Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ah, the Internet

On one of the news programs, I heard Hillary's campaign compared to a suicide bomber.  That rallying cry you hear at her speeches, "Yes She Can," kind of says it all:  Obama's campaign is about yes WE can, hers is about her.  

Also reading a column in Newsweek about how the race is being shaped by Internet use.  I think it was Jonathan Alter's column.  He talks about Obama's use of the Internet to bundle small donors in fundraising, which was used successfully by both Howard Dean and John Kerry.  He notes that Hillary is just now starting to use that technique--which says a number of things.  My husband pointed out that when he met with them about a year or so ago to pitch them on the use of the Internet, it was clear that they didn't even want to consider it--they knew what they were doing--and they were going to run a campaign just like Bill's successful 1992 campaign (um, before the Internet was widespread--I didn't even have an email account until 1995).  This also speaks to her confidence that the primary was going to be a cakewalk.  She didn't need that much money, and could get it from big donors without any real time investment.  

Alter also talks about the use of video on YouTube and other outlets to end-run the sound bite.  For Obama's race speech, his campaign carefully crafted it to have zero sound bites.  Which meant that if you didn't pick up the whole thing the first time, you heard about it, heard that it was good, and could go to YouTube and watch the whole thing by yourself.

The bottom line here (for me at any rate, because I have to get to sleep) is that people keep noticing that there's a significant generational divide in the campaign.  They also note that people who are better educated tend to vote for Obama in greater numbers.  This is all being charged to liberal elitism.  But I bet if you checked those demographics against computer & Internet usage, computer ownership, you'd probably see that people who either own a computer or use one regularly to access the Internet tend to vote for Obama.  Alter doesn't note this, I don't think (I'm not sure I read to the end of the article), but he does note that the campaigns are showing a basic divide in how people get and manage their information.  And I bet that correlates with who's voting for who.

And this is pretty sad: equating computer use and access with elitism kind of sends us back to the Stone Age as a country, don't you think?  Or perhaps that's what we're trying to crawl out of right now?

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