Social Media Help Political Campaigns in the US

September 23, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. rally (n.)
[ral-ee] – a gathering of people to support or disagree with someone or something
Example: The teachers joined a rally yesterday in front of the government office to request for a higher budget for education.

2. platform (n.) [plat-fawrm] – the main principles and goals of a political candidate or group
Example: The candidate discussed his platform which includes his plans to change the system of education.

3.  take advantage of (idiom) [teyk ad-van-tij, -vahn- uhv] –  to use something or a situation to achieve a goal
Example: Politicians take advantage of the Internet to campaign in the election.

4. challenger (n.) [chal-in-jer] – one who competes against the winner
Example: The challenger has promising skills but it is still not sure whether he will win against the champion.

5. strategically (adv.) [struh-tee-jik] – carefully planned to achieve a purpose or goal
Example: The mall was strategically placed in the middle of town.

Read the text below.

Social media has become increasingly useful in the US political elections over the past twenty years.

Before social media arrived, the only means of campaigning were through speeches, rallies, and newspapers. Radio and television then provided better campaign tools offering wider coverage. But nowadays, social media is becoming the easier and faster way for political candidates to communicate with the voters.

Political candidates can broadcast their platforms using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. They can also raise money, and encourage voters to become actively involved in political programs and campaigns.

During the 2008 US Presidential elections, Barack Obama’s team took advantage of social media. Obama was able to gather 4 million donors to his campaign. This year, Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney are strategically using social media for their campaigns.

Each form of social media has a specific role in delivering political messages. Twitter instantly delivers news and conversations. On the other hand, Facebook offers more time for people to think about the topic whereas Google provides an organized record of the discussion afterwards.

Social media has made personal campaign possible. It allows candidates to know what specific problems the voters want to be solved, and this makes the candidates look more friendly and reliable.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the disadvantages of using social media in campaigning?
·         Do you think campaigns through social media are reliable? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Which do you prefer, the traditional method of campaigning or the present method that uses social media? Why?
·         Do you think the traditional methods should not be used since there is already social media? Why or why not?

September 23, 2012