The inauguration of Barack Obama last week caught a lot of attention, naturally. It’s the sense of a new day in Washington, DC that Americans are all-too-aware of, and the world is taking notice with the hopes of a renewed, kindler, gentler US of A. Some are suggesting this presidency marks a seismic shift — no ordinary change of power, but a milestone marking a change in the way things are. Obama’s effective use of the Internet in his campaign has been likened to Kennedy’s effective use of television, with Arianna Huffington going as far as to say that without the Internet, Obama would not be president. In many ways, it’s the fruition of Joe Trippi’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Revised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything.
Obama will be the first US President to have a laptop in the oval office, and the first to have a Blackberry. (It’s true, not even the presidency can make you give up a CrackBerry. And with all the Obama-marketing winding up, I’m just waiting for the BarackBerry.)
In any event, Jonny Baker has a great post up, “the social pulpit – barak obama gets it.” He comments on a paper (“The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit” PDF) about Obama’s use of social media as part of his campagin, and he name-drops a couple of my favorite recent books. Jonny writes,
i have been banging on about the new environment and how different it is. and in relation to technology that one of the challenges to get is that the shifts taking place are not just about technology – they are changing a whole lot more. see my 4 interactions withere comes everybody 1 2 3 4 , review of tribes and starfish and spider or leadership reflections for example. my point is that barak seems to get this – he’s actually native to the new environment – so we may be witnessing a seismic shift in political organisation. as the article puts it – away from the president’s bullying pulpit to a social pulpit where others take up and deliver (and create and reform?) the message and actively participate in their small worlds/networks/localities. it’s the second half of the paper that particularly struck me which lists lessons from the campaign…
Now you’ll have to read Jonny’s whole post. jonnybaker: the social pulpit – barak obama gets it. And when you’re done that, give the paper a read, then feel free to drop back here and discuss it. And by the way, do you think Huffington is right? Does Obama owe his presidency to the Internet? And is this shift really as big as is claimed here? How so, or why not?