Thumbs up or thumbs down on web politics?

by Debra Kozikowski

 webpolitics_side

There was something going on at the social networking sites today. People were asking their friends on web sites like Facebook to post status updates indicating their support for health care reform. It went something like this:

Do you think that no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick? If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

Web based politics really heated up in the 2004 election cycle with Howard Dean’s bid for the presidency.  But those enthusiastic orange-hatted kids swarming the streets in Des Moines were mostly heading to Starbuck’s for their free wireless connect instead of connecting with Iowa caucus goers.  Down the street at the Kerry headquarters folks were still doing it the old-fashioned way — one phone call at a time. To be fair about the value of technology, they were using cell phones. But it was voice contact in real time, one person at a time — not en masse keyboard communication.

In  a case study of web politics released in November of 2004 the following conclusion was drawn:

In a year when online campaigns showed great potential, the election results proved that Web marketing still has some growing up to do.

The Obama team tweaked the Dean model and created a lean mean campaign machine that was hailed for transforming the use of the Internet in political campaigns.  Meanwhile, John McCain outright dissed the Internet as a campaign tool and was dissed for it.  And we all know what ultimately happened to John McCain. 

For what it’s worth, when the request came to use my Facebook status update to declare my support for health care reform, I immediately hit the “share” button.  Next thing I knew a friend living and working in Britain sent me a note saying she’d received a thumbs up from a member of PM Gordon Brown’s staff.  The communication reach is broad and immediate.

Still, this latest round of Internet organizing begs the question: Does internet politicking bring the mountain to Mohammed or is it simply a modern version of preaching to the choir?  Today’s exercise may provide the beginning of an answer.

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2 Responses to “Thumbs up or thumbs down on web politics?”

  1. Yup. I got one of those FB messages too and posted it as my status update all day. Does it help? I think it doesn’t hurt.

  2. […] DebbySKoz wrote an interesting post today onThe Back Forty » Thumbs up or thumbs down on web politics?Here’s a quick excerpt […]

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