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Net Politics Come of Age

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  1. Net Politics Come of Age J50 Lecture November 10, 2004 Carole Bell

  2. A Brief Timeline of Net Campaigning • 1992 1st presidential campaign sites • 1996 Electronic Brochureware • 2000 Interactivity & e-mail • 2004 Critical Mass

  3. 2004 Headlines Video Games With a Political Message

  4. 2004 Considered A Tipping Point Internet a “driving force in the campaign” • Why was 2004 such a pivotal time for the Internet as a force in the presidential campaigns? • How was the Internet used in 2004 versus previous years? • To what end? What impact did this have?

  5. Sophisticated Multipurpose Sites

  6. Sophisticated Multipurpose Sites

  7. 2004: Critical Mass Focus on three key aspects: • Money • Mobilization • Message

  8. 2004: Internet Critical Mass • Money • Mobilization • Message control

  9. Money: Raising funds online • Most expensive election • Flow increased to both parties • Huge increase in fundraising online • 2000 McCain raised $4 million (a record) • 2004 Dean >$40 million • 2004 Kerry >$56 million ($3m in 1 day) • Bush raised $4.2 million during spring 04* Source: October 2004 Pew Study. Note: GOP does not release official data.

  10. Money: Raising funds online • Facilitated major growth in small donations • Unprecedented number of donations under $200 • Helped Kerry achieve parity with GOP • Fostered grass roots involvement Source: October 2004 Pew Study. Note: GOP does not release official data.

  11. Money: Viral Elements • Online fundraisers • Site tracked my progress • When my contacts donate, I get credit

  12. Money: Internet Spending • Lesser increase in spending/investment by GOP and DEM online • Larger budgets for site build and online advertising • Online advertising expenditure still just a fraction of television spend • $2.7m online media spend by primary players 1-8/04 • $100m TV in same period

  13. 2004: Internet Critical Mass • Money • Mobilization • Message control

  14. Mobilization: “The Ground Game” • Huge focus on swing states strained resources in other areas • Internet filled an important gap • Volunteers empowered in non-swing states (N.C.) – plugged in online • Some registration and GOTV efforts decentralized • Access to central campaign resources – platform, posters, brochures, merchandise, and names

  15. Mobilization: The Ground Game • Personalized home page- “Carole’s precinct” • My recruitment and fundraising stats in real-time • Always current • Suggests activities for me • Online chat

  16. Mobilization: The Ground Game • Action center - members could use site to organize events - House parties • Viral components • Weakness on back-end - raised expectations when some local campaigns not ready for volunteers

  17. Mobilization: Grass Roots • Bottom up, not top down • Meetup.com – helped people connect to each other and to campaigns • “527” Groups - did more than advertise • Continuous calls to action on Internet and e-mail • Moveon www.Moveon.org • Innovator • Different action campaign every week • Technology - online conference calls with leaders such as Michael Moore • Football fans for Truth • http://www.footballfansfortruth.us/index.php

  18. 2004: Internet Critical Mass • Money • Mobilization • Message

  19. Message: Dissemination New patterns of information dissemination emerged

  20. Message Strategy 1: Leverage Influence • Emergence of “Online political Citizens” (OPCs) • Use Internet to participate in politics • visit sites, join discussion groups, read blogs, contribute • Internet, media-oriented, e-mail is lifeline • Have substantial e-mail networks Source: IPDI Study

  21. Online Political Citizens • OPCs as powerful communication tool • Majority are Influentials (69%) - opinion leaders & trendsetters with friends & neighbors • Influentials disproportionately likely to exert “multiplier effect” outward to the public • “canaries in the mineshaft for looming political ideas” Source: IPDI Study

  22. Virtual Spin Alley • OPIs enabled heightened spin control • Rapid response teams craft message in answer to opposition and events • Teams drive message out to OPCs and OPCs to official sites • Sites tools help Influentials get message to their networks and media: • E-mail/letter copy for print, talking points for radio, & contact info for media outlets

  23. Virtual Spin Alley • End benefits • Message diffusion – increased reach and frequency • Message control – Everyone “on message” • Counterpoint to/influence on mainstream media

  24. Message Strategy 2: Make it Funny Traditional form - editorial cartoons - used in a new way

  25. Bring Traditional Media Online Traditional form - editorial cartoons - used in a new way

  26. Mix New Media and Humor • Innovative Internet-only creative • The new editorial page • Combines information & entertainment • New media and humor • More irreverent tone compared with traditional media • Animation • Extended animated weekly series • Interactive games

  27. Humor Messaging • Key benefits • Can be more effective than traditional advertising • Improved message recall • Innately viral, popular with “online influentials” • Teflon negative campaign • Format softens strong political messages • Uses surrogates – Survivor not hosted on K-E site • Candidates remain at a distance from negativity

  28. GOP: A Nightmare in the Senate

  29. RNC: Kerryopoly Source: GOP Webmaster, Katie Harbath - Communications

  30. DCCC: Republican Survivor More than Entertainment – Persuasion Source: www.driptv.org

  31. DCCC: Strong Call to Action

  32. Message Strategy 3: Target • Narrow-casting • Different message, creative for niche segments • More efficient – precise targeting by geography, issues, demographics, less waste • Bush: middleclass women and voters in battleground states in May ($403,000 of $419,000 total). • Kerry: progressive outlets in metropolitan areas Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project Memo 10/04

  33. Targeted Ads • Online only ads & traditional videos • Carry harsher attacks and more loose with their factual claims • Also used to drive spin post-debate • Viral – “red meat” spread via OPIs • Most sponsored by “527s” groups* • Begin narrow, but sometimes cross over • Political video archive: http://www.ipdi.org/videolibrary/ *Source: IPDI :“Under the Radar and Over the Top”

  34. Bush-Cheney Coalition of the Wild-Eyed • “Kerry’s Coalition of the Wild-Eyed” • Video Embedded in E-mail • Uses footage of Nazi interspersed with Kerry, Dean, Gephardt & Gore

  35. 527 Ad: Swift Boat Vets For Truth “Unfit,” Swift Boat Veterans for Truth

  36. 527 Ad: Bush in 30 Seconds “Child’s Play,” Moveon.org

  37. Message Impact: Beyond Influentials How are these messages received? • Internet influences information consumption across the board • Positive effect on the number of political messages people remember • Information market segments • Different groups receive info differently

  38. Message: Info Market Segments • Omnivores (43%) • Information intense • Have heard three or more of the four arguments about each candidate • Selective Reinforcers (29%) • Filter out contrary information - 29% of respondents who support Kerry or Bush • Have heard three or more arguments that favor their candidate, but only two or fewer in favor of the other candidate.

  39. Message: Info Market Segments • Tuned Outs (21%) • Support one of the two candidates but tune out of political debates. • Have heard two or fewer arguments about either candidate. • Contrarians (8%) • Support a specific candidate, know comparatively few of the arguments in favor of that candidate • But a lot about the candidate they do not support.

  40. Other Developments • Blogging matures • Msnbc.com blog awards • Conventions provide bloggers with press credentials • Monetization • Intelliseek, a marketing analytics firm that helps companies and brands measure buzz and word-of-mouth, has launched

  41. Research Resources • IPDI • Center for research on Internet and political life • Library of online political video http://www.ipdi.org/videolibrary/ • Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project • Opinion surveys, statistics, analysis • http://www.pewinternet.org/ • Party databases

  42. Online Readings • Internet and Politics • Internet and Democratic Debate • Grassroots Politics with the Click of a Mouse • Political Video Games • Video Games With a Political Message

  43. Net Politics Come of Age J50 Lecture November 10, 2004 Carole Bell