Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Passing Notes

In "Text the Vote," New York Times Op-Ed contributor Garrett M. Graff initially suggests that when Barack Obama uses text messages to inform his supporters about the name of his vice presidential pick, he will be superficially "just like the cool kid in study hall."

Yet Graff also argues that Obama has been using text messaging strategically as part of his overall get-out-the-vote effort and as a way to shape the schedules of those who might attend rallies or other events of mass culture politics. Although he mentions the use of portable telephones for subversive protests organized by what Howard Rheingold has called "smart mobs," Graff sees this technology as being important in the United States primarily for top-down party organizations.

Of course, using ubiquitous communication technologies will have other effects. People can get political messages at their TV-free workplaces and even in meetings. Thus, it facilitates different types of cultural conversations. It also makes the news arrive earlier and without the context of television or newspaper coverage of the event.

Thanks to Ava Arndt for the link.

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