In honor of the upcoming elections I will take a peek into how music has affected campaigns through American History. Campaign songs are now chosen as meticulously as the words candidates use in speeches, the color of their ties, or the logos and phrases they use to promote themselves. Songs are chosen for lyrical content and overall sound. The point is to use the songs as a tool to help highlight the point or theme the candidate is trying to make. In older elections the songs were written specifically for the candidates; such as William Howard Taft’s 1908 campaign song “Get on a Raft with Taft.” The song wanted to convince voters to trust Taft and let him lead the country. Others had songs specifically written for their campaign but were less appealing. In the 1960 election Nixon ran with the campaign song “Click with Dick.” His campaign even gave out noisemakers but that still wasn’t enough to make the song more appealing.
In more recent years Presidents have chosen songs from popular music for their campaigns. Ronald Regan in 1984 chose Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” They campaigns capitalize on the already established popularity and recognition of the song. The songs do not even have to be from modern music. Bill Clinton in 1992 ran with Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow).” Occasionally the artist will not align themselves politically with the candidate. Such was the case with the current election. Candidate Romney was using a song by the Alternative Rock act the Silversun Pickups called “Panic Switch.” When they caught wind of its use for his campaign they immediately asked him to stop. The song was only being used during set-up at events but the band still protested its use.
The impact of music can be seen everywhere. Their use in advertisements and in political campaigns, are just another way we connect with these song. Aside from the personal connection we make with some songs we can often associate them with a different time and place; this makes them transcend music and become permanent fixtures in our culture. Songs chosen for campaigns have helped relay the overall message of the candidates. They can reflect hope, prosperity, and an overall sense of optimism. The songs chosen can sometimes have a great effect on the campaign just like the candidates have a great impact on history.
The campus-wide event, Mass Communication starts on October 29th through November 1st. This year’s event will have over 30 programs including interviews, panels and much more. Here with us today is Claudia Giertz. Claudia is a part of the campaign team for Mass Comm week.
So Claudia what is Mass Comm week?
“Mass Comm week is where speakers from all over the state and country to talk to students
about careers in different media either print, online, PR, through all different kinds of mediums.
Sometimes they are in panels, sometimes they have a topic they are discussing but there is
usually anywhere between five to ten sessions per day and basically speak to students.”
Where are these sessions held?
“It is located all over campus. They are going to be located in old main though some are going to
be in Evans, LBJ and we have some in Alkek.”
How is this Mass Comm different from ones in the past?
“This mass Comm is different because there is going to be a lot of emphasis on social media this
time. One of our big panels is just a bunch of people from different companies who have a very
strong twitter presence and social media presence and it’s all over the board we have in that
specific session we have Whole Foods, GSDMN, Spread Fast, Frank Burns from Feed Magnet
and Social Distillery.”
Last year you did have somewhat of a twitter presence are you going to emphasize on that
more this year?
“Our plan for promotion is extremely Twitter heavy we are doing a lot of twitter promotion we
actually have a contest going on, a social media contest where we are going to be giving out
prizes every day to people who can answer our questions via our tweeting, we are going to get
on Instagram, and have them Instagram pictures of the sessions. We are going to have sort of
a scavenger hunt as well to give out our grand prize. So yeah we are going to have a lot, we
are going to be all over twitter and we are going to encourage people to tweet and interact with
speakers via twitter during and after the sessions. On our schedule we have the twitter handle
for every single speaker. During or after the session they can follow the speaker on twitter, they
really encourage that and you can keep in contact and network that way.”
Are there any events that you personally are interested in going to?
“Actually, I am really looking forward to the social media session, the one I was talking about
with Whole Foods, GSDMN, Spread Fast, Frank Burns from Feed Magnet and Social Distillery,
just because I follow whole foods on twitter and they are extremely active, they are not a media
company but what they have done with twitter is really establish their presence and have really
become something that other companies should look at in how they should present themselves
on twitter as well. They have a really great campaign and a really loyal following and they do a
lot on twitter and they have been really successful with it. And I really excited to hear what they
have to say as far as how to make it work and what to do on a professional twitter account.”
So who is your Keynote speaker this year?
“The Keynote speaker is Ethan Zuckerman , he is the director at the MIT Center for civil media,
he is a senior researcher at the birkman center for internet society at Harvard. He is an internet
activist and his work focuses on the global blogisphere for free expression and social translation.
He has a very strong internet presence and he knows how to build community and strong web
presence in a professional manner. Not only is Ethan Zuckerman our Keynote Speaker but also he is speaking on the Common Experience because the Common Experience has to do with globalization and Mr. Zuckerman is
extremely experienced with that because we all know the web is a global entity.”
What do you think the participants will learn by attending these events?
“This year’s mass comm week will definitely be able to lead a lot of students to understand their
fields in a greater light they will definitely be able to lead people in the direction of either print
journalism, online social media, online journalism or PR because we have such a plethora of
speakers from all over the place talking about different subjects. So I think anyone who really
knows what they want to do will be inspired further to pursue their chosen career but anyone
who is on the fence about mass media will be inspired as well.”
Mass Communication week starts on October 29th and for more information at txstate.edu.
-Kelsey Nichols and Chris Henry