Friday, November 7, 2008

America 2.0

Numerous articles have been written about how Obama's victory was a victory of the Internet as a medium for reaching out to people. Elections in this country (and thus slowly around the world) are never going to be the same again. Three things, in decreasing order of impact, but increasing order of coolness:
1. YouTube: Obama's campaign used YouTube very effectively - diligently posting every single video out there for people to watch on YT. They have gotten ridiculous numbers of views on these videos, never mind all the auxilliary videos that other people made about campaign or parts thereof or Change - all basically selling the Obama brand. The numbers on his YouTube page are absolutely astounding. 1.2M views, 2.3M views - absolutely nuts. YouTube's importance as a medium for communication, (mostly) without restriction, and its gobal reach can only make this an even more important medium in the future.
(Full Disclosure: I work at Google on YouTube, but these opinions are mine and do not represent the views of Google or any of its subsidiaries or employees (other than me))
2. Twitter: Obama's twitter updates were good, but not great. They were more propogandaish and less extemporaneous, the way the rest of the world uses twitter. I think by 2012 campaigns will have fully figured out how to make use of twitter and we will see a *lot* more tweeting going on. In case you missed out, some of the best election time comedy was played out on twitter via FakeJohnMcCain and FakeSarahPalin.
3. Flickr: I only found out about Obama's flickr page today, and its fabulous. The pictures on flickr are so "in-the-moment", its unbelievable. If you wanted to show the "human" side of Obama (not that he has any trouble with image-management), that flickr site is all you would need to point people at. I can only imagine that someone like Flickr will grow as a medium for pictures that are not official and are not shot by professionals at Time and other places.

Technology, or rather, the Internet, has forever changed the way elections are run; the way campaigns get the word out to people.; the way money is raised. I truly appreciate how much the Obama campaign "gets it" as far as tech is concerned. Case in point: is up and its barely two days after election night. This is truly government that moves at Internet speeds. I can't wait for January. I truly hope that Obama makes good on his promise to open up Government and bring the best of the Internet - openness, speed, flexibility, instant communication and response - to Washington. This really is America 2.0.

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