Sunday, November 09, 2008

“If not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be President"

Some heady claims in this commentary from, Web 2.0 And The Internet Delivered The Vote For Obama:

“If not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be President or even the democratic nominee,” claimed Arianna Huffington, of the liberal Huffington Post Web site... during a roundtable on the final day of the Web 2.0 Summit.

"Barack Obama built the biggest network of supporters we've seen, using the Internet to do it," Joe Trippi, an Internet political and business consultant who pioneered the use of the Internet in politics managing Howard Dean campaign in 2004, and who managed John Edwards' campaign in this election, told InformationWeek. "I don't think there's any doubt that communication through YouTube and other social networks put him over the top."

Compelling statistics are advanced to back these claims:

Barack Obama’s Facebook page has 2.6 million friends or supporters... John McCain’s Facebook page only had 64,000 supporters in contrast. .

There were over 500 million blog posts mentioning Barack Obama while only 150 million mentioned John McCain. Obama even had more MySpace friends than John McCain. Obama had 844,927 to McCain’s 219,404. These are also web 2.0 tools that voters used this year.

After laying this groundwork, the article poses a technologically modern, but very novel question.

With internet support so critical to the success of Mr. Obama's Presidential campaign, will it also be a tool for the President-elect to go "over the heads" of Congress to mobilize support for his legislative goals:

With this type of direct networking power, the White House may even be transformed from what we know it today. Web 2.0 may be finding its way into voter consciousness soon. Imagine a president going straight to the people for support on legislative initiatives in order to get Congress to enact them into law.

This could be the beginning of a true government run by the people for the people. Web 2.0 and the internet could be the groundwork for this principle.

We are seeing the beginnings of this trend already, as progressive American bloggers begin to advocate for the priority of their key issues, in favour of their suggested Cabinet appointments, and in opposition to others.

Perhaps we are already in the era of Politics 2.0.

More reading:

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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