Internet & Politics — 2006 Vintage
Burst Media reports that four in ten netizens have visited a candidate's website this election season, and one-third visited the site of an advocacy group. Interestingly, about 65% visited the sites of groups they knew they didn't support, or thought they might not support. Open-minded? Looking for dirt?
And what do they see when they visit candidates' sites?
Here is an article by Chris Saridakis, CEO of RollPoint (a leading vendor for online rich media content & applications), describing what state-of-the-art use of the internet in political applications entails — blogs, video replays of debates & interviews, podcasts, voter surveys, media clips, commercials, and the usual array of position statements, speeches, etc. — all presented in very engaging, energetic fashion. We strongly urge you to follow the links in his article to some excellent sample candidate websites.
Agitator's editors can only hope that advocacy groups will watch and learn from the best candidate sites!
As for advocacy sites, about 24% of the Burst Media survey respondents said they've clicked on an advocacy group's online ad. Of these, 70% say they read more about the group, 46% signed an online petition, 19% signed up to be a member, 18% made a donation, and nearly 14% signed up to volunteer. All these figures seem a bit rosy to us! What about you?
In terms of broader implications, this Washington Post piece analyzes the impact of new media on political warfare, essentially observing that everything's fair game, personal attack politics is now the name of the game, and there's no referee.
Bill Clinton is quoted at length and makes some wise observations as one would expect of the quintessential politician. Commenting on what he calls a naive expectation among Dems that the establishment old media are de facto allies who will rebut unfounded accusations and moderate the excesses, Clinton says: “I think part of it is that we grew up in the '60s and the press led us against the war and the press led us on civil rights and the press led us on Watergate. Those of us of a certain age grew up with this almost unrealistic set of expectations.” However, I wish he had offered more concrete advice than simpy urging his fellow Dems to wise up and be more psychologically prepared for personal attack.