The First Campaign: Web 2.0 meets Campaigning 3.0

To be honest, I cannot believe that it took this long for this conversation to happen. What conversation am I referring to? I am referring to the conversation between political candidates and their publics.

Since I began the public relations graduate program at Georgetown, I have been inundated with the idea of good PR is a mutually beneficial relationship. That being said, good PR campaigns involve a two-way conversation. This is an environment where organizations encourage their public to constantly give feedback and the company responds accordingly.

I have always considered a good political campaign to be very similar to a good PR campaign. Candidates are brands that are promoted during the campaign season. The candidates that lose are those who fail to interpret their publics’ wants and needs and respond appropriately.

Enter digital technology…

In The First Campaign, Garrett Graff explores a novel concept:

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Web 2.0 meets Campaigns 3.0″

This is the idea that tools like on-line video, blogs, cell phones and social networking have, in essence, exponentially enhanced political campaigns.

It has taken politicians about 20 years to begin to realize the power of digital technology. It wasn’t until the 2008 presidential primaries that some candidates scratch the surface of having a comprehensive digital campaign strategy (this concept is still foreign to some.)

According to marketing and PR practitioners, embracing digital technology just makes sense. To reach an audience, it is important to engage them where they are. In previous political campaigns, audiences watch television, listened to the radio and read newspaper to determine the candidate they would endorse. In 2008, the audience has moved away from traditional media in exchange for a more customizable experience: the Internet. For presidential hopefuls, jumping on the digital bandwagon, is crucial to reach a non-traditional audience.

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