Over the past 50 years, Presidents have reached the American people through the most convenient and far-reaching mediums available. This began with radio broadcasting, later came television. Before long, Presidents were giving Saturday morning radio addresses, and occasionally a televised press conference.
It was only a matter of time before the Internet became part of the mix. In fact, the Internet has the potential to become the singular medium of communication. Recent Presidential candidate and now President-elect Barrack Obama is perhaps the greatest politician to employ the Internet to his advantage. Before the election, Obama amassed the greatest Internet following and information of any politician in American history. Just some figures include:
-4 times as many “MySpace” friends as rival John McCain
-3 million Facebook supporters
-10 million email addresses
-text-messaging as a means of informing supporters
As you might expect, most of the Internet usage lies within the age group of 18-29 year olds. This generation is the first Internet-boom generation, and Obama is expected to continue to capitalize on this.
So far, President Obama has established a website dedicated to the transition between the Bush and soon-to-be administrations. Many speculate this is to deal with the national Presidential approval rating. For those who haven’t heard, it’s at 16% (a historical low).
While the social-economic impacts of this innovation are debatable, this will obviously help Obama maintain a following by many of his closest supporters and provide Americans with an even more personal connection to the Presidency (even if it is simply an illusion). I have to applaud the Obama camp for this accomplishment. I see this working out favorably for the future administration, and I expect Internet usage to become a staple of future Presidents and candidates on the campaign trail.