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Online Campaigning by the Obama Campaign

The final speaker in this ECREA 2010 session is Sabine Baumann, whose interest is in online grassroots campaigning especially in the past US presidential election. There, of course, to win a candidate not only needs votes, but campaign funding in the first place, and the Obama campaign was exceptionally successful in attracting campaign contributions (collecting twice as much money as John McCain, mainly from small donations under US$200).

Spending figures are also interesting in this regard – McCain spent some US$4.6m on Internet campaigning, Obama spent a whopping US$24m. The Obama campaign Website also prominently displayed its donation and online merchandise functionality, of course; the online store was hugely successful, in fact (offering campaign clothing and art from notable designers and artists).

Understanding European Online Publics

The next speaker at this ‘Doing Global Media Studies’ pre-conference for ECREA 2010 is Asimina Michailidou, whose interest is in online public opinion formation in the European Union. This is deliberately avoiding an examination of party politics or opinion polls, but rather goes straight to online interaction – in this case, in the context of the EU parliamentary elections in 2009. The focus here was on twelve EU nations as well as a number of pan-European opinion and debate sites.

There are a number of methodological challenges with this – across the three areas of sampling, analysis, and interpretation. The project necessarily proceeds from a mixed-methods design, as it attempts to measure the forms and processes of communication on online platforms and investigate the content and participant community.

More on Twitter during the Australian Election Campaign

Over on Fairfax’s National Times opinion site, I’ve now posted a first article examining the use of Twitter during the early election campaign – for the first week of campaigning, excluding the debate last Sunday (which I’ve examined on our network mapping blog Mapping Online Publics, here and here).


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