DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGIES OF CONTROL: PRODUCING POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNING Adapted from the forthcoming Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics From Howard Dean to Barack Obama, Oxford University Press (2012)
Kreiss, Daniel (2011) DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGIES OF CONTROL: PRODUCING POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNING Adapted from the forthcoming Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics From Howard Dean to Barack Obama, Oxford University Press (2012). pp. 1-33. In: Proceedings of the A DECADE IN INTERNET TIME: OII SYMPOSIUM ON THE DYNAMICS OF THE INTERNET AND SOCIETY, 21 - 24 September 2011, University of Oxford.
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This paper analyzes the new media managerial practices and technologies of control used by the 2008 Barack Obama campaign for president. Campaigns have long sought to generate online citizen participation in fundraising, messaging, and ﬁeldwork. To help secure these ﬁscal and human resources, the Obama campaign developed a set of management techniques and data and analytic practices designed to increase the allocative efﬁciency of resources and probabilistically produce desired actions among supporters. Through in-depth interviews with more than twenty staffers working with new media on the campaign, this paper analyzes the New Media Division’s development of what I call a ‘computational management’ style, or the delegation of managerial, allocative, messaging, and design decisions to analysis of user actions made visible in the form of data as they interacted with the campaign’s media. It also analyzes in-depth two technologies of control designed to probabilistically produce user actions: website optimization and online advertising. While these practices and tools did not on their own produce the extraordinary mobilization around the campaign, they helped translate it into staple electoral resources: money, messages, and votes.
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