Monday, August 25, 2008

Learning to Spin or Building a Web?

Elayne Zalis points out an article in the Washington Post about the web development history and design philosophy of members of Obama's Internet communications team. "Obama's Wide Web" argues that the World Wide Web has been central to how the candidate "raises money, communicates his message and, most important, recruits, energizes and turns out his supporters." As political strategist Joe Trippi says in the article about his earlier online efforts for the 2004 election: "I like to say that we at the Dean campaign were the Wright brothers. We put this rickety thing together and got it off the ground. But the folks in Obama's online team are the Apollo project. The question is, are they Apollo 8 or Apollo 11?" What the article misses is the fact that the Obama campaign is avoiding games or other attention-getting interactive initiatives that the Dean campaign was willing to experiment with. It's also interesting to note that the article claims that the Obama campaign is also using the web to showcase longer media, such as a thirteen-minute video with Bronx high school students. Although online content is often described as "snackable" fare for short attention spans, the campaign seems to be counting on the participation of those who fish the web patiently rather than merely surf it.

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