The Influence of Technology on
Can, and will, the next generation
of politicians exploit the communication mediums
available to them? Will the new communication
mediums have the power to influence public opinion?
Will politicians be the victims of technology,
or will they use it to their benefit? Will one
party benefit from the use of the technology more
than another? All reasonable questions, considering
the role technology plays in today's society.
The staggering distribution numbers,
through channels like iTunes, YouTube, or podcasting
websites, indicate that technology could play
a critical role in the upcoming elections. Technology
could be the deciding factor in the 2008 US Presidential
race, and while distribution has never before
been as accessible as it is to today's politicians
and political candidates, politicians have far
less control over the news and media than their
counterparts in previous years.
The curious need not look any further
than YouTube to find the latest political constituents
being haunted by their own words and dogged by
their past missteps. Today's politicians have
far less control of the news media and messages
associated with their candidacy.
The Internet and technology is positioned
to play a huge role in elections. Whether that
truly occurs remains to be seen.
What Will Technology Affect?
Raising revenue for a political campaign is one
of the biggest hurdles the candidates have to
overcome in order to make a successful political
run. We saw this when Howard Dean initially soared
to fame as the result of grass roots Internet
donations filling his coffers. Yet technology
was also Dean's downfall, as the result of the
"Dean Scream" video getting excessive play time
on the Internet and other broadcast media outlets.
The recorded spectacle is said to be what led
voters to abandon this overzealous candidate.
The Power Of Political Pundits
With podcasting, everyone is a journalist, regardless
of their credentials or credibility. Technology
has given self-proclaimed political pundits a
pulpit from which they can spread their message.
How much these political pundits will be able
to influence political campaigns and election
results is still unclear.
Never Say Never
Political videos of nearly every 2008 presidential
candidate can be found on YouTube. In many of
the posted videos, candidates are engaged in old
speeches, contradicting their current political
positions. Politicians have yet to learn that
their words may come back to haunt them, and it
appears that many politicians have ghosts from
years past that can be found in the YouTube video
library. Older political videos are causing problems
for candidates whose positions have changed over
the course of their careers. The accessibility
of the audio and video clips, and wide media distribution,
is breeding distrust amongst voters who support
candidates who have had a change of heart.
Pushing A Cause To The Forefront
Evident in the hit movies "Fahrenheit 9/11" by
liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, and "An Inconvenient
Truth" by environmental evangelist Al Gore, these
films not only brought in millions of dollars
in revenues, but both movies also received Hollywood
accolades and raised attention for the issues
Technology appeals to a specific
demographic: the affluent, the educated, and the
young. And while a YouTube video may not sway
the Grandparents in the crowd, the youngest voters
are listening. Does technology have the power
to change the face of politics? The youth in America
are not currently an active voting block, but
that younger generation will age, and it's only
a matter of time before technology plays a critical
role in elections.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS
feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages
marketing for RecordForAll http://www.recordforall.com
audio recording and editing software.