Although the public tends to get information about political candidates from news stations, most candidates heavily rely on their own campaign websites to accurately explain their platform. With so many biased opinions coming from friends and television broadcasts, the only place you’re going to find what a politician really stands for is on their website.
Take Barack Obama’s website. Under the “Issues” tab, you can find out information on some of the biggest issues Obama is tackling while in office. You can donate to “Organizing for Action,” get access to Obama’s social media sites, and find out more about people who campaign for him.
The one thing you can’t do on Obama’s website? Hear the negatives. This site is great for a one-sided view on Obama’s presidency, but what about everything that hasn’t gone right? Unfulfilled promises, setbacks, policies that had a negative impact on the American public—you will find none of these on this website.
But why would you? If Obama (or Obama’s people) can make him out to be whomever he wants online, why would they advertise the negative aspects of his work when they could simply show you all of the great things he’s done? The ability to create an identity online that is different from who you actually are is a powerful tool used by politicians, as well as your average Joe on Facebook.
This isn’t the only way Obama is using technology to his advantage. His twitter account, which has over 54 million followers, is a great way to reach out to young adults. By tweeting out-of-context quotes from the President, this account easily presents only the best of Obama to young, impressionable Americans.
Technology in campaigns isn’t just used in the big leagues. Students running for Student Government positions at Davidson this semester made their own websites to give students easy access and accurate material on their campaigns. One website even included a “Commit to Vote” link, where students can enter their name and email address, pledging to vote for these candidates, much like a pledge on Obama’s page to “join this fight.”