Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Politics & The Internet...Are you Ready?

Original Post: TexasEntrepreneur.net

Once upon a time, well...last campaign season to be exact, I had the opportunity to visit a government class lecturing on the various theories behind technology & politics, and their impact on political campaigns. On this day, a local candidate, who was running for office and shall remain nameless, came to speak on this topic.

Long story short...the candidate summarized with the following thoughts by the end of the speech, "The internet is not useful in campaigns, and I believe it to be a waste of time, energy, and money". Immediately, I knew this candidate would lose...no matter how much money they spent. Sure enough, election day rolled around, and not only did they financially out raise and out spend their opponent 5-1, they ended up losing in a very big way.

Is this political newbie saying that their loss was entirely due to the ineffective use of internet and technology? Absolutely not. In fact, I believe it has more to do with the old school mentality behind politics and campaigning. There's this overriding attitude that alot of current politico's have, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Old school political campaigning has worked in the past, why shouldn't it work today."

Well, I'm here to tell ya...Politics is about to change in a very big way. So you better be ready, cause it's already beginning to happen...

Let me share with you a few things...you might be amazed as to what's already going on.

Unity 2008

Unity08 is creating the first-ever online convention, and it will happen in June of 2008. Unity08 will nominate a Unity Ticket of with one Republican and one Democrat for President and Vice-President, or an Independent with a Unity Team drawn from both parties. This ticket will be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Imagine what this kind of technology can and will do to the political process. We've already seen the explosion of Web 2.0 and social networking software. Just look at the popular uses of things like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and ect. Will Unity08 actually achieve its goals? Who knows...I will tell you, I'm very interested in watching the process...

Check it out, and learn about how technology is being used to their advantage.

Google Boss Warns Politicians About Internet Power

This is an article I saved about Google Inc., written in October of 2006. One of the things you gotta love about Google is their ability to really think outside the cubicle. They spend an enormous amount of time brainstorming ways in which they can tear down those blue felt walls we've all become accustomed to. Google is probably the company I admire most.

LONDON (Reuters) - Imagine being able to check instantly whether or not statements made by politicians were correct. That is the sort of service Google Inc. boss Eric Schmidt believes the Internet will offer within five years.

Politicians have yet to appreciate the impact of the online world, which will also affect the outcome of elections, Schmidt said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.

He predicted that "truth predictor" software would, within five years, "hold politicians to account." People would be able to use programmes to check seemingly factual statements against historical data to see to see if they were correct.

"One of my messages to them (politicians) is to think about having every one of your voters online all the time, then inputting 'is this true or false.' We (at Google) are not in charge of truth but we might be able to give a probability," he told the newspaper.

The chairman and chief executive of the world's most popular Internet search engine was speaking during a visit to Britain this week, where he met Prime Minister Tony Blair and spoke at the Conservative Party's annual conference.

"Many of the politicians don't actually understand the phenomenon of the Internet very well," Schmidt told the Financial Times. "It's partly because of their age ... often what they learn about the Internet they learn from their staffs and their children."

The advent of television taught political leaders the art of the sound bite. The Internet will also force them to adapt. "The Internet has largely filled a role of funding for politicians ... but it has not yet affected elections. It clearly will," Schmidt said.

Writing in the Sun tabloid, the Google boss said the online world has empowered ordinary people with the ability to challenge governments, the media and business.

"It has broken down the barriers that exist between people and information, effectively democratising access to human knowledge," Schmidt wrote.

"This has made us much more powerful as individuals."

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, one of the Democrat Presidential Contenders, has embraced new technology for his campaign, and is currently utilizing Web technology to build a base for continued momentum. As my friend James always says, "It's all about the big MO". If you visit his site, MyBrarackObama.Com you can actually sign up for his campaign version of MySpace and Facebook.

Will this help Obama defeat Hillary, the establishment's candidate, during the heated primary race? Who knows...but I bet his use of alternative campaign methods gives her a run for her money.

Just as a side note: We saw Howard Dean use some of these same tactics when running for president, and subsequently raising over $20 million dollars online. Interestingly enough, at this point in time online social networking was in its infancy. This strategy, along with Obama's ability to be less eccentric than Mr. Dean, will make this an exciting primary season.

In The End...

It'll be interesting to see which Republican Candidate latches on to technology. If I had to place a bet on it...my money would be on the McCain Campaign...Their primary consultant is incredibly savvy with technology, and I've actually had the great pleasure of meeting and learning from this man. I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

I'll have more thoughts on this subject towards the end of 2007, as campaign season heats up again...Primary Elections are starting up earlier than normal, and I'm guessing that the winners and losers will be mostly decided by Feb of 08.

-Tom Serres
(A Texas Entrepreneur)

No comments: