A growing number of political parties and candidates contesting in contemporary campaigns are including a blog in their overall campaign strategy. As the number of blogs has skyrocketed and the political grassroots movements have taken to the Internet, political parties and candidates have shown their interest in the new medium by slowly reaching out to the new segment of voters that make up the blogosphere. The question is: Can campaigning via blogs help politicians shape public opinion and impact voting behaviour?
This paper examines how political parties and candidates use the blog as an electioneering instrument in political campaigns and considers how the use of blogs can affect the outcome of an election. By evaluating existing literature on the topic and actively engaging with political blog communities, the author questions whether a blog can play an integral role in securing a party’s or candidate’s victory in an election, and reviews ways to measure the impact of blogs on an election outcome.
Data retrieved by the current study strongly suggests that a campaign, in some cases, can successfully exploit the presence of the web and community blogs, and in doing so, even impact the outcome of a specific election race. The study supports findings by existing scholars that there are aspects of blogging that can help politicians improve their campaign, influence the political agenda and affect the direction of a particular election race. However, so far few campaigns have embraced the full potential of blogs.
The paper argues that current literature has not yet managed to develop proper methods to measure and identify how electioneering via blogs impacts voter decisions directly. Further research therefore needs to thoroughly explore the aspects that make blogs a useful electioneering tool, test the medium’s ability to swing voters and systematically test how audiences value the information they retrieve from the medium compared to the information they retrieve from traditional mainstream media.