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Think global, talk local: Getting the party political message across in the age of the Internet

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This paper seeks to test the view that the Internet will provide politicians and political parties with a means of directly communicating with electors, so circumnavigating the perceived bias of the mass media, and explores how the political use of the Internet will impact on campaigning, particularly at the local/personal level. The evidence surveyed shows that political use of the Internet is, despite the hype, still in its infancy, but that more extensive use will lead to changes in the style and mode of political communications. The Internet will eventually enable politicians and parties to address a mass audience in qualitative new ways, tailoring their message and information dissemination to individual and local concerns. But this will bring all the consequences of direct communication, such as increased workloads and the danger of atomising the political process. Politicians and parties may hanker for the days when the traditional mass media intervened in the process of political communications.

This paper is an edited version of the one presented to ‘On Message: A Conference on Political Communication and Marketing’ sponsored by the Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group, Loughborough University, September 2000.
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Keywords: Internet; interactive politics; mass media; political campaigning; website design

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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