This week in class we are examining the role of new media in the political process. The purpose of this blog post is to examine a website about national politics and to assess how it presents political information, invites discussion and interaction, conveys a comprehensible message, and creates a space for the public to develop as a community around topics and share ideas.
I found Senator John McCain’s individual site extremely interesting in its format, tone, and invitation for financial, public/social, emotional, and opinionated support. The site is very easy to navigate and use. It is organized into 8 categories to facilitate user experience: Home (features rotating images/stories and the McCain Souvenir Launch, pressing issues, and the blog); About John; The Issues; Take Action; Events; The Blog; Newsroom; and Supporters. Also, on every page of the website there are two buttons on the upper right hand side: “sign up” and “donate.” The site invites visitors to explore the man, the campaign, and the issues; and it offers multiple ways to participate and show support. You can sign up for updates, print out lawn signs, post cards, sign petitions, donate, host an event…. The site visitor is “invited” not told to support McCain and is provided with a variety of accessible tools to do so.
The tone and phrasing of McCain’s website and categories are welcoming and warm; it encourages the relationships with site visitors who are prompted to “Connect” via text updates, “following John on Twitter,” being a Facebook fan, watching youtube videos, or viewing Flickr photos. The site also prompts: “Share your thoughts: John wants to hear from you.” Asking us to “share” and using “John” instead of Senator McCain further establishes a relationship with his supporters that I feel strengthens their connection to him and helps to strengthen the community that the site builds.
Something that I found immediately intriguing and unique was the McCain Supporter Wall. This section of the site asks: How do you contribute: it offers supporters a way to tell Arizona (their community) and the rest of the world why they choose to support John McCain. Some of the Testimonials are emotional, some are light-hearted, some are specific, and some are simply “yay support McCain.” There are very clear and accessible instructions for how to record your own video and add it to the wall. The site invites you to “join the conversation.” This provides a unique space for people to share their voices and to connect with the community of supporters.
Videos can also be categorized by “student,” “mayor,” “veteran,” etc. Below you will find 2 different types of testimonials. The first shows more of a general support for McCain and the second goes into more detail explaining his support of McCain’s specific politics.
1. Ollie_H.mp4 2.Thomas_S.mp4
On the site McCain outlines specific Issues that he is fighting for: what the issue is, how to solve it (his theories and ideas), and what obstacles stand in the way. The wording is clear and understandable and vocabulary and phrasing is inspiring. As a news source this may not be the best place for someone to come and get an unbiased report of world events; however, it does outline in a very understandable and accessible way for the public where he stands on issues. The Newsroom section provides links to outside articles about John McCain and the issues that he deals with. In this respect, it manages the message he wants to share but also connects it and backs himself up with outside sources.