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Net Politics Come of Age J50 Lecture November 10, 2004 Carole Bell A Brief Timeline of Net Campaigning 1992 1 st presidential campaign sites 1996 Electronic Brochureware 2000 Interactivity & e-mail 2004 Critical Mass 2004 Headlines Video Games With a Political Message

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net politics come of age

Net Politics Come of Age

J50 Lecture November 10, 2004

Carole Bell

a brief timeline of net campaigning
A Brief Timeline of Net Campaigning
  • 1992 1st presidential campaign sites
  • 1996 Electronic Brochureware
  • 2000 Interactivity & e-mail
  • 2004 Critical Mass
2004 headlines
2004 Headlines

Video Games With a Political Message

2004 considered a tipping point
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?
2004 critical mass
2004: Critical Mass

Focus on three key aspects:

  • Money
  • Mobilization
  • Message
2004 internet critical mass
2004: Internet Critical Mass
  • Money
  • Mobilization
  • Message control
money raising funds online
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.

money raising funds online10
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.

money viral elements
Money: Viral Elements
  • Online fundraisers
  • Site tracked my progress
  • When my contacts donate, I get credit
money internet spending
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
2004 internet critical mass13
2004: Internet Critical Mass
  • Money
  • Mobilization
  • Message control
mobilization the ground game
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
mobilization the ground game15
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
mobilization the ground game16
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
mobilization grass roots
Mobilization: Grass Roots
  • Bottom up, not top down
  • – 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
      • Innovator
      • Different action campaign every week
      • Technology - online conference calls with leaders such as Michael Moore
    • Football fans for Truth
2004 internet critical mass18
2004: Internet Critical Mass
  • Money
  • Mobilization
  • Message
message dissemination
Message: Dissemination

New patterns of information dissemination emerged

message strategy 1 leverage influence
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

online political citizens
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

virtual spin alley
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
virtual spin alley23
Virtual Spin Alley
  • End benefits
    • Message diffusion – increased reach and frequency
    • Message control – Everyone “on message”
    • Counterpoint to/influence on mainstream media
message strategy 2 make it funny
Message Strategy 2: Make it Funny

Traditional form - editorial cartoons - used in a new way

bring traditional media online
Bring Traditional Media Online

Traditional form - editorial cartoons - used in a new way

mix new media and humor
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
humor messaging
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

RNC: Kerryopoly

Source: GOP Webmaster, Katie Harbath - Communications

dccc republican survivor
DCCC: Republican Survivor

More than Entertainment – Persuasion


message strategy 3 target
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

targeted ads
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:

*Source: IPDI :“Under the Radar and Over the Top”

bush cheney coalition of the wild eyed
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
527 ad swift boat vets for truth
527 Ad: Swift Boat Vets For Truth

“Unfit,” Swift Boat Veterans for Truth

527 ad bush in 30 seconds
527 Ad: Bush in 30 Seconds

“Child’s Play,”

message impact beyond influentials
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
message info market segments
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.
message info market segments39
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.
other developments
Other Developments
  • Blogging matures
    • 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
research resources
Research Resources
  • IPDI
    • Center for research on Internet and political life
    • Library of online political video
  • Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project
    • Opinion surveys, statistics, analysis
  • Party databases
online readings
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
net politics come of age43

Net Politics Come of Age

J50 Lecture November 10, 2004

Carole Bell