Exploring the concept of the "Social media campaign"
On May 2, 2011, Canadians voted in what the news media dubbed "Canada's First Social Media Election." This allowed Canadians to join their neighbours to the south who, arguably, had gone through one national social media election during the 2008 bid for the presidency. Through a theoretical discussion of what constitutes sociality and networked sociality, and a critical examination of social media as a campaign tool, this chapter asks "What makes a campaign social?" It also asks if the term "social media campaign" adequately describes current campaign practices? In exploring these questions, the chapter draws on the 2011 federal election in Canada and the 2008 American election. Ultimately, the chapter argues we have limited evidence that social media has led to increased sociality when it comes to electoral politics. This calls the appropriateness of the term "social media campaign" into question. Such lack of evidence stems from the dynamism of networked sociality, which renders it difficult to understand, and methodological difficulties when it comes to capturing what it means to be "social."
Francoli, M. (2014). Exploring the concept of the "Social media campaign". doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-6038-0.ch009