Where Politics meets Social Media?

By: Brian Molinari

With the increased popularity of Social Media, it seems like everyone is trying to tap that resource like a secret oil well. The problem is, now everyone knows! It seemed like at first this movement was predominantly in the youth. From there, Democrats had the upper hand, but now everyone has jumped into the race.

ProjectVirginia is a conservative effort aimed at taking back some of the social media world that seems to have been dominated by Barack Obama videos and democratic blogs. This conservative blog, with the tagline: “Where politics meets social media,” is not paid for by a specific campaign or party member(s).  At its basic function, this blog-based website tells the people of Virginia whats happening in the GOP party. It has blog posts with stories about politicians and their agendas but it also has a whole lot more under the surface.

ProjectVirginia uses Twitter and Facebook statuses and comments, as well as its main blog to increase awareness about politics. They are using social media to inform and attract grown adults, making them want to support the GOP. This also works in their favor when attracting young voters and civilians. Among all blogs on the internet, ProjectVirginia is ranked 1910. That is very successful considering  they focus mostly on Virginian conservatives.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, McCain tried to launch an agenda on the web to spread word of his policies. They offered prizes and gifts for people who sent stories, links, and videos in supporting McCain across the internet. Little did they know,  they could host a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page themselves. Believe it or not, this campaign for social media support did little to nothing when compared to Barack Obama’s social media blitz.

ProjectVirginia stretches their audience out by blogging about national issues, politicians, or ideas. One of the stories on the main page was actually a blog post about the relationship between John McCain and MTV’s “Snooki”. Yes, that’s right. McCain and ‘Snooki” are Twitter friends, posting tweets back and forth wishing the reality star a happy birthday and even diving into issues like taxes on tanning salons. This culture jam, mixing a former presidential candidate with a current reality tv star is something that has spawned from the current social media outbreak. In the past, there would be no communication between two people of these types. Now with Social Media, politicians can seek out new supporters by connecting with celebs through social media.

Websites and blogs like this should become more popular and they are finding out how to reach the emotions of party supporters. Politicians are realizing that they need to tap this well of untouched riches. Blogging is a great way to connect with new voters and old supporters. It offers easy ways to connect your blog with any other social media outlet, such as twitter and facebook. This social media barrage can help politicians spread the word about their policies, local gatherings, and also can be used to spread stories that may drum up support for their conservative cause. The blog offers up to the second access, and always has a place on the web for citizens to look at it now or in the future.

Resources:

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/11/03/snapshot-of-presidential-candidate-social-networking-stats-nov-2-2008/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/06/AR2008080603589_pf.html
http://www.wikio.com/sources/projectvirginia.com-HhOOo
http://projectvirginia.com/mccain-snooki-resume-tweeting-over-birthday/
http://twitter.com/projectvirginia

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Vote for @BarackObama!

By: Kimberly Cervone

It has been noted by hundreds of observers that President Barack Obama has an impeccable presence on the Internet, through social media. The role of social media and the Internet played a huge role in Obama’s success during the presidential campaign, post-inauguration and still today. “Obama decided that he wants to make social media tools a permanent part of his political strategy.” [1] Obama’s promise to the people was to be an easily accessible president through social media. His image and ideas were all over Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and the blogosphere.

Barack Obama joined Twitter in April 2007 prior to the election. During the campaign there was an abundance of Twitter use by Obama, he updated his account at least once a day with news, information and videos.  Soon after his inauguration the @BarackObama account seemed to be less of a priority and the @WhiteHouse account became the main focus. The Obama Team tweets constantly from this account.

 

Obama’s usage of Facebook and MySpace during the campaign was to reach out to Obama’s social media followers. “Barack Obama has made history with his Facebook/MySpace usage.”[2] Since MySpace has slowly become less used as a site in general. His Facebook updates are still flowing with newsfeeds, videos, links, and pictures. Barack Obama is the number one most “liked” page on Facebook. Obama’s inauguration was posted on Facebook, and was viewed by millions of people.

