"We have a far more sophisticated audience today than in the past, one that sees more clearly behind the manipulations and stagecraft of its political leaders"
Technological developments were always substantial parts of any successful political communication campaign. Whether in ancient Greece during elections of their futures leaders by screaming on the marketplace to support their causes, or with the invention of the printing press throughout Europe in the 16th century, technological developments played a crucial role in any communication to the people. Political communicators quickly realized how important media communication was in any campaign, so mass media communication tools such as radio and Television were quickly adopted in their toolset soon after their introduction to the mass. Today, these tools are strategically used with very specific communicative tools in mind.
In contemporary political communication and public relations, social media and the digital space is not just a novelty, but a crucial tool for effective communication. Obama's 2008 political campaign is seen as the first successful and fully integrated political social media campaign in history. Obama's advisors quickly realized that social media communication was on the rise and that direct and open communication develops trust and transparency towards their potential voters. With their open approach to be transparent and more 'connected' to their audiences, the Obama campaign revolutionized political communication for future political campaigns around the world. But with this new communication tool and its power, new responsibility and problems occur.
When we look at the fundamental philosophical aspects of Social Media: transparency, sharing knowledge, information, contacts, content, profiling; we clearly see the importance for campaigning and political communication. Before the 'digital revolution' in our age of information, communication within politics had more control over their messages and how they distributed it. Now, with information traveling faster than ever and the highly tech-savvy average social media user, everyone has the power to manipulate messages and exploit political messages for their point of view.
While the political social media revolution changed the way politicians communicate with their audiences and spread their messages, individuals or 'enemies' have the same powert to change perceptions as well. At the same time, citizens are now actively being engaged to positively contribute to the cause and help winning elections. Clearly, social media not only changed the way we communicate with each other personally, but also on a political level.
The political digital revolution changed the way we support or destroy our causes. This development allows messages to spread faster than ever, which may be of advantage as well as a disadvantage for political communicators. Just like in crisis communication within corporations, social media should not be ignored but actively being followed and practitioners should manage the message by following the fundamental to give a feeling of trust within politics. A feeling that has been gone for far too long in this industry.
Politics 2.0 - The power of the Citizen shows how social media is now a fundamental part of any political campaign and how much power the citizens have.