Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Good Washington Post Article on Impact of Internet

The Washington Post has an interesting article dated Tuesday, April 1, 2008, about the impact of the internet on presidential campaigns. It describes that for managers of campaigns, the internet seems very chaotic because the campaign can't control the message nearly as well since the internet has arrived on the political scene. This is a quote from the article concerning Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean's 2004 campaign:

To Joe Trippi, who pioneered Howard Dean's insurgent online campaign in 2003, this is "the beauty and also the curse of the Web. . . . Like it or not, an army of people are working for you or against you." A veteran of past presidential campaigns -- he worked for Sen. Edward Kennedy, former vice president Walter Mondale and former congressman Richard Gephardt -- Trippi says the hardest thing for him to learn was to cede control.

One thing that the internet is doing, at least for presidential campaigns, is making it much easier to donate to political campaigns. This quote from the article illustrates how much this has benefited Barack Obama:

Still, the Web's impact has been profound. For instance, running a serious campaign means raising a serious amount of money. Without the Web, the relatively unknown Obama would have been unable to mount such a strong challenge to the more prominent Clinton. Nearly 60 percent of the $193 million that Obama has raised so far in his campaign -- about $112 million -- came from online contributions, with 90 percent of them in amounts of $100 or less.

The impact of the internet is just beginning because, as the article points out, older voters still tend to use television and newspapers to get their political information. That's changing, though. Americans over 65 are the fastest growing users of the internet. As more and more Americans become savy about politics on the 'net, its impact will continue to grow.

Read the whole article here.

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