The upcoming US election is a great opportunity for ITGS students and teachers to explore how technology – especially social media – is being used by the presidential candidates. During the 2008 presidential campaign, covered in the Politics and Government chapter of my textbook, Obama was known as the social media president for his pioneering use of technology to engage with the electorate – in his words, to start the conversation. The PBS video below, The Digital Campaign, explores some ways in which technology is being used in the 2012 campaign.
In the 2012 campaign however, both Obama and Romney are taking technology a step further and making use of targeting to improve their engagement. Like any form of targeted advertising, targeted campaigning makes use of data collected about individuals – perhaps from their browsing habits, from data they willingly submit, or from their social media profiles – to send them information tailored to their interests and priorities. Interested in women’s rights issues? Environmental issues? Immigration? Each group of users can be sent specific information and policies that interest them.
This interactive website is a fantastic ITGS resource, demonstrating targeted campaigning: students answer a few questions about their behaviour and the website simulates how they might be targeted. Really, really interesting – and some clear ITGS issues too: