What are the trends in social and digital media that will help shape the 2012 presidential election? What can we learn from grassroots election efforts like Rock the Vote, now in its 20th year, contrasted with the very short history and transformational social media tactics used in recent presidential politics? Is it a natural evolution of activism, is it disruptive? If so - how? Join PBS NewsHour moderator Christina Bellantoni and panelists Mary Katharine Ham (radio host/political commentator); Maria Teresa Kumar (founding executive director, Voto Latino); Craig Newmark (founder craigslist and craigconnects); Heather Smith (president, Rock the Vote); and others to be announced, for a wide-ranging, idea-generating, big-picture discussion of trends past, present and future on how the presidential election may be shaped and transformed by social media services such as Twitter and Facebook to new location based and mobile technologies.
From smear campaigns on Twitter to owning a domain before the opposition does to constituent hangouts on Google+, social media and the web have changed the election process for good. Candidates rely on social media to get their message out on their terms, journalists report and react to the story as it happens, and social platforms help to galvanize public opinion, support volunteers and solicit donations. With viewpoints from journalists, scholars, and campaign practitioners, this panel will reflect on the 2012 presidential campaign and how new media has made its mark. Specifically, the panel will look at which online platforms are performing the best in the 2012 election, the convergence of new and traditional mediums on the campaign trail, and analyze how campaigns are using these tools to promote their issue platforms and candidates, successfully or not.
What emerging media strategies and tools will shape the 2012 campaigns?
In 2008, text messages and branded social networks (MyBO, McCainSpace) changed the face of political campaigning forever. In the 2012 race, presidential candidates and their campaign staff are scrambling to find the next “new thing” to motivate and organize supporters. As rumors swirl that Barack Obama will raise over $1 billion by election day, candidates are avidly seeking ways to engage donors online and on mobile.
A small panel of Washington insiders discuss how new media is shaping the 2012 campaigns and who is using the freshest technology to separate themselves from the pack and make a run for the White House.
2008 was the first Election in American History where bloggers and vloggers helped shape the political narrative and carry President Obama to the presidency. 4 years later, the Administration has not nurtured these pop cultural connections. Will the blogosphere turn out for Obama in 2012?
How do you get reliable information about elections? Many voters get their information about who is running for election and what the issues are from friends and family. Increasingly, those friends and family are online, getting their information from social media sources and passing it on. What’s the conversation between voters and election officials? What’s the potential for increasing civic engagement through social media? This panel will discuss breakthroughs and cautions, experiences and pointers. What you learn about who is using what and why will surprise you.
Most things in our lives are now custom fit. If we want coffee, we can order it 50 ways. If we want to watch a movie, we can choose between Netflix, iTunes, On Demand, etc. If we need a restaurant review, we have OpenTable, Yelp, etc. However, for one of the most important aspects of our life, politics, we still have only two "meat or fish" options. We are also at a point where people are more disaffected than ever by political parties. A Pew post-election poll in 2010 found for the first time in modern American history, Independents outnumbered Democrats and Republicans in terms of party affiliation. This need for tailoring our lives has now met our distaste for political institutions. While political parties will always be a piece of American politics, their relevance is being severely diminished by the growth of social media. The biggest political movements in the last year (Wisconsin, the Arab Spring, the Tea Party movement) all came together OUTSIDE of political institutions, not from within (and largely due to social media). This panel will discuss this trend.
9th–13th March 2012