Can Obama win the election online?

(image by tsevis)
Excellent piece by Doug Rushkof on ‘Brand Obama’ and the shortcomings of his web strategy – chiefly in it’s failure to truly take advantage of what social web tools can really do. Or might do, if they were given a chance.

‘ Where Dean’s people inserted their stock candidate into an online fund-raising campaign, Obama’s message and media are more organically related to one another. His message is about invigorating bottom-up, grass-roots, community organizing – and the Internet is that, if anything.
Still, a closer look at Obama’s online effort reveals many opportunities for work, and few opportunities for what I consider to be intelligent participation. We can sign up to make phone calls, send emails, volunteer in the streets, or become precinct captains. But where’s the participatory democracy wiki? Where do we get involved in the conversations that help shape his policy positions? How is he incorporating the massive intelligence of his support network into his philosophy of governance? is a great example of crowd-sourcing, but it’s a far cry from even a fledgling effort at open source democracy. ‘

So what else could a politician’s social network doohickey offer? How about:
Moderated Wiki for Public Policy
A moderated wiki space for community consultation on public and foeign policy. From the arts to zen motorcycle maintainance. Pay professional moderators and establish parameters for discussion (translation: rules for banning the loonies) and then let ’em at it.
Video-discussion forums
Go look at Seesmic, adopt the paradigm (or better still work with them) and allow threaded video forum back-and-forths between the candidate, party members, campaign staff and the electorate. No, seriously. Hell Spielberg just did it.
Anyone else got some more?

Damien DeBarra was born in the late 20th century and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. He now lives in London, England where he shares a house with four laptops, three bikes and a large collection of chairs.

1 comment

  1. There’s another angle to the Obama net-strategy that really bugs me: Why did his campaign strategists SPAM my twitter channel just moments before that final lo-cal feel-good speech this week? The day of that speech I noticed a new “Follower” on my twitter account, only it wasn’t a follower at all, it was the usual twit-twits spamming my follower-list so as to provoke my following their one and only link, a link that lead me straight to Obama ’08 live stream video.
    If he’s all for goodness and modern thinking and progressive government with open honesty, Why would he need to do that?

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