During the campaign Obama used YouTube to add touching stories and to give people a look at his personal life behind the scenes. These efforts were beneficial because they were both personal and very active. Although Obama does still use his personal account, most of the posts come from the user The White House Channel. Practically, every day a new video is posted, whether it is his weekly video addresses, live video press conferences and town halls. These are much more effective as easily accessible visuals, then a simple radio address. These videos have certainly increased his social media press conference.

During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, both candidates had a strong blogging presence. Post-inauguration, Obama worked from two primary blogs Organizing for America Blog, and The White House Blog. The Barack Obama Team frequently updates both of these blogs. However, it has been discussed on numerous sites that the people see a personal post from Obama himself every now and then, rather then his team.

Barack Obama’s use of social media has been phenomenal.  He started with a strong online presence, and his image continues to flourish. With the help of his team, Obama will be remembered for his great quantity of social media use.

 

Resources:

Ostrow, Adam. “How Will President Obama Use His Massive Social Media Influence?” Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. <http://mashable.com/2008/11/05/obama-social-media/&gt;.

Parr, Ben. “Obama: Does He Pass the Social Media Test?” Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. Web. 10 Nov. 2010. <http://mashable.com/2009/07/04/obama-social-media-scorecard/&gt;.

 


Twitter and the Iranian Revolution

 

Twitter and the Iranian Revolution

 

By: Lauren Loverde

Background:

The political events that transpired during and after the 2009 Iranian election attracted an enormous amount of global attention, particularly due to social media. As an independent service for communication, Twitter became a preferred vehicle to broadcast events as they unfolded both within the country of Iran and to an international audience. [1]

During summer 2009, the world’s eyes were fixated on Iran. Questions were raised after Ahmadinejad was declared the winner over rival Mousavi in Iran’s Presidential elections. The potential tampering of ballots resulted in massive protests that engulfed the Islamic nation and caused a chain reaction of events that no one could have anticipated.

This graph shows the amount of tweets containing #iranelection and not containing it.

Iranian citizen’s erupted on Saturday, June 13, 2010, when the Iranian election results were revealed, announcing Ahmadinejad as the winner. It didn’t take long for supporters of presidential candidate Mousavi to take to the street in protest.

The protests became increasingly violent and on June 14th, Iran did its best to prevent the free flow of information from inside the struggling country to the outside world.

“Since the results of Iran’s presidential election were announced, with voting taking place on Friday (June 12, 2009) , chaos has ruled the country. Foreign correspondents have been kicked out, local media has not been allowed to report as power has been shut down, and the only place for people to turn to has been, unbelievably enough, Twitter.”Katy Burtner, Examiner.com

How Do You Communicate When All Forms Of Media Are Cut Off?

With the Iranian government quickly losing control of its citizens, it took drastic measures to ensure that the situation didn’t escalate globally. By clamping down on traditional forms of media, Iran brought the free flow of information to screeching halt.

As a country, Iran was persistent in its goal of keeping information of the protests within its borders. With access to Gmail completely restricted,  reporters and media outlets that were present inside the country were unable to communicate with the outside world. With Iran blocking the lines of communication they were essentially “trapping the media within the Iranian borders.”

Satellite interference prevented news outlets from broadcasting information out of the country. NBC News offices headquartered in Tehran, were raided by Iran’s regime with cameras and other equipment being confiscated. BBC World Service accused the Iranian government of “jamming its broadcasts.”[2] In his article on Iran’s role in the blockage of media during this time, Peter Horrocks said that “satellite technicians have traced the interference and it is coming from Iran…it seems to be part of a pattern of behavior by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election.”[3]

If It Weren’t For Twitter…

With Iran eliminating the media’s access to conventional forms of media,  journalists turned to other social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to disperse information about the events taking place inside of Iran. The use of Twitter to communicate about these events is a striking instance where the spread of behaviors and ideas occurred entirelyonline.

Social media’s role in the Iran Election crisis started with #CNNFail, but that was only the beginning . As word began to spread about the events taking place in Iran, users of social media were outraged by the “lack of media coverage.” Twitter users began tweeting, adopting the hashtag #CNNFail to highlight a lack of Iran coverage from the news organization. Becoming a trending topic on Twitter is no small task and should not be taken lightly. In order for a topic to become “trending” it must be re-tweeted and tagged in multiple tweets.

