Rachel K. Gibson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester.
Rachel Gibson impressively accomplishes three tasks. First, she traces the growth of new technologies in election campaigns. Second, she documents a repeating pendulum swing, moving first toward greater openness and equality in campaigning, followed by greater centralizing of power among party elites. Finally, the growth of these new technologies has opened the way for a new elite, the nerds of the title, to gather power. All in all, she has a triple achievement. -- John Aldrich, Duke University This book provides a fresh and comprehensive look at the internet in election campaigns. It combines a historical framework with compelling comparative analyses to examine how increasing use of digital technology has affected campaigns across countries. Gibson focuses on adaptation by parties and campaigns as organizations, from the early days of experimentation with the Web through social media to the incorporation of data analytics. The cross-country analysis of what this means for campaigns and power is illuminating and persuasive. -- Bruce Bimber, University of California, Santa Barbara An extraordinary must-read for scholars and the general public alike interested in great political narratives. Gibson gathers incredible insights into modern online campaigning, tracing smoothly its development in the last 30 years. The book advances both the theory of the impact of the internet on political communication and provides a strong, empirically grounded analysis. It is an exciting and captivating volume that is hard to put down and will greatly enrich readers' knowledge of the subject. -- Karolina Koc-Michalska, Audencia Business School, France In this must-read volume, Rachel Gibson analyzes and stages the evolution of two decades of digital technology to demonstrate the promise and eventual performance of online campaigning in democracies. Her work illuminates how 'nerds' have worked their way from the periphery to the center of election campaigns, replacing the hope of more open campaigns with the reality of digital experts and algorithms assuming more power in trying to persuade voters. This is a sweeping work from a leader in the field that informs our understanding of the critical intersection of technology, parties, and voters in new and illuminating ways. -- Sarah Oates, University of Maryland, College Park This seminal book not only is a brilliant overview about modern digital campaigning on the highest scholarly level, it also is a brilliant work on comparative political communication. -- Andrea Roemmele, Hertie School Based on a unique, sweeping, and multi-method investigation of thirty years of digital campaigning across four major Western democracies, Rachel Gibson provides both a comprehensive history and a critical assessment of the internet's move from the periphery to the centre of the electoral process. Gibson's analysis answers important questions about the evolving relationship between the internet and key actors and processes in elections and democracy, as well as providing a blueprint for studying these important phenomena in the future. -- Cristian Vaccari, Loughborough University