I’m extremely interested in watching the impact of social media on the current presidential election cycle, and I’m wondering if we really are at the point where, as the author of this post suggests:
Facebook and MySpace are as important as New Hampshire and Iowa.
I don’t think there is any doubt that the Obama campaign has gotten that message sooner than the rest. Their very savvy use of social tools on their Website has been an incredible boon to their fund raising and, in turn, their ability to capture delegates. Some of the deconstructions of the impact have already begun, as in this great piece in Rolling Stone. This quote sums up what’s happening:
“They’ve married the incredibly powerful online community they built with real on-the-ground field operations. We’ve never seen anything like this before in American political history.” In the process, the Obama campaign has shattered the top-down, command-and-control, broadcast-TV model that has dominated American politics since the early 1960s.
But the impact of blogger/observers is turning out to be pretty huge as well. According to the Technorati article, almost 30,000 blogs are parsing every word the candidates utter, every policy, every interaction (which is a good thing, right?) If 51% of Internet users are not turning to blogs to “gather information and communicate about politics,” and every indication is that the number will continue to grow, it’s pretty obvious that realities of being an engaged, informed voter are becoming more and more complex, and that our students are going to be stepping into that reality without a great deal of navigational skills unless we begin to bring these shifts into our curriculum.
So how are we doing that?