Thursday, February 19, 2009

Politics and Web 2.0

After experiencing the first election with Web 2.0 I'd like to take a look back on the potential impact it had on election. In chapter five Dan Gillmor also predicts politics and the internet, which was not too far off.

For the 2008 election Web 2.0 completely changed my voting/information gathering process compared to the 2004 election, which I was also fortunate enough to participate in. Sure, we had the internet in 2004, but it wasn't nearly as advanced as it is now and the candidates from my understanding, were not using it in nearly the same fashion as in 2008. For this past election I used features of Web 2.0 for election coverage and information every day for months leading up to the election. I watched videos online of my favorite programs every night, I downloaded the Obama 08' application for my iPod Touch, and watched live streaming videos on CNN of stump speeches and debates every chance I could. Maybe this election was just more significant than in 04' but regardless I participated at a much higher level in the 08' election and I believe Web 2.0 played a big role in explaining why.

Like Howard Dean started, Obama took full advantage of the internet to generate campaign donations raising the most funds in United States history. This isn't the determining factor as to why Obama ended up winning, but if you looked at how the two candidates utilized the internet I think Obama came across much more savvy and definitely helped him more than it hurt him. Overall he made the internet a very high priority in his campaign efforts and had the foresight to identify how important of a tool it could be for him come election day.

Obama didn't stop once he was elected President, however. During his transition to the White House he posted weekly video addresses to the public on YouTube and his website, which is now the official website of the President/White House. One thing I think Obama has realized is that we cannot continue to reach out to people in traditional ways. With Web 2.0 he has been able to communicate with citizens on a level nobody has ever come close to before, which says volumes about why he is president and the record breaking voter turnout in 08'.

To paraphrase Buzz Lightyear. To Web 2.0 and beyond!

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