These parties have changed in terms of their internal and operational aspects. They have embraced technology and use their websites to recruit and mobilize supporters and volunteers. These volunteers do not necessarily have to be party members. This is very critical because the propaganda machineries associated with election campaign can be easily executed both by volunteers who work online and by party members.
Additionally blogs provide a means for where divergent opinions can be raised and therefore strengthening the parties, a development which never existed before. This enables people to express their opinions freely within the party. Technology has changed election campaigns by providing a platform where electoral campaign is centrally organized and visualized. This has been made possible by using websites. These websites provide vital information which is used by journalists to obtain information about planned events and members opinions.
The contents and websites and blogs are a source of information for the conventional media. In spite of all these developments, some countries such as Spain still rely on media such as television, radio and street advertisements for election campaigns. However, election campaigns in the United States are increasingly becoming blog and website centered and has formed fundamental base for organizing campaigns, fundraising, recruiting volunteers and spreading blueprints and manifestos of the candidate.
Through the use of social networking tools available online, candidates and parties can obtain information pertaining to their supporters. The use of technologies such as data mining has helped election campaigns teams to provide selective campaign messages appropriate to the target audience. These websites maximizes the candidate’s ability to identify taste and preference of their supporters and then send them information via email or online SMS messages (Borge, Cardenal and Padro, para6).
How technology has contributed to increased participation of the public in the electoral process The internet has led to increased political competition and rivalry between political parties. These competitions have created a good political image for some candidates and thereby increasing the public participation in political process. Candidates such as Segolene Royale, Barrack Obama and Howard Dean were successful because they combine both the internet and traditional election campaign methods in their campaigns.
In France, Segolene Royale, a member of the French socialist party used the internet to register members by providing online affiliations which resulted into first round voting with majority being his supporters (Basu, para5). However, concerns have been raised as to whether the internet has strengthened the existing social groupings or weakened them in an attempt to incorporate new supporters and voters among the youth and the lower and middle classes. Statistics shows that youths between 18 and 24 in Britain normally participate online.
This participation is influenced by education and social class of individuals. The inequality among these groups is increase in online election campaign participation because it involves downloading information from candidate’s website and participating in political blogs which tends to be financial burden to low social class groups. In the United States 70 percent of the population use the internet and with more low and middle class groups participating in the election process online. This reduces the social inequality in online participation as compared to offline participation (Ord, para8).