social media and the u.s. election: introduction

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slides from October 22, 2012, the introductory session of the course Social Media and the U.S. Election. The course is taught by Janelle Ward and hosted by the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


  • 1.Social Media andthe U.S. @janelle_ward

2. Why study social media in a political context? In 2008, Obama raised half a billion dollars raised online; 2 million onlinesupporter profiles created. In 2008, the social media winner won the election In 2012? (iProspect infographic; sources: sources: Borrell Associates, Compete, Facebook, Google,Pew Research, Twitter & comScore) 3. Social media in a political context Obama vs. Romney in the world of social media(Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest,Instagram, Spotify) Tumblr: younger, niche audience = more spirited content (77 million blogs) Twitter: usage has multiplied 10 times since the 2008 election, with 500 million users (use for donations, travel details, glimpses into their personal lives) 4. Social media in a political context Obama vs. Romney in the world of social media Facebook: one of the most influential (as of 9/2012, overone billion active users); candidates seek to influence theflow of content (via shares and likes) YouTube: video ads, personal videos, live chats (800million users/month) Pinterest: Michelle Obama and Ann Romney (over 10million visits/week) Instagram: candid pictures of the candidates (30 million+accounts) 5. Why study social media in general? Greenpeace International: a campaigning orgusing social media ininnovative ways KLM: Meet & Seat letspassengers connectsocial media profiles tocheck-in informationand choose a seatingpartner 6. Questions to keep in mind How are political actors using social media to inform andengage citizens? (Producing the campaign) How does social media influence citizen/audience/consumerengagement? (Consuming the campaign) How important is (social) media campaigning in determiningthe winner? What role does social media play in the election campaign? 7. Questions to keep in mindStudying social media in general:Which platform should I target?Where can I find my target audience?How should I talk to my target audience online?How can I share interesting content & create engagement?How can I change peoples minds via social media and earn their trust andloyalty? 8. What to expect from this course Four sessions Introduction (this week) Producing the Campaign (29 October) Consuming the Campaign (5 November) Aftermath (12 November) (voluntary) assignments Lots of inspiring examples and discussion Feel free to bring your laptops! 9. Following the course Facebook group Social Media and the U.S. Election Relevant news, images, links Course slides will also be posted here 10. Recommended readings 11. Recommended readings Bruce Bimber and Richard Davis (2003). Campaigning online: TheInternet in U.S. elections. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Erik Qualman (2011). Socialnomics: How social media transforms theway we live and do business. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Clay Shirky (2011). The political power of social media: Technology,the public sphere, and political change. Foreign Affairs. 12. Introductions Name/origin/occupation Reason for signing up for this course (political junkie? social media fan?etc.) Favorite social media platform and why 13. What do you want to focus on? Specifically about social media? Specifically about campaigning online? production? content? effects? 14. For next week Choose a topic and/or social media platform to followthis week, and report back! Can be about the campaign or another topic as long as its related to social media For the campaign: 5 Cool Ways to Follow the 2012 Elections Online 15. Resources Nonpartisan campaign news sites. Elections section of Google News a continuous feed of news stories and commentary from sources across the political spectrum Yahoo! News Elections a smaller, more selective collection of stories from the Associated Press, Reuters, National Journal etc., as well as stories by its own staffers RealClearPolitics also offers a lineup of commentary and news stories Facebook. U.S. Politics page tracks how the candidates are using social media to reach voters CNNs Im Voting app is a continuous online poll of Facebook users (source) 16. Resources YouTube. The YouTube Politics page provides user-generated videos and unedited recording of debates/speeches, plus clips of political commercials and interviews with pollsters explaining the latest numbers Polling and Electoral College simulations. The Internets leading aggregator of polling information is RealClearPolitics, which also provides a Create Your Own Map page that allows you to see what would happen if, say, one candidate wins Florida but the other wins Ohio and Virginia (source) 17. Resources Smart Phone apps. The New York Times bills its Election 2012 app, available in iPhone and Android versions, as thebest campaign coverage anywhere, with news, opinion, polls and election-night results Talking Points Memo, a news and commentary site, offers PollTracker Mobile, a free iPhone appthat allows you to track the latest presidential polls If youre a Democrat, you may want to get Progressive News, a free iPhone app that provides newsheadlines, videos and podcasts with a liberal bent (theres also an Android version) Republicans have their own analog, Conservative Pulse, but in keeping with the partys free-market, pro-business outlook, the iPhone app costs 99 cents Theres also Dollarocracy, an iPhone app from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics thatlets you follow the money in the U.S. political system TWatcher 2012 Elections Edition for the iPhone lets you aggregate all the tweets about a singlecandidate Another iPhone app, 270toWin, lets you run simulations with various combinations of states, soyou can see what your candidates path to that magic number is at any given moment 18. Resources Official listings of candidate websites: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC): National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): If you prefer a corporate focus: Or from BlogWell: 19. How to structure your examination Primary question for next week (producing the campaign): How are political actors using social media to inform and engage citizens? Examine your case/social media platform from theproducers perspective (the candidates campaign, thecorporation, the NGO, etc.) Please bring relevant images/text/video to share!


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