Political conventions are fast evolving at the rate of technology. The Democratic and Republican Party Conventions that transpired in the past decade alone differ greatly from their predecessors. As technology has evolved so, too, has the manner in which convention attendees—from party officials to news media outlets—participate, express themselves, and interact with voters.
Smartphone devices are arguably the most important piece of technology carried into political conventions. News media outlets, activists, invited guests and observers communicate their firsthand observations in real time with the outside world. Party officials can even participate in convention ballots using their smartphone device.
AUDIENCE RESPONSE SYSTEMS
The primary purpose of a political convention is to select a party nominee for President of the United States, and decide on the electoral activities and platform of the party. In times past, the vote counting process would take convention organizers hours upon hours to complete.
Convention organizers today are using audience response systems for their ability to accomodate rounds of plank voting, automate the elections process, and calculate and display voting results in real time. With this technology, mobile devices, computers and wireless keypad clickers are transformed into voting devices. More often than not, convention leaders choose keypad clickers for optimum security, and deploy audience response systems on separate servers so that bandwidth consumption spikes don’t cause delays.
Video live streaming has become a fundamental part of how younger generations of voters consume political news. Convention leaders and television broadcasters no longer determine what makes it to the public. What’s more, any delays in official broadcasting from the party gives others the opportunity to get ahead of a story and fuel warring opinions.
In today’s digitized society, voters expect to watch convention proceedings in real time and receive instantaneous commentary. Party nominations, law amendments and new policies are expected to be announced as they’re decided upon. Responding to this demand from voters, convention leaders are using audience response technology and video live streaming to communicate rapidly with voters on social media. Ballot results are displayed in real time and nominee announcements are live streamed onto the party’s website and social media channels.
Party favorites and underdogs engage in social media wars from the convention floor. Convention speeches are fact-checked and evaluated in real time. It doesn’t take ten minutes for millions upon millions of voters to announce their support or disdain for party decisions, engage in heated debates, and formulate their opinions.
Technology has transformed every aspect of the political convention. How convention organizers, attendees and viewers communicate and engage with conventions is completely dependent upon technology. From the behind the scenes to center stage, political conventions have become more efficient, instantaneous and influential thanks to new technologies.