Growing role of the Internet services in political marketing. Social networks in use in political life

Karolina Churska-Nowak and Piotr Pawlak


Nowadays, more and more spreading the thesis according to which the proper functioning of modern democracy is dependent on the same processes and phenomena that we observe on the open market. Representatives of political science, in particular specialists in the field of political marketing, highlight the numerous similarities between the sphere of politics (in a democratic political culture, the type involved) and the market economy (among them: B. I. Newman, P. Kotler, N. Kotler, A. Lock, P. Harris). Leaving aside the debate about justifiably of that thesis, we must agree with the fact, that political marketing is a constant element of present political life. One can argue about the origins of this phenomenon, seeing some signs of political marketing in some behaviors of the rulers or leaders since ancient times (eg, use of the phenomenon of solar eclipse), but according to most scholars, we can talk about political marketing with real player, only in terms of the democratic system (Cwalina, Falkowski, 2006). Bruce I Newman said in the late 90’s, that politics enters into the ‘age of fabricating the images’ (Newman, 1999). Thus, the modern political marketing is primarily a multi-dimensional use of mass media in order to create the desired (by the candidate and his election team), the image of the candidate and his fixation in the minds of recipients (readers, viewers, listeners and Internet users).

Political marketing in the XXI century is characterized by a marked shift of activities – from forcing ideological (even less popular) election slogans expressing the rigid belief of the party, to act more flexible, taking into account the particular needs and moods of society. Under this concept, the role of political marketing is going out to meet social expectations. An obvious prerequisite for an effective political marketing campaign are media. This is a permanent feature of contemporary political struggle, which plays an important role in the mechanisms of power. John Thompson (Thompson, 1994) places the media in one of the four, identified by their forms of governance. He extracts the economic power, political, based on coercion and symbolic. Economic power is organized within firms and corporations, whose main objective is to achieve financial gain and production. Political power is associated with nation-states, with clearly defined borders and centralized administration. Authority based on coercion takes the form of military and paramilitary forces, combined with the structures of the state. The symbolic power in the ability to use symbolic forms, generally understood as an expression, which transfers information and symbolic content, in order to intervene and influence the course of actions and events (Cwalina, Falkowski, 2006). In this sense the forms of power, the media are mainly part of the latter. Most of the mass media has been quite extensively studied and described in terms of their suitability for operations as marketing (both in the wider understood economy, and politics). Internet, which as a mass medium in full, we can talk about since the early 90’s (Castells, 2003), also has not gone unnoticed for analysts who examine political marketing. However, given the special nature of this medium, ‘the power of communication’ of the Internet is expressed primarily by it’s network services. The most common network services is of course the World Wide Web, in which there are constantly appeared new proposals. In recent years, more and more popular became various social networking sites. This is a relatively young medium, most recently also used for various marketing purposes.

Nowadays, political marketing more often became present in the cyberspace. The use of Internet as advertising platform is something different than traditional media marketing. Relative to TV, radio or posters, it’s much more cheaper – expressed in the size of consumers audience. Marketing specialists can reach larger number of consumers, spending less money than in the other kinds of promotion. Social networks are specific carrier of advertising, which is now universally used by the politicians in their campaigns. But using of social networks for closely advertise purposes is connected with various ethical dilemmas. Main aim of paper is to describe benefits of the use of social networks in political marketing, as well as to consider the moral and ethic side of that phenomenon. The case study here will be Facebook and ‘NK’, and their use in the local governments elections in Poland (21 November 2010). The aim of paper is to specify fluid border between public (political) and personal sphere of human activity in the cyberspace. If this border is possible to set up? The problem of social network in political life is connected with the political blog’s phenomenon, it will be another matter that we want to bring up.


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