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What is e-campaigning?

“E-campaigning” designates the use of “new” communication technology, such as the internet and mobile telephones, in campaigning. E-campaigning can be a quick, cheap and effective way of contacting, informing and mobilizing large numbers of people in contexts where electronic tools are easily accessible and widely used. World-wide data show that average internet use tends to increase more rapidly than gross national product (Rosling, H., TED Talk, 2006), making the internet a powerful potential motor for social progress. Over the past decade, e-campaigning has become a major feature in campaigns to end violence against women and girls.

E-campaigning involves using passive tools and active tools, often in a combination of ways. Passive tools establish a one-way communication: users receive information via e-mail or by consulting a web-site. In recent years, e-mailing, comment and posting functions on websites and blogs, social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) and other new technologies enable two-way conversation, often in real time, turning the internet into an active tool. Campaign supporters and anyone who finds a message – or its design – appealing can relay it throughout their social networks by a few mouse clicks, generating a cascade of communication. The term viral spread has been used to designate such spontaneous, unregulated propagation of a message.

To make the most of e-campaigning, it is of key importance to design a deliberate strategy based on an analysis of the target audiences and the ways in which they use communication technology. E-campaigning can enhance the chances to reach the campaign goal if effective techniques and tools are chosen to reach the audience. To monitor progress, different technical solutions are available, such as counting and tracking “hits” on web-sites; running short internet polls with audiences, gathering and publishing their feed-back.