Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Behold the Power of the Internet

By Joe Sims
A new study released Sunday by the Pew Center points to the dramatic increase in the power of the Internet in US presidential politics. According to the study, some 46 percent of the US people have used the Internet in some form, (web pages, podcasts, cell phone text messages) to get information on or take action in the campaign. Pointing to the power of web video, some 35 percent reported watching video on-line about the campaign, a three-fold increase over 4 years ago. The study suggests that Democrats, particularly Obama supporters are more engaged in this multi platform medium than either Republicans or Independents.

Getting information however, is just one dimension of Internet use. Most candidates and perhaps most readers of this story still view it as broadcast medium. One writer says that this is perhaps the last election in which that misconception will continue. Writing in PC magazine Chole Albanesius quoting Josh Bernoff makes this point well:

"They see the social Internet as another form of broadcast media, and I think this is the last election that this kind of thinking will be supported."

Right now the article comments ““The candidates are using the Internet to help them campaign, but what happens after the election?” The suggestion here using social networks to stimulate public interaction is what's coming next.

"What would happen if Obama said, 'Listen, I have this idea that we should be getting the troops out of Iraq, what is the best way for me to communicate that,'" Bernoff asked. "What would happen if Clinton said, 'I'm concerned about the needs of working families, and here is a list of 12 [ideas], which do you like the best?' How could you become involved in helping to do this?"

Think about it folks, as a multi platform entity the internet is more than just a broadcast medium. Much more. It has the potential of changing the way politics itself is done. And by the way: that potential is here.

No comments: