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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

TCU alumni connect with each other at Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. on Friday Oct. 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tristen Smith)
How TCU's alumni chapters keep the Horned Frog spirit alive post-grad
By Addison Thummel, Staff Writer
Published May 11, 2024
TCU graduates can stay connected with the Horned Frog community with alumni chapters across the nation.

Candidates should utilize technology in campaigns

About 70 million people watched on Sept. 26, 1960, as a handsome young senator charmed the cameras while his opponent dripped sweat and appeared confused beneath his receding hairline during America’s first televised presidential debate. The young senator, John F. Kennedy, knew how to take full advantage of television – the latest in technology – to outshine his opponent, then Vice President Richard Nixon.

For people who listened to the debate on radio, Nixon was the decided victor. In fact, if both candidates played by the old rules of radio and newspaper campaigns, Nixon likely would have won the presidency.

But the rules of the game had changed as technology improved.

James Riddlesperger, department chair of political science, said that successfully harnessing new technology, as Kennedy did with television, is essential to winning the presidency.

“No one could have anticipated the impact of the Kennedy-Nixon debate,” Riddlesperger said.

It isn’t surprising, then, that current presidential hopefuls are harnessing the power of the Internet by creating profiles on social networking Web sites.

Social networking Web sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, and sites devoted to creating content for these social networking sites fill roughly half of the top 20 most visited sites on the Web according to Web information company Alexa.com.

“What you have to do to be good on TV is obvious,” said Adam Schiffer, an assistant professor of political science who teaches a media and politics class.

Unlike television, campaigning online isn’t as simple as looking good and speaking eloquently.

The ability to send a single message, photo or video clip to hundreds of millions of people with the click of a button means a more efficient way of getting information to voters, but also a faster and easier way to put out misinformation.

Schiffer said he is unsure how a presidential candidate would have to behave online to do well, but said Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s method of putting out snappy videos on YouTube.com has been successful while former Sen. John Edwards’ campaign has suffered from unauthorized footage of him combing his hair.

Democrats seem to have the advantage when it comes to social networking sites.

“Republicans tend to be more conservative in terms of playing by the old rules such as having $2,000-a-head fancy dinners with lobbyists,” Schiffer said.

This sentiment was echoed by Celeste Greene, president of TCU College Democrats.

“It seems like something Democrats would be more likely to use because it is part of the grassroots system and Democrats use grassroots more than Republicans,” Greene said.

In fact, Greene, who supports Obama, said that Facebook is currently how TCU College Democrats are meeting after the club’s status as an official group lapsed last year. It was through Facebook that she was able to get enough signatures to re-establish the club this year.

Even Aaron Ginn, an active member of College Republicans, said that if Facebook or MySpace has any kind of impact on the upcoming election, it will be in favor of a Democratic candidate. Ginn, who supports former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney on Facebook, said the current popularity of Democratic candidates is based in a desire to see a change from the current administration.

“It reflects the mood of the current political climate and the idea that if you vote Republican you vote for war,” Ginn said.

While there are still no statistics about whether people who support candidates online will actually get out and vote, using the Internet to gain support is now and will continue to be a staple in presidential elections.

Even if it just means mudslinging evolves to posting a video of a sweaty opponent on YouTube.

Talia Sampson is a senior news-editorial journalism and international relations major from Moorpark, Calif.

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