According to an article on Mashable.com, between June 7th and June 27th there were nearly 2,024,166 tweets about Iran. #IranRevolution also became a trending topic on Twitter and close to 480,000 Twitter users joined the conversation.[4] Iran had the free flow of information under such a high level of security  that countries began to see the value of tweets coming from Iranian citizens and members of the general media.

Twitter’s role was so important in fact that the U.S. government became involved in the technical side of the site. Twitter had a scheduled system update planned during the height of the Iranian protests causing a stir among United States officials. The United States asked Twitter executives to delay the update in order to allow Iranian citizens to continue to real-time tweet about the events happening within their country. [5]

Social media played a huge part in the dissemination of information during the Iranian protests in 2009. If anything the world witnessed the importance of a social media network like Twitter and how valuable it can be in times of crisis.  There are several ways in which Twitter and social media helped to keep information coming out of Iran.

1. It has helped Iranians communicate with each other.

2. It has helped Iranians communicate with the outside world.

3. It has helped the rest of the world communicate with both Iranians and others who sympathize with the protesters.[6]

The Impact of Social Media:

Imagine what little insight the world would have had about the Iranian protests if reporters and citizens had not relied on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to disseminate information. The pieces of information that were received, and the images sent around the world broadcast a message that needed to be heard.

YouTube and Flickr brought the world photos of the protests, while Twitter and Facebook provided small pieces of information and viral videos of events as they were happening. Not only did social media  give the world the ability to see what was happening, despite Iran’s efforts to keep everything inside the country, but it also demonstrated citizen journalism at its finest.

People like Neda Soltani, who lost her life after being shot during a protest in Iran, will never be forgotten because of the viral video that was spread across various websites including Facebook and YouTube. Key moments were recorded and spread like wildfire, creating an outpouring of support for the protesters. The videos that Iranian citizens took and uploaded to the web put faces to the issue.

Resources:

Cashmore, Peter. “Staggering #IranElection Stats: 2 Million+ Total Tweets.” Mashable.com. Published: November 2009. Retrieved: November 2010. http://mashable.com/2009/07/01/iranelection-stats/

Horrocks, Peter. “Stop the Blocking Now.” BBC World News. Published: June 14, 2010. Retrieved: November 12, 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2009/06/stop_the_blocking_now.html

“Twitter’s Role in the Iranian Revolution.” Published: June 16, 2009. Retrieved: November 12, 2010. http://www.politicsonline.com/blog/archives/2009/06/twitters_role_i.php

Parr, Ben. “#IranElection Crisis: A Social Media Timeline.”Published: November 2009. Retrieved: November 2010. http://mashable.com/2009/06/21/iran-election-timeline/

Parr, Ben. “Social Media’s True Impact on Haiti, China and the World.” Published: October 2009. Retrieved: December 2010.  http://mashable.com/2009/06/14/cnnfail/

Cashmore, Peter. “#CNNFail: Twitter Blasts CNN Over Iran Election.” Published: December 2009. Retrieved: December 2010.  http://mashable.com/2009/06/14/cnnfail/

Morozov, Evgeny. “Iran’s Propaganda Hits The Spinternet.” Published: December 2009. Retrieved: December 2010.  http://www.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/12/29/morozov.dicatorships.internet/index.html?iref=allsearch


SMAC Interactive

ARE YOUR MEDIA HABITS OVERWHELMING?

The Global SMAC explores our media habits. The video looks at humanities media habits from cave men to the Internet age. It can get a bit overwhelming listening and watching the video….but isn’t that point.

SOCIAL MEDIA A BOON TO POLITICS?

The Global SMAC hits the pavement to ask people about their knowledge of politics…that’s right you heard us right, we actually talked to people….in real life. What we found out might be disturbing to some.

THE FUTURE IS NOW!

The future is a scary place or at least it would be if our predictions came true. Before the video read our predictions below….you just might want to die now before this comes true.

In the year 2000…

–          The Presidential election of 2008 for the United States cost a combined total of $5.3 billion.

