With the inauguration of President Obama this past week, it’s apparent that the use of e-mails, text messaging, video and social media networking has forever changed the history of political campaigning. Just think — never before have we seen a presidential campaign utilize new media the way the Obama camp did with such unprecedented ‘participation’ results. From the moment Barack Obama decided to seek the Democratic Party nomination, the in-boxes on both my cell phone and email overflowed with updates on every potential data point known to man — from the location of the future president, the speeches he was to deliver that day, updates on his evolving policy positions and certainly most importantly, on what I could do to help him win the presidency.
This fall the 2008 presidential race will really heat up (if you thought we were in the midst of it now, just you wait). To explore the impact of the ongoing convergence of new media and politics, I will be discussing “Campaigning on YouTube and in Second Life: How Much Will Web 2.0 Matter in the 2008 Election?” For several minutes we’ll take a look at and discuss the role and impact of Web 2.0 applications on modern-day American politics. Since the last presidential campaign we’ve seen that candidates are continually learning that the Internet is more than just a fund-raising tool. Rather, savvy campaign staffers are implementing the Web as an integral piece of their overall communications strategy. However, a seminal question remains: Is it possible to convert online buzz surrounding a candidate or an issue into actual votes at the ballot box come election day? And if so, who’s really meeting this new media communications challenge best?We’ll also look at how Web 2.0 has changed the old political campaign communications model and created a new influence model simply by taking online communications to the next level, giving each of the candidates the chance to have their voices heard via numerous online community building, social networking, and user generated content sites.
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