Over the last decade, technology has revolutionized our society and changed our lives drastically. We now have access to a wide range of amazing resources, tools, and most importantly, unlimited information. The advancements of digital technology have made it possible for each one of us to own and use a smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, or computer. Combined with an internet connection and thousands of useful apps, these devices are making our lives easier.
When we think about the political landscape, the first things that come to mind are TV spots, political posters, and fliers. It is hard to imagine a world in which technology has substantially changed the ways in which political parties run their campaigns. According to Higher Ground Labs, there are many ways in which technology is reforming the US political landscape.
For a while, it almost seemed as if technology is abounding everywhere but in politics. However, we are now starting to see steady growth in tech use, especially when it comes to political campaigning. An impressive number of startups that take full advantage of advanced digital technology has emerged into the political scene of late. By using cutting edge technology, these startups are creating political-based apps and tools that are making campaigning a lot easier and more effective. Sending collective messages and advertising campaigns on social media and having access to valuable statistics and data analysis tools are only some of the ways in which politicians and political organizations can use digital technology to their advantage.
Effective tools for the political landscape
Research: Polling and surveying apps, social media analysis and listening tools
Fundraising: Payment processors (PayPal), donor management systems
Analytics: Voter and campaigning statistics, data analysis, voter canvassing apps
Communication: Email, social networks, direct messaging apps
Organization: Campaign strategy apps, membership management apps
Mobilization: Collective texting, campaign team management apps
It is safe to say that digital technology has changed and continues to change the practices of political campaigning fundamentally. Speeches and while stop tours are no longer as effective as they used to be and are slowly but surely being replaced by social media targeted ads.
It is a well-known fact that using technology is time-saving and cost-effective. Therefore, using political campaigning tools and apps will enable politicians and political organizations to send their messages across without spending a fortune. They are now able to speak to their potential voters from any location by using an app, a phone, and an internet connection. No knocking on doors, no spending hours or even days on the road, and no printed scripts.
Benefits of technology goes both ways
According to political operative Alicia Roth Weigel, using technology during political campaigns is beneficial for both politicians and the electorate. At first, it might seem that these tools and apps will only help politicians reduce their campaign costs and reaching wider audiences. However, they also enable us, the public, to keep tabs on our elected representatives, to have a clear image of their goals and promises, and to hold them accountable if needed. Furthermore, social media platforms such as Twitter, where people can express their opinions and live-streaming services allow the electorate to engage in dialogue with politicians and to observe their interactions and reactions.
Social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, have allowed political leaders to be more honest and to express their ideas and opinions freely. Seeing a less polished version of the future president is extremely important for the electorate. The downside to social media politics is, of course, the possibility of manipulating public opinion.
Knowing the true impact that their words have, politicians can use these platforms to create the impression of being down to earth individuals which can bring them more votes. People tend to empathize with candidates who have similar values and beliefs, therefore, and social media can increase a candidate’s chances based solely on what they share. But sometimes, politicians are shockingly honest (or dishonest). Donald Trump’s tweets are famously untraditional. During the infamous 2016 campaign, he shared his thoughts on Twitter saying: “The Election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hilary – but also at many polling places – SAD”.
With more than 50,000 likes, Donald Trump’s Tweet became viral and was picked up by news websites and newspapers. This helps us understand the true power of digital technology and social media and the impact that it can have on the outcome of presidential campaigns.
Technology is influencing the political landscape in many different ways
It allows people to learn more about future leaders and to judge their characters based on unscripted Tweets. It also enables politicians to campaign and to send their message across effortlessly. But most importantly, it is a great example of the ways in which technology is changing different aspects of society. All in all, embracing technology has become crucial to running successful political campaigns and it is safe to say that politicians, voters, and organizations alike should take full advantage of the amazing political-based apps and tools that they now have access to.