I have to admit, I don’t really care much for politics and was worried about our readings for the week. I was pleasantly surprised at how interested I was in our class discussion. Personal branding is not only important for politicians and political parties, but also for all of us regular folk. I’m not sure that many of my friends realize that once you put something out into the Internet, it’s there for good. I think if they did, they’d be more careful about how they presented themselves.
Last week we talked about how social media profiles can collapse our personalities into something one dimensional, when in reality we have many facets to our lives and personalities. I thought that it was interesting juxtaposing this with the McCain campaign videos shown today. It seems, in politics, being multifaceted on social media can harm your reputation. McCain portrayed himself as a “True Conservative” in a campaign spot on YouTube and as a “Maverick” in another. Since these videos are on the same YouTube channel and can be linked together as they were in Professor Lackaff’s presentation, it essentially takes one click to get from one to the other. Although we acknowledged that different states and people see campaign materials tailored to specific groups, the class decided that his seemingly opposite interpretations of his campaign ruined his credibility (aside from the fact that he didn’t say much about his platforms).
In addition to politicians creating their own campaign media, supporters and challengers are also creating their own media and distributing it on the web. This could be helpful or potentially harmful for the candidate. Guerilla movements are very powerful. There is so much going on in the realm of social media and Occupy Wallstreet. Smartphones allow people to have all the tools they need to shoot a video and upload it to the Internet, all within seconds. It’s been interesting to see what’s gone viral. I think there are a lot of situations we wouldn’t have made the six o’clock news if not for citizen journalism. As a result though, I think we see more publish then filter situations.
One of the most important takeaways from the week was the discussion about interactivity as a process instead of a product. Currently, I think a lot of people days are interested in a social media presence just because “everybody’s doing it.” They don’t actually understand why and how social media can help them engage with their clients, supporters, colleagues, etc. I am really interested in helping people create and realize their goals through social media and interactivity.