Visualizing a campaign

Andrew Terefenko
January 22, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

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If you know any of the five candidates on Facebook or other social media platforms, chances are you’ve seen a gratuitous amount of pictures of them this week. Granted, some candidates are more guilty of this than others, but it is an endemic problem that I’ve seen in each of the last four elections I have witnessed. Sometime in this decade (and perhaps before that) campaigns became more about personality than about problem-solving.

Take, for example, the myriad of images in which the candidate is posing with a supporter. Popularized in previous president Campbell’s second campaign, it has become a sort of campaign chic to surround oneself with faces of students, just like you the voter, to get across this idea of approachability and being “one of us.” When David did it, it was during his campaign, not at the start, consisted of students found in MUSC, and he asked them what they want.

On day one of this campaign, candidates were ready out of the gate with a slew of these pictures, without the randomness and requisiton. What purpose does it serve to voters wanting to absorb your message if the majority of your campaign is materials in which you are surrounded by people you selected to support you?

If the imagery wasn’t oppressive enough, many of these campaigns also muddle their message as they try to find some “simple” analogy to wrap it up neatly in one buzzword or phrase. By trying to simplify your message, you are assuming that students are too dumb or apathetic to understand it, and that is not the kind of message you want to start your campaign with. We are not in high school. We are in a place of higher learning, so please have faith that we can understand your platform even if you don’t condense it into one snappy, #hashtaggable quote.

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I am not going to call out any of the candidates specifically, because I do not think I can possibly hurt your campaigns more than you have done already through these tactics.

Don’t pander to the lowest common denomiator. Don’t look down on the student body you are hoping to represent. And don’t try to give us the abstract of your campaign.

We’re smart enough to hear your message the way you see it, even if it is hard to fit beside that enormous picture of your face.

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  • Andrew Terefenko

    Andrew Terefenko is the Executive Editor of the Silhouette, having completed two terms as Production Editor and one as Opinions. He is open to constructive criticism, as long as it is flattering.

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