect sense to utilize existing social networks to reach the younger generation of voters. I’m surprised the Republicans aren’t using the web more. I’m sure they’ll catch on eventually and copy the Democrats.

    It will be neat to see how they manage their “friends” and comments on the site. Of course, candidates will moderate all of these things. However, I wonder if over moderating will upset some people and prevent them from voting for the candidate. This is probably not likely because if their comment needed moderation they were not likely to vote in the first place. Nonetheless, it could end up in the free speech battle.

  2. I dunno… with some of these networks, there really isn’t room for moderation. If people post comments – they’re just there.

    With John Edwards’ campaign (and forgive me for always referring to him… he’s the “model” right now for all of this) he’s encouraging supporters to use the networks, place banners on their profiles, etc… showing support for his campaign. It’s yet to be seen how many of the candidates will actually use the networks to grow the support base.

    I too was surprised by how far behind the Republicans are in this area. I can’t imagine that all web designers and developers are anti-Republican. There’s probably some thought that the people they are trying to reach don’t use those sorts of sites, but I would tend to disagree. There’s a lot of new and undecided voters out there that could be on sites like MySpace, YouTube, etc… that could be influenced to vote for a candidate based on their online presence…

  3. It is the Howard Dean approach for the Democrats. In 2004 Dean raised much of his money through the web. Now with Dean in control of Democratic party it is only natural for the candidates to be using the web as an avenue to reach voters and raise money.

    I don’t think the Republicans have started to campaign on the scale that the Democrats have been for the past few months. By mid-2007, I thiink that there will be a strong push by the Republican party to counter the early campigning of Clinton and Obama. This push should include using the web as a campaign tool.

    The easter egg for these elections is the unknown (to add a bit to the original post). I think the Republicans are waiting to start their campaign because they strategically looking for a way to distance themselves from Bush. And the Democrats MUST find their own platform to stand on-the WE HATE BUSH campaign will not win the election. Furthermore, I don’t think the Democratic Party nomination is on the campaign trail today. I think they have a bomb shell to drop with a candidate who will be popular to everyone.

    But no matter who the nominees are it is sure that the web and how the candidates are able to use it will play a key role in the 08 election.

  4. Nick: Good points. It is still pretty early, and you’re right – Republican’s haven’t started to campaign like the Democrats. I think this is a huge mistake, though. No one has emerged as a clear front-runner for the Republicans. Sure, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani… they’re all possibilities. But none of them are really strong candidates.

  5. Interesting stuff…it makes perfect sense to utilize existing social networks to reach the younger generation of voters. I’m surprised the Republicans aren’t using the web more. I’m sure they’ll catch on eventually and copy the Democrats.

    It will be neat to see how they manage their “friends” and comments on the site. Of course, candidates will moderate all of these things. However, I wonder if over moderating will upset some people and prevent them from voting for the candidate. This is probably not likely because if their comment needed moderation they were not likely to vote in the first place. Nonetheless, it could end up in the free speech battle.

  6. I dunno… with some of these networks, there really isn’t room for moderation. If people post comments – they’re just there.

    With John Edwards’ campaign (and forgive me for always referring to him… he’s the “model” right now for all of this) he’s encouraging supporters to use the networks, place banners on their profiles, etc… showing support for his campaign. It’s yet to be seen how many of the candidates will actually use the networks to grow the support base.

    I too was surprised by how far behind the Republicans are in this area. I can’t imagine that all web designers and developers are anti-Republican. There’s probably some thought that the people they are trying to reach don’t use those sorts of sites, but I would tend to disagree. There’s a lot of new and undecided voters out there that could be on sites like MySpace, YouTube, etc… that could be influenced to vote for a candidate based on their online presence…

  7. It is the Howard Dean approach for the Democrats. In 2004 Dean raised much of his money through the web. Now with Dean in control of Democratic party it is only natural for the candidates to be using the web as an avenue to reach voters and raise money.

    I don’t think the Republicans have started to campaign on the scale that the Democrats have been for the past few months. By mid-2007, I thiink that there will be a strong push by the Republican party to counter the early campigning of Clinton and Obama. This push should include using the web as a campaign tool.

    The easter egg for these elections is the unknown (to add a bit to the original post). I think the Republicans are waiting to start their campaign because they strategically looking for a way to distance themselves from Bush. And the Democrats MUST find their own platform to stand on-the WE HATE BUSH campaign will not win the election. Furthermore, I don’t think the Democratic Party nomination is on the campaign trail today. I think they have a bomb shell to drop with a candidate who will be popular to everyone.

    But no matter who the nominees are it is sure that the web and how the candidates are able to use it will play a key role in the 08 election.

  8. Nick: Good points. It is still pretty early, and you’re right – Republican’s haven’t started to campaign like the Democrats. I think this is a huge mistake, though. No one has emerged as a clear front-runner for the Republicans. Sure, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani… they’re all possibilities. But none of them are really strong candidates.

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