Saturday, April 01, 2006

Internet Injects Sweeping Change Into U.S. Politics

Adam Nagourney at the NYT says:

The transformation of American politics by the Internet is accelerating with the approach of the 2006 Congressional and 2008 White House elections, producing far-reaching changes in the way campaigns approach advertising, fund-raising, mobilizing supporters and even the spreading of negative information.

At the bottom of Mark Warner's Web site,
the candidate can be watched talking about his campaign.

Democrats and Republicans are sharply increasing their use of e-mail, interactive Web sites, candidate and party blogs, and text-messaging to raise money, organize get-out-the-vote efforts and assemble crowds for rallies. The Internet, they said, appears to be far more efficient, and less costly, than the traditional tools of politics, notably door knocking and telephone banks.

Analysts say the campaign television advertisement, already diminishing in influence with the proliferation of cable stations, faces new challenges as campaigns experiment with technology that allows direct messaging to more specific audiences, and through unconventional means.

Those include podcasts featuring a daily downloaded message from a candidate and so-called viral attack videos, designed to trigger peer-to-peer distribution by e-mail chains, without being associated with any candidate or campaign. Campaigns are now studying popular Internet social networks, like Friendster and Facebook, as ways to reach groups of potential supporters with similar political views or cultural interests.

President Bush's media consultant, Mark McKinnon, said television advertising, while still crucial to campaigns, had become markedly less influential in persuading voters than it was even two years ago.

"I feel like a woolly mammoth," Mr. McKinnon said. Rest here

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