With the advent of technology, there have been quite a few changes coming in. A huge part of the presidential campaigning is now done online, by means of campaign websites. These are indeed a very integral part of the whole campaign now. 8 years back when Obama campaigned in 2008, only 25% of the total adult population was active on social media. 8 years hence, in 2016, more than 65% of the adults in the United States use social media and networking. This makes communicating with the public online as an essential activity for the candidates.
But how was the situation 20 years back? Way back in 1996, Bob Dole was the first Presidential candidate to have made use of an online website for promoting his campaign. He laid the foundation which was followed by all the preceding candidates in all the elections henceforth. How did the first website look like? It was simple. It had a simple format, information about Dole, his stand on different policies, links to his speeches and the likes. Bob Dole, the man who never became the president, gave a new outlook and perspective to presidential campaigns.
The website dealt with a lot of issues Dole was working on. Some of the headlines include, ‘America should be the technology leader of the world’, and ‘Bob Dole will protect the constitutional liberty of Internet users’ and the likes.
The next interesting question here is, how was the first website made? The masterminds behind the site were Rob Kubasko and Vince Salvato, students of Arizona State University back then. They had the responsibility of building a campaign website, one that could beat Bill Clinton’s. The task was cut out. They would randomly work on the website and upload the information. Thereafter, the people in the campaign would get the uploaded data printed out, make changes and corrections and then fax the changes back to Kubasko. That was the work put behind this website.
Once all of that was completed, Dole announced his address on the air. There was no looking back from there. The site started getting hundreds and then thousands of visitors on a regular basis. This was a major highlight of Dole’s campaign. Clinton’s website faced similar situations, albeit a lot later. His website was simple as well, with a Briefing Room that contained the candidate’s views of immigrations, drugs and religious freedom. This was accompanied by pictures of Bill Clinton and a college electoral game that ran only on Windows 95 back then. Besides, there were some GIFS that worked when your cursor went over certain sections of the website. This Clinton-Gore campaign website was a success, something the candidates later looked up to.
But here is an interesting fact. The Dole Kemp website is still online at present. However, the last time it was updated was way back on November 5th, 1996. George Bush went on to have his own website in 2000, with the exciting addition of a video player.