–          The LA Times recognizes Facebook as a viable advertising venue for local businesses.

–          Social Media is used by political campaigns to raise support for their candidate. It is largely a success.

–          Twitter is recognized by Starbucks patrons as something useful for civic engagement.

In the year 2010…

–          Facebook reaches 500 million users

–          Political campaigns look towards Social Media to build a grass roots campaign.

In the year 2012…

–          Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected to the United States Senate, largely in part to his superstar image created by a grass roots movement from Social Media outlets.

–          The Goldstein-Schwarzenegger Act of 2012 makes it possible for anyone of legal age to run for President of  the United States.

In the year 2020…

–          Google and Amazon merge creating Googazon.

–          To combat Googazon’s takeover of the advertising market, Facebook, Twitter and Apple create the Apple Universal.

–          Apple Universal creates Twitface by combining Twitter with Facebook.

–          Microsoft buys Youtube  for $70 billion.

In the Year 2030…

–          Microsoft develops a holographic communicator, making traditional phones and computers obsolete.

–          Microsoft successfully develops microchip implant that enables information to be accessed only by thinking.

–          Googazon becomes the undisputed tool used on the Internet for information.

–          Googazon and Microsoft develop Consumer Tracker, which makes decisions for people based on their actions.

–          The executive board of Apple Universal is appointed as the Intercommunications Chiefs of the FCC.

In the year 2040…

–          Microsoft reanimates Bill Gates’ personality in Apple Universal’s iBot.

–          The Bill Gates iBot runs for President, The Supreme Court upholds his right to run.

–          Lifebook is created. It aggregates all information about the user, including purchases, thoughts, and important decisions into one space.

–          McDonalds uses Lifebook to track customer’s purchases and suggest meal combinations for them.

–          Apple Universal launches a news branch based off of status updates and remarks coming from Twitface. It quickly becomes popular with Starbucks patrons.

In the year 2050…

–          The traditional medium of television has become extinct; the Internet is now the main provider of entertainment and information.

–          The iBot 5 Bill Gates wins a third Presidential term. The campaign cost is only $500 million.

–          Fox News and MSNBC form MS Fox, with all content being produced by anyone across the globe and compiled by only 100 employees.

–          CNN and ABC no longer exist, leaving MS Fox being the last of the news organizations.

In the year 2060…

–          Lifebook is bought by Googazon for $1.5 trillion.

–          The North American Federation is formed and mandates that all citizens be registered with Lifebook.

–          Googazon partners with McDonalds and Burger King to develop better customer service.

–          Voting for government officials becomes available only through Googazon accounts.

–          The Supreme Court of the NAF allows corporations to run for office.

–          Apple Universal is the first corporation to run for President. Apple Universal is defeated at the polls.

In the year 2070…

–          A record of 1,456 candidates run for President. The typical campaign only cost $10 million.

–          95% of the population votes in the elections, citing Googazon’s easy to use format and helpful reviews on candidates.

In the year 2080…

–          The General of Electric wins the Presidency in a landslide.

–          Campaigning is only done through Googazon and Apple Universal. Federal laws mandate that a candidate must have more than 5,000 reviews from a state to appear on the ballot.

–          MS Fox partners with Googazon to shut out Apple Universal from the news market. The Supreme Court rules that MS Fox and Googazon’s partnership constitutes a monopoly and is blocked.

–          Media is no longer divided up into categories like radio, television, and internet, but is now referred to as The Connection.

In the year 2090…

–          The average campaign cost only $100,000 due to the elimination of separate mediums on information.

–          Voting is done for you, based on your decisions, profile, and purchases, through Googazon’s Consumer Tracker.

–          It is common place for corporations to use their mascots as candidates for public office.

In the year 2100…

–          Burger King runs for president. The slogan “A Wopper for you, is a vote for me!” is used.

–          Mayor McCheese of McDonalds announces his bid for the presidency.

–          Record Burger sales are seen through Googazon’s Consumer Tracker.

–          The Supreme Court rules that it is cruel and unusual punishment to sever convict’s link with The Connection for the length of their sentence.