Monday, February 24, 2014

Jennifer Stromer-Galley's "Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age"

Jennifer Stromer-Galley is Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age, and reported the following:
So, when I open Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age to page 99, which is embedded in the chapter that details the 2004 presidential campaigns, the following sentences that start the three paragraphs on this page jump out at me:
Of all the presidential campaigns, Howard Dean's organization established the digital media team as central in the campaign, a key component to the success the candidate enjoyed.

If the celebration for Dean's meteoric rise rested on DCTs [Digital Communication Technologies], part of the cause of the campaign's demise was in its organization and strategy.

A second cause of trouble [for the Dean campaign] was advertising.
In short, this page summarizes what were some of the factors of candidate Dean's success as well as factors that lead to his demise in 2004.

This page encapsulates well the work I try to do in this book, which is fourfold: a) provide a history of presidential campaigns—not only the winners, but the also-rans—and their strategic uses of digital media as part of campaigning since 1996; b) examine the uses of digital media in the campaign within the context of other elements of the campaign, including fundraising, organization, and the social, technological, and political context that drove strategy during the campaign, to name a few; and c) examine and explain the functions that campaigns see digital media having that might give them the strategic edge over their opponents; d) provide greater understanding of how strategies by the campaigns have changed over time, as we have moved from the age of mass messaging to that of networked messaging.

If readers are hoping for a starry-eyed assessment of how digital media contributes to democracy, they won't find that in this book. Unfortunately, campaigns aren't using digital media to try and lift up our democracy by genuinely engaging ordinary people in the political process. Instead, what I provide in this book are the stories of the ways campaigns, from Bob Dole to Barack Obama, provide controlled interactivity to citizens in order to mobilize enough of them to help the candidate win on Election Day.
Learn more about Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue