WASHINGTON, DC: The 2000 election represents a divide between television and the Internet as the dominant medium in American politics.
WASHINGTON, DC: The 2000 election represents a divide between
television and the Internet as the dominant medium in American
That was the opinion delivered at a recent PoliticsOnline conference
hosted by George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political
Internet consultant Phil Noble said that politicians who have yet to
ramp up their Web efforts will miss the boat from a PR perspective
unless they get Internet-savvy in a hurry. He compared the current
climate for online political efforts to the climate for TV in 1960, when
the televised presidential debates between candidates John F. Kennedy
and Richard Nixon heralded the rise of the telegenic politician.
Noble noted that the use of the Internet as a political tool is already
drawing heavy coverage from the news media - a full year before the
general election. Such exposure, he claimed, virtually equals the
coverage devoted to Web efforts in all recent elections combined.
While younger voters are often portrayed as indifferent to the political
process, their extensive use of the Internet suggests that they will be
a stronger force, especially if net-savvy politicians find a way to
break through their apathy. Noble illustrated this by referring to
former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who used to say that ’all
politics is local.’ By comparison, the Internet’s rise to dominance as a
communications medium will mean all politics is not only global, but
That changing dynamic, according to Ken Deutsch of Issue Dynamics, has
thrived because the techniques developed for one-on-one e-commerce
marketing are also being used for grassroots political organization.
Until now, an organization or campaign had difficulty customizing
appeals to its supporters. Now, activist groups can use database
technology to segment supporters more effectively.
However, e-mail has not proven an effective device in allowing activists
to register their sentiments. Legislative staffs, Deutsch noted, are
often overburdened and have difficulty registering e-mail before key
votes are taken.