For my Capstone Project, I have decided that I would like to research how the Republican party uses social media to campaign before an election. At first, I wanted to look at the national phenomenon, because social media is easily accessible and does not account for geographic expanses separating users. My links in my blog post last week reflected this mindset and they mostly focused on incidents in the 2008 Presidential election in which John McCain did not employ social media to further his cause. Many Republican leaders point to this lack of technological savvy as one of the main reasons that McCain lost the election. This example is a warning to many Republican hopefuls and will probably be a key part of my research. After meeting in class this last week, I have decided that I want to narrow my focus from national issues to a more local level. I wish to research how the Republican party in New Jersey uses social media. I feel like this is a much more manageable scope than trying to look at the entire country very broadly.
In order to properly look at this topic and answer my research question I will gather information in a few different ways. First, I will look at scholarly articles on the subject that are more tailored to my specific research question, rather than broad national issues. I hope to find articles that deal with specific types of social media that are used more often rather than just social media in general. In addition to traditional article research, I would also like to conduct interviews with key players in the New Jersey Republican scene if it can be accomplished within the given time frame. Possible interviewees could be the President of the Rutgers College Republicans club, whom I know personally. In addition, I would like to see if I can interview a Republican member of the House of Representatives from New Jersey, or perhaps someone from the state legislature. It may also be a good idea to try to speak with someone at the Eagleton Institute of Politics on campus to get their academic perspective on the phenomenon.
When I am finished gathering my research, I would like to present it in the form of a WordPress document. It will be a research paper, but I want to incorporate some sort of digital interactivity into the project because it will connect more with the DCIM minor. In order to do this, I may create some sort of video showing important techniques that the Republican party uses, or an interesting group of facts that I come across in my research. I also want to include examples of YouTube campaign promotions from the local area if I can find any pertinent examples in my research. My target audience is Republican party members that need to become more technologically savvy and who need to embrace social media in order to become successful in a future election or party function. I want to make this project in an easily readable format which will require a high degree of interactivity as well, because readers become bored when faced with a 12-15 page research document.
In order to help me determine the details of my project, I would like feedback from the class on a few ideas/concepts. First, what would make you more interested when reading a long document about my subject? Would you want to see videos or another type of media? In addition, is there a particular person that you would interview about this subject that I have not named, and why? Any other feedback is very appreciated. Thank you and see you in class!