Kreiss Strategic Communication

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Kreiss Strategic Communication
   YU Press   Chapter Title: Strategic Communication in a Networked AgeChapter Author(s): DANIEL KREISS and CREIGHTON WELCH   Book Title: Controlling the MessageBook Subtitle: New Media in American Political CampaignsBook Editor(s): Victoria A. Farrar-Myers, Justin S. VaughnPublished by: NYU Press. (2015)Stable URL:   JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a widerange of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity andfacilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at NYU Press  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Controlling the Message  This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:46:04 UTCAll use subject to  󰁐󰁡󰁲󰁴 􀀱 Elite Utilization This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:46:04 UTCAll use subject to  This page intentionally left blank This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:46:04 UTCAll use subject to  􀀱󐀳 1 Strategic Communication in a Networked Age 󰁄󰁡󰁮󰁩󰁥󰁬 󰁋󰁲󰁥󰁩󰁳󰁳 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁃󰁲󰁥󰁩󰁧󰁨󰁴󰁯󰁮 󰁗󰁥󰁬󰁣󰁨In the weeks before the 󐀲􀀰􀀱󐀲 election, President Barack Obama’s supporters using the campaign’s Facebook application received messages asking them to urge select friends in key swing states to vote, register, or volunteer. An estimated 󐀵 million voters responded positively to the requests of their friends, many of them 􀀱􀀸- to 󐀲-year-olds who could not be reached by phone (Judd 󐀲􀀰􀀱󐀲d). On quick glance, it may appear that there is not much new here. The 󐀲􀀰􀀰􀀸 Obama campaign notably pioneered the use of social media platforms for political orga-nizing, leveraging Facebook to mobilize and coordinate supporters for electoral ends (Kreiss 󐀲􀀰􀀱󐀲a). What was different in 󐀲􀀰􀀱󐀲 lay in the campaign asking its supporters to contact only select members of their social network. The cam-paign matched parts of its massive voter databases, including one managed by the Democratic Party and encompassing more than 󐀵􀀰􀀰 points of data on every member of the electorate, to data on the social networks of its supporters on Facebook to help it contact priority voters.This social media targeting was premised on voter modeling, which entails assigning numerical scores representing likely political attitudes and behavior to every member of the electorate. These scores are the outgrowth of an enormous proliferation of data about the electorate over the past decade and, as impor-tantly, new analytical techniques that render data meaningful. The Obama cam-paign used four scores that on a scale of 􀀱 to 􀀱􀀰􀀰 estimated the probability of  voters’ likelihood of supporting Obama, turning out to vote, being persuaded to turn out, and being persuaded to support Obama on the basis of specific appeals (Beckett 󐀲􀀰􀀱󐀲a). The campaign and the consulting firms it hired calculated these scores by continually surveying the electorate and looking for patterns within the massive databases of political data they had access to. These modeling scores, in turn, became the basis for the entire voter-contact operation, which ranged from making “personalized” voter contacts on the doorsteps (Nielsen 󐀲􀀰􀀱󐀲) and through the social media accounts of voters to running advertisements on the cable television screens of swing voters (Rutenberg 󐀲􀀰􀀱󐀲).Although the use of political data for electoral advantage has a long history dating back to at least the middle to late 􀀱􀀸􀀰􀀰s (McGerr 􀀱􀀸󐀶; Kazin 󐀲􀀰􀀰󐀷), there is both qualitatively new data and new means of using it as the basis for targeted strategic communications in contemporary campaigning. Data lies behind the This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:46:04 UTCAll use subject to
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