What's the net effect of the Net Effect on Election 2008?

If we think about the impact that TV has had on elections since those much discussed Kennedy-Nixon televised debates, I can imagine the same discussions, papers and theses being written now for the Net.

Whether or not the net effect of the Net Effect from sites like YouTube will have a meaniningful impact on this election or not, 2007 was already big for YouTube Politics.

Some moments:

Even across the pond, the Queen launched her Royal Channel. The significant factoid for that is that it was the 50th anniversary of her first TV Christmas address.

It certainly helps the reputation of a site like YouTube when candidates set up official campaign channels on their You Choose '08. Seven of the 16 presidential candidates even announced their candidacies on YouTube.

Whether on a TV set or online, candidates connect to voters using video more often than any other way. It's early in the Net Effect, so most candidates still see online video as a small version of big screen TV which is naive. (Not so different from educators who naively treat their first online course as the same as the face-to-face version but with digital files, or the college that treats its online press releases the same as the ones it has been printing for 50 years.)

All that will change. The idea that anyone can upload a video with their political message, and that some oddball clips will get many eyeballs is frightening to those that worked in a time when only frontrunners could even consider getting a commercial on the air.

The two presidential debates, where YouTube wisely joined with CNN for even more street cred, had 8000 video questions submitted. Very social network & Election 2.0 I'd say.

It's not just YouTube. A site like TechPresident (run by the Personal Democracy Forum)is focused on looking at all this technology and politics. Will Richardson looked at it and came close to endorsing Obama just by the quotes he pulled from the site, and I don't want to make any endorsements here. Will says that "most of the bloggers on the site have a left-leaning feel to their posts, so this summary will probably end up comparing favorably with the look at the Republicans that is still to come."

Which circles us around to education and politics. Do we teach politics? No doubt. But in our politically correct classrooms, we need to be careful. I think a good approach is to teach students to look for the bias and facts and turn this into real research practice.

As someone who grew up a "child of television" but ended up with a grad degree in media, I know that just being exposed to TV didn't give me any knowledge about how it worked. Our Net Generation students are not so different.

From the Washington Post

If the Internet is like a big grocery store, Obama’s aides made sure he appeared on every aisle. As some campaign workers built mailing lists and telephone trees according to political, professional and personal interests, others created the first groups and profiles on sites as varied as Eons, the MySpace for baby boomers, and LinkedIn, a site mostly for white-collar professionals.

They also used BlackPlanet.com, MiGente.com, AsianAve.com and GLEE.com--the MySpace and Facebook for, respectively, the African American, Latino, Asian and gay online communities. They have posted more than 350 videos on his YouTube channel, twice as many as Clinton, and his videos have been viewed nearly twice as often as hers. Obama has more MySpace friends than any other Democratic candidate, and he lists more Facebook supporters than all other Democrats combined.


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