Where in the world can a person check their mail, pay bills, check bank balances, book a vacation, and show support for their favorite political candidate all in the same place? Simple – online of course. Candidates and politicians are looking to cash in on the most impact for their time and what better way to become a part of that powerful trend than welcoming cyber space into their lives? Who knew that a craze that started a few short years ago with social websites such as MySpace.com would turn into a tool to be used so heavily in campaigns?
Barack Obama has enjoyed adding 100,000 friends to his MySpace page, and other campaigns are even adding other MySpace pages as well as joining into the Second Life craze that has struck recently, with many people looking to expand the internet as one of their major sources of advertisement. Each candidate has their own website of course, with a great amount of information on their individual views, their position on the issues, and what they wish to see happen in the country. Never before has the democratic process reached so close to home, now pulling in a new generation of voters to guide the future of the country.
Is this a good idea? Should candidates really be losing that personal and physical touch? However, this is actually one of the most prevalent ways to get information out recently, with websites popping up everywhere where political opinions can be viewed, and with sites such as digg.com becoming popular it enables sites with good content that is full of information people find fascinating or helpful to rise to the top, and help spread the word to the masses.
Seems almost like a grass roots type campaign. Yet it does not involve any physical interaction from the candidates. This is the ultimate tool that can be used to spread the word quickly about progress and updates in their campaign without ever leaving their house or office and interacting with those they so desperately need votes from. This seems to be a bit of a strange position to be taking, but with the internet reaching so wide and far, it is a tool that many politicians are utilizing, and to great practical effect.
Many are even recruiting volunteers to manage their spaces in Second Life as well as MySpace so that their time is better spent and their ability to reach even more people is extended further. Seems almost strange that volunteers are now able to help on campaigns that they never would have been able to work on before, but thanks to the internet, they are able to show support for their favorite candidate in a way never before seen.
How much further can this really go, with the possibility of the internet growing into an even larger portion of the campaign, it is very much possible to keep track of all the happenings and events in almost every political campaign and race without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Whether this engages the ordinary citizen on a more direct level will remain to be seen, and the outcome this will have on the voter demographic at the next election will surely be profound. Now if only the election voting could be handled online, securely it would truly be a virtual world…