This year, we will all witness and likely participate in the 2012 U.S. presidential election in an unprecedented manner thanks to social media and rapidly emerging technology. Not only are the campaigns and mainstream media using these tools, but voters will also have unique opportunities that will help inform their vote on Election Day come November. Here are five ways that digital media is changing the modern political environment in the U.S.:
As the 2012 presidential campaign continues to heat up, Election Day 2011 is just around the corner. In less than twelve days, Americans will head to the polls on Tuesday, November 8th to cast votes for various state and local candidates. And, we’ll be almost exactly one year away from voting to determine whether President Obama will serve a second term.
This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Holmes Report’s ThinkTank Live event here in Washington, DC where I discussed the evolving media landscape and the role of social media in shaping politics and public policy. In preparation, I got to thinking about how social media was impacting the election process this early in the race. Between the Romney-Perry video battles and the buzz around Herman Cain’s “smoking” ad featuring his chief of staff Mark Block, it was a perfect week to perform a little deeper analysis.
We discussed the new Kindle, Apple price fixing allegations, President Obama’s “We the People” petition via WhiteHouse.gov, government and social media, crowdsourcing, ID spoofing and much more.
Here are the show notes for TWiL #131: All You Need is Seven Inches.
Over the past couple weeks, the White House has been all about Twitter.
Of course, President Obama’s team isn’t exactly new to Twitter — and neither is the White House. His official @whitehouse Twitter account has been in use since April 2009 and his @BarackObama campaign handle launched in March 2007. Today, the campaign’s Twitter feed seems to be in full re-election mode with almost 9 million followers and the #Obama2012 staff working to keep it updated with both campaign and official White House news.
So, what’s new? The most recent activity of note is that the president himself is beginning to tweet.
Well, January 2011 is now behind us — and what a month it has been. Between the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona and complete Middle East meltdowns in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, one can only hope that things will get better! I remember so many people anxious to turn the calendar after last year but thought I’d take one last look back before officially saying goodbye.
In January 2010, I compiled a list of the Top 2009 news stories that either began on the Internet or gained additional steam online due to the impact of social media. After receiving a lot of terrific feedback, I decided to do it again. However, this time I tracked the stories in real time as the year progressed as opposed to trying to remember the sequence of events at the end of the year.
Since I live and work in Washington, DC, I tried to keep a special eye out for stories related to politics and/or government. Now that most of the stats are in and stories have unfolded — one month into 2011 — let’s take a journey back. Without further ado, here are my Top 20 Social Media News Stories of 2010 (in chronological order).
Since his departure from the White House in January 2009, much has been said and written about President George W. Bush’s personal choice to quietly step out of the national spotlight over the past two years out of respect for his Oval Office successor.
Tomorrow, November 9, 2010, President Bush breaks his silence with the official release of his new book, Decision Points.
In it, he takes a self-described “untraditional approach” to writing his life’s memoir by providing a unique perspective of his presidency and focusing on the most demanding part of the job… making decisions.
This past weekend, the Associated Press reported that the White House was moving to an open source content management system (CMS) known as Drupal. Many among the tech set have praised the move including Nancy Scola from techPresident who was among the first to write about the change in her post, WhiteHouse.gov goes Drupal. A good read.
For those not familiar with what this actually means, a CMS is basically the back-end (not visible to visitors) of a website that allows the administrators (owners) of the site — often non-programmers — to easily organize site navigation and add content designed to appear on the front-end.
For most CMS solutions, the user experience is pretty simple, usually consisting of a password protected login, options for varied user permissions for approval and forms with specific fields based on type of content such as text, photos, audio and video. Once entered and saved, the CMS stores the information in the back-end database and displays the content on the front-end when called up by a site visitor.
Traditionally, August is supposed to be a little quieter in Washington, DC. Not so this summer with the current debates heating up over the future of the US economy, bailouts, healthcare reform and energy legislation.
The Internet is certainly playing a key role. In fact, YouTube may have officially reached its digital advocacy “tipping point” when a handful of videos were recently uploaded featuring flustered politicians struggling to answer tough healthcare questions during several Congressional town hall meetings.
Many Democrats in support of the bill have moved to characterize opponents as an organized, astroturfing, angry right wing mob. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) even went so far as to call the protests “un-American.” On the contrary, it was the SEIU who was caught on tape beating Kenneth Gladney, a black conservative activist who was on site selling “Don’t Tread on Me” buttons and flags at a Russ Carnahan rally in St. Louis, Missouri.
Back in March, Jose Antonio Vargas from The Washington Post assembled a bipartisan group of five panelists to periodically review President Obama’s White House Website in a feature called “Grading WhiteHouse.gov.”
The group includes Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org; Andrew Rasiej, founder of the Personal Democracy Forum; Ellen Miller from the Sunlight Foundation; Jon Henke, a consultant and blogger for The Next Right; and David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
Due to the overwhelming response to the first column, Jose decided to add a guest reviewer for “Grading WhiteHouse.gov, Round Two,” which was posted earlier this week — and I was honored that he thought of me. Of course, he did indicate that he wasn’t going to be able to print my entire thoughts, but agreed to allow me to post them here.
There has been a lot of buzz recently about how President-Elect Obama might carry the online momentum created during his campaign into the White House with him come January 2009. Taking a step in that direction, the President-Elect announced this week that he may alter the traditional method of delivering the Presidential Weekly Radio Address.
As the Washington Post’s Jose Antonio Vargas reported yesterday in The YouTube Presidency:
President-elect Obama will record the weekly Democratic address not just on radio but also on video — a first. The address, typically four minutes long, will be turned into a YouTube video and posted on Obama’s transition site, Change.gov, once the radio address is made public on Saturday morning.
According to Mike Allen, who writes Politico.com’s Playbook, the Obama-Biden transition stated on Friday that “No President-elect or President has ever turned the radio address into a multi-media opportunity before.”