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In 2008, President Obama made history, riding his campaign’s strategic use of social media to appeal to the American youth and the greater public. Today, only four years later, use of social media by candidates and the general public is ubiquitous and this is seen in the current 2012 GOP presidential campaign.  At the same time, the unpredictable nature of social media usage means that narratives do not always follow their expected path—social media is a new variable in politics after all. In the current Republican presidential campaign, many worry that the GOP is fragmenting, creating a rigid ideological divide among party members. Is social media playing a role in this? If so, to what extent? The Republican Party has yet to rally behind one candidate and present a unified message heading into 2012. Among some of the areas we will touch on, we will analyze the candidates overall messaging strategies; compare and contrast traditional and new media coverage of the Republican primaries; explore candidates and grassroots use of social media; and with a view to placing social media in a greater socio-political context, we may delve into the impact of organic social movements such as the Tea Party and OWS.



William Nyikuli is an MA International Communication student at American University. Mr. Nyikuli’s academic interest includes issues in global organizations, social media, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and global governance.  Mr. Nyikuli works full-time as an Administrative Assistant at a International Organization. Before enrolling at American University he studied Political Science at the the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  After grad school, he plans to use his advanced degree to pursue a career  in an international organization, or multinational corporation working on implementing external or internal strategic use of ICTs.  Lastly, helping bridge the digital divide is another motivation for Mr. Nyikuli.

Ezma Joseph is currently pursuing an MA in Public Administration at American University with a concentration in state and local government. Ms. Joseph is currently focusing on poverty and education policy specifically within minority populations. Prior to attending American University, Ms. Joseph attained a degree in International Studies from the City College of New York . She hopes to work towards improving access to quality education for impoverished families and working towards improving social programs aimed at reducing poverty.

David Holtze is a BA International Studies student at American University. Mr. Holtze is a senior at American University with a focus on Latin America and International Communication(IC). David is interested not only, in the field of IC, but also recognizes the importance of International Development. Mr. Holtze is especially concerned with the issue of how to widen the availability of the internet and social media technologies to the Global South. In addition, he is interested in finding new ways of using social media as a new tool in order to help fund development projects throughout the globe. After graduation, Mr. Holtze hopes to attain a job in Washington DC that would allow him to use social media technologies in new and creative ways.

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