Classroom Connection: Candidates Take on Social Media and Advertising
The presidential election featured a great deal of advertising, both on televsion and through social media. In this Classroom Connection, Ohio students describe how they viewed the advertisements that helped define both candidates' campaign strategies.
Credit: The McGraw-Hill CompaniesInc./John Flournoy, photographer

Classroom Connection: Candidates Take on Social Media and Advertising

Election Central’s Classroom Connection asks two AP Government classes at Worthington Kilbourne High School in Worthington, Ohio to give their opinions on the events of this year’s presidential campaign race.

Here, the students weighed in on the campaign’s use of advertising and social media. –ed.

Social Media

With the Presidential Election of 2012 drawing to a close, the candidates have been using resources in social media like never before. Both candidates have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and in doing so they are appealing to the younger, more connected generation.

Both candidates have been using social media to try and get people to volunteer and donate to their campaigns, as well as promoting their sides of issues while also putting down the other candidates positions and platforms. For example President Obama posted “Time to Vote! Grab a friend to join you and head over to your polling place” on Monday November 5th, one day before the election. Through the use of pictures that display the candidates in a happy manner, the candidates self-promote themselves and their images as likable men. On Mitt Romney’s Facebook page there are a dozen pictures of the smiling candidate at rallies and participating in charity work in various communities.

The benefits of using social media is that being more connected on the Internet reaches out to younger voters, and also may sway undecided voters who visit the candidates sites. The drawbacks to using social media is that the candidates are only reaching a certain demographic; typically younger voters who frequent Facebook and Twitter or surf YouTube. However, most of Worthington Kilbourne AP government students agree that the candidate’s use of social media is effective in getting their main points and positions across.

Do Attack Ads Work?

The Romney campaign advertisements had much to say about the insufficient job that Obama has done during the last four years as president as well as the 5 step plan that Mitt Romney plans on implementing when elected president. These themes were extremely prevalent in the ads and often included the phrase “let’s not make the next four years like the last four years”.

The most effective way of promoting Romney seemed to be the attack ads on Obama especially the ones that focused on a run down town with people who talk about how they are still unemployed. These were the most compelling ads because a lot of individuals may feel sympathy or even empathy for these people. Many of these attack ads on Obama were actually funded by other campaign groups rather than Romney’s.

No matter how the campaign ads are funded, they are important factors to the turnout of this election.

David Martin


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