The German election year 2009 saw the first attempts by political parties to include Web 2.0 services in their online campaigns. The 2009 election therefore offers the opportunity to examine how political parties outside the USA – where online campaigning has become commonplace – choose to use online tools in their campaigns. This paper examines the online campaign of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) with a special focus on the campaign's use of Web 2.0 services. The different elements of the campaign will be discussed with regard to three basic functions of online campaigning provided by the relevant literature: 1) presence in the online information space; 2) support of the infrastructure of politics; 3) creation of symbols for political support and participation. This paper shows that these functions were all present in the CDU's use of online tools in the campaign of 2009
Mit der Nutzung von Social Media gehorchen öffentliche Verwaltungen
dem Zeitgeist. Außerdem bieten sich Behörden durch den Einsatz sozialer
Netzwerke viele neue Möglichkeiten. Die Angebote fordern jedoch Zeit,
Lernbereitschaft und eventuell Anpassungen der Struktur der Kommunikationsarbeit.
Increasingly, political actors have to act in online communication environments. There they meet overlapping networked publics with different levels of participatory cultures and varying expectations of participation in the (re)making and co-production of political content. This challenges political actors used to a top-down approach to communication. Meanwhile, online users are increasingly politically involved as legislatures all over the world become more active in regulating communication environments online. These new political actors often share participatory practices and have high levels of new media skills. Now they are challenged to adapt these bottom-up participatory cultures to the traditional political environment. This paper examines these adaption processes by examining three examples from the campaign for the German federal election of 2009. These examples include the attempt of Germany's conservative party (CDU) to encourage their supporters to adapt participatory practices, the German Social Democrats' (SPD) top-down production and distribution of online content that mimicked the look and feel of user-generated content, and the bottom-up emergence of political flash mobs.