04 de junio de 2020
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
English - News

Virtual campaigning replacing political rallies in the COVID-19 era in US

 Screen capture showing President Donald Trump and a campaign message, or meme, designed to influence voters - the latest salvo in what will likely be a 2020 presidential campaign heavily weighted towards virtual campaigning and online content.
EFE-EPA/ Instagram Donald Trump /Best quality available/ Editorial Use Only/No Sales

Screen capture showing President Donald Trump and a campaign message, or meme, designed to influence voters - the latest salvo in what will likely be a 2020 presidential campaign heavily weighted towards virtual campaigning and online content. EFE-EPA/ Instagram Donald Trump /Best quality available/ Editorial Use Only/No Sales

By Jairo Mejia

New York, May 14 (efe-epa).- The Covid-19 pandemic has put an end - at least during this election cycle - to the mass campaign rallies in the run-up to the US election in November, forcing a change in strategy in which the social networks and "memes" are the main weapons and where recommendation system algorithms play a vital role.

Campaigning for elected office is one of the most social activities that one can undertake in the US. Over the course of months, hundreds - or even many thousands - of people all over the country gather in various venues to listen to presidential candidates or their surrogates at events that often have the flavor of pop music concerts.

In the weeks prior to election day, an army of supporters goes door to door in strategically designated areas encouraging undecided electors to cast their votes for favored candidates.

This year, however, the time-honored practice has been made unthinkable in the months remaining before Nov. 3, when Republican President Donald Trump will face off at the polls against former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden was the first candidate to test the difficulties of campaigning from his living room: uncomfortable silences, interrupted Internet connections, non-existent excitement and the familiar "Can you hear me?" with which those working remotely during the pandemic are all too familiar.

Last week, Biden held a "virtual campaign rally" for his supporters in Tampa, Florida, enlisting a disk jockey who tried to liven up the proceedings from his own home while the event was plagued by invited guests who spend long seconds looking at the cameras on their devices without saying anything or vanishing in the middle of their remarks.

Meanwhile, other politicians seem to be moving through the new normal like fish in water. Take, for instance, Democratic New York Congresswoman Alejandra Ocasio-Cortez, who visits her voters at "Animal Crossing," a Nintendo videogame that simulates a virtual village and which has surged in popularity around the country during the quarantine.

Out in front of everyone else is Trump, whose campaign has figured out how to succeed in the art of the "meme" and who has a team laser-focused on creating this kind of viral content on the social networks.

A meme is an idea, behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture such that memes - which are discrete units of knowledge, gossip jokes and the like - are to culture what genes are to life.

On Monday, Trump's Instagram account distributed a meme in which imprinted over the president's face was the phrase "Hope you had fun investigating me - Now it's my turn," a reference to his attempts to hype "Obamagate," an alleged scandal for which there is no proof but which could affect the previous administration.

That content received 1.7 million "likes" in just a few days while Biden posted on his own account a comedy "sketch" with funnyman Keegan-Michael Key that barely received 50,000 likes.

It might seem banal, but in a campaign that's going to be won - above all - online, it will be those who know how to manipulate language on the social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Tiktok who will have the greatest opportunity to mobilize the electorate.

Syracuse University communications professor Jennifer Stromer wrote in a recent column that although it seems that this year's election campaign will be unprecedented and one for which nobody was prepared, the truth is that campaigns have been developing their virtual machinery for quite some time and this time around they merely need to up their game.

The algorithms that recommend and organize information on the main social networks, probably moreso than in any other campaign so far, will be what strengthens or deflates the messages of the candidates who are better adapted to the digital world, and that could end up translating into greater voter participation and more votes.

"To me, on a broad level, if Donald Trump is the internet equivalent of some hateful meme, we are the internet equivalent of one of those videos ... that is a soldier coming up and getting a hug," Biden's digital director, Ron Flaherty, told CNN last week.

"We are living through one of the most existential changes to the way the internet behaves probably since Trump got elected. We are in a space where a lot is changing. There's a lot of evidence that people are pivoting towards consuming good news, feel-good stuff because of the environment that they're living in," he added.

EFE News

 600x350

Comentarios

Histórico de noticias
Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 3

Miami Desk, Jun 3 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Expert panel: Pandemic shows fighting "fake news" should be joint effort

Santiago, Jun 3 (efe-epa).- Announcements on the social and media networks promoting ingesting chlorine to cure Covid-19 have shown that "fake news" can be...

Evolution of pandemic in South, Central America of great concern to WHO

Geneva, Jun 3 (efe-epa).- The World Health Organization on Wednesday said that the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic in South and Central America is of...

Pentagon chief contradicts Trump by rejecting military deployment in US

Washington, Jun 3 (efe-epa).- Defense Secretary Mark Esper attempted to distance himself from President Donald Trump on Wednesday by saying that he does not...

Family-ordered autopsy confirms George Floyd died of asphyxiation

Washington, Jun 1 (efe-epa).- Two autopsies on George Floyd, the African American man who died exactly a week ago while being arrested by white Minneapolis...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 1

Miami Desk, Jun 1 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Boston ex-police chief: The problem's not the police, it's systemic racism

By Jairo Mejia

4 Brazilian states begin reopening with cases, deaths still on the rise

Sao Paulo, Jun 1 (efe-epa).- Several cities in the Brazilian states of Sao Paulo, Ceara, Amazonas and Para - four of the regions hardest hit by the...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 31

Miami Desk, May 31 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Pro- and anti-Bolsonaro forces clash in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo, May 31 (efe-epa).- Groups supporting and opposing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro clashed on Sunday in violent disturbances amid the political...

Police behavior stirring up violence amid US protests

Washington, May 31 (efe-epa).- Across the United States on Sunday, local authorities strengthened security measures to prepare for new after-dark riots and...

SpaceX Dragon capsule docks with International Space Station

(Update: Adds comments by crew and NASA officials)

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 28

Miami Desk, May 28 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

With 101,000 deaths, US still unable to slow spread of coronavirus

Washington, May 28 (efe-epa).- The United States, now with more than 101,000 official deaths from Covid-19, on Thursday still has not been able to halt the...

FBI giving top priority to black man's death at hands of Minneapolis police

Washington, May 28 (efe-epa).- The US Department of Justice and the FBI on Thursday issued a joint statement saying that they will undertake a "robust...

Migrants held in US detention centers at the mercy of COVID-19

By Alex Segura Lozano and Laura Barros

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 27

Miami Desk, May 27 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

NASA-SpaceX launch to International Space Station scrubbed due to weather

Miami, May 27 (efe-epa).- The historic launch of the NASA-SpaceX manned mission to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida...

Brazil's economic engine announces responsible resumption of activities

By Maria Angelica Troncoso

Expert: Pandemic revealing labor exploitation as in US slavery period

By Jorge Ignacio Perez

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 26

Miami Desk, May 26 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Florida expresses interest in hosting GOP conclave if Trump cancels NC event

Miami, May 26 (efe-epa).- Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, said that his state would love to host the Republican National Convention this summer...

Brazil, its image abroad marred, suffering record capital flight

By Carla Samon Ros

FBI investigating death of black man arrested by white cop

(Update: Adds identity of victim, firing of 4 police officers)