New technologies - with perhaps the most notable being radio and television - often change the face of political campaigns. The Internet, and particularly campaign websites with their concomitant technologies (e.g. interactive and multimedia features), has evolved at a faster rate than any other prior innovation. This raises a critical question: have website technologies altered how congressional candidates campaign? We address this question with a novel dataset from 2008. Not only do we chart technological change on sites over the course of the campaign but we also explore how and when candidates use certain technologies. We discover two critical and, to our knowledge, novel points. First, congressional candidates use these technologies to a much lesser extent than one may suspect. Second, their scant usage is driven by how certain technologies limit control of the candidate's message, the candidate's status in the race and other key variables such as the employment of campaign consultants. In sum, the Web 2.0 era (which began around 2008) does not appear to have dramatically altered congressional campaigns.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science