Associate Professor & Director, Temple University
Understanding the Campaign Media Ecosystem: Social Media’s Influence on Political Campaigns
Campaigning in the United States has come a long way from door–to-door canvassing and stump speeches. Truman’s 1948 Presidential election victory was largely credited to his four month, 21,928 mile “whistle-stop” tour. Contrast that with Barack Obama’s success in 2008. He was able to reach millions through blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, giving citizens the ability to interact directly not only with the campaign but also with each other. In 2012, most candidates have a social media presence. The result is “big data” – instantaneous, continuous, and low cost cycles of dissemination and consumption of content, often by people outside of the direct control of the campaign.
The goal of this project is to understand the role of social media in election campaigns, how it influences election outcomes, and how these effects compare to more traditional forms of media. To address this question, we are constructing a new, comprehensive data set by aggregating key measures of a candidate’s social media presence. The data set will include all contested House, Senate and Gubernatorial races. A new campaign ecosystem model is being used investigate interdependencies among traditional media, social media, and campaign outcomes.
The presentation will also include a discussion of (a) the challenges and tools for aggregating and analyzing large quantities of structured and unstructured data, sourced from different real-time outlets, and (b) the challenges and opportunities of applying the techniques developed in this project to other industries.
David Schuff is Associate Professor of Management Information Systems in the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Villanova University, an MS in Information Management from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Arizona State University.
David’s research interests include the application of information visualization to decision support systems, data warehousing and analytics, and the impact of user-generated content on organizations and society. His work has been published in MIS Quarterly, Decision Support Systems, Information & Management, Communications of the ACM, Computer, and Information Systems Journal. His current projects include an investigation of factors that influence the utility of online reviews, the effects of the blogosphere on public discourse, and gauging the effectiveness of new media in political campaigns.