- Internet Explorers: the online campaign
- Book title
- How Ireland voted 2011: the full story of Ireland's earthquake election
- Pages (from-to)
- Basingstoke [etc.]: Palgrave Macmillan
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The idea of an ‘internet election’ was initially put forward in 1997. However, there is little evidence to date that online campaigning has supplanted more traditional campaign practices. This is particularly true of Irish campaigns, which are hardware-rich affairs characterised by substantial volumes of face-to-face human interactions. A study of the 2002 Irish campaign was entitled ‘None of that post-modern stuff around here’, and many ‘pre-modern’ patterns and practices endure in contemporary Irish politics. All of the coverage of the 2011 campaign attested to the ongoing centrality of the ‘canvass’ - meaning that, to be electable, Irish politicians must engage heavily in individual-level, door-to-door persuasion using a mixture of argumentation and personal charisma. No serious campaign consultant would advise his or her candidate to focus solely on online campaigning in an Irish election and an investigation of the campaign activities that corresponded to electoral gains in the 2007 Irish campaign found that posters and leaflets were the most effective campaign tools. In 2011, posters and leaflets remained must-have items for any serious candidate. Indeed, one of the election’s more amusing stories concerned the large number of heavy-duty posters that came loose and flapped around the country like deranged birds in the campaign’s first week.
Nevertheless, Irish parties, candidates, and citizenry have made rapid advances and undergone remarkable changes in their political use of internet technologies since the 2007 election, and in this chapter we will describe some of these advances and changes.
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