The Massachusetts Senate race could be a booty call for social media in political campaigns, as all the candidates are Twittering, Facebooking, YouTubing, Flickring, etc.
Campaign officials for the four Democratic hopefuls (Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Rep. Mike Capuano, Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca, and City Year cofounder Alan Khazei) robotically remark that all types of media – paid, earned, and social – are extremely important, and that people are hungry for information, so “they’ll seek us out” in social media, as one strategist asserted.
Maybe, but that still leaves the question of who’s channeling Barack Obama and who’s simply Sam Yoon.
Regardless, social media will decidedly not decide this race. As MIT’s Henry Jenkins noted in his book Convergence Culture:
Candidates may build their base on the Internet but they need television to win elections. It’s the difference between a push media (where messages go out to the public whether they seek them or not) and a pull medium (which serves those with an active interest in seeking out information on a particular topic). The Internet reaches the hard core, television the undecided.
Odds are, there will be lots of undecideds as the December 8 primary approaches. The TV air war will then be the broadcast equivalent of the bombing of Dresden.
Good luck to all the civilians trying to escape the campaign carnage.