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The influence of Web 2.0 technologies has infiltrated the political realm, not only being used by members of each political party, but also in each level of civic engagement. The primary problem this paper assesses is the extent to which American presidential candidates have used Web 2.0 technologies as a political tool and how these technologies will affect the future of political activity. While Web 2.0 technologies have been widely used by candidates in the two recent presidential races, and while they will see an increased use as the millennial generation emerges in the political arena, the effective use of Web 2.0 technologies will be through supplemental use with traditional political tools and specified use among each form of Web 2.0 technology. The study looked at one article that analyzed data from the 2000 National Annenberg Election Survey, four articles that had a qualitative analysis of the Web 2.0 technologies used by presidential candidates in the 2008 election, an article was included that summarized the findings in a controlled lab experiment that studied young adults’ political use of Web 2.0 technologies, another article was an empirical study of candidate use of Twitter and its effect on candidate salience, and the last article used content analysis and survey research to find a correlation between online political groups and offline political participation. The primary belief is that Web 2.0 technology will be supplemental to traditional political tools. The extent to which they will be used and how they are used is contested among scholars. While some believe that universal, undifferentiated use of Web 2.0 technologies can be an effective political tool, each form of technology must be used differently to maximize political efficiency because each form of Web 2.0 technology melds effectively with a different traditional political tool. Candidate websites and Facebook have been found to enrich fundraising efforts, social media has been found to enhance grassroots campaigning and all Web 2.0 technologies have been found to improve communication and media. These findings show that future political candidates will need to adopt Web 2.0 technologies as a way to enrich their traditional political activities. Campaigns will need to use each Web 2.0 technology differently in the way that will most effectively aid their campaign. Many of these tools will be adopted and controlled by social media directors.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Political Science, Business

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Faye Prichard


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

The Electronic Election -- Web 2.0 Technology and Political Campaigns