Politicians adopt web 2.0 tools. Slowly.

6 05 2007

Presidential elections are a circus. It’s a long race. Like little sperms reaching for the far-away egg, they are all frantically fighting for their shot at “making it”. Does anyone remember “Look who’s talking?” with John Travolta? There’s a cool scene with the blind sperms swimming up the fallopian tube; some go in the wrong direction, some swim against a wall without much success, and some get tired before reaching the goal. All are tirelessly fighting to be that sperm that gets to the egg first, the only sperm to get in- the presidential sperm.

So in this frantic attempt to gain an edge, it appears that almost all the candidates (or better said, their campaign advisers) place certain importance on web 2.0 tools. They all have blogs on their webpages, most appear on youtube.com’s Spotlight feature, and they really like to seem like they are connected with the Internet phenomenon.

They must be commended by their efforts to explore anything that will aid them in their quest and turning to web 2.0, but I must say they are missing the point. No candidate that I’ve seen thus far is actively posting on a blog, or frequently uploading videos- of themselves. Not only that, but the political rhetoric does not translate well to Web 2.0. While most renowned bloggers, those who are influencing the way blogging happens (such as Doctorow, Searls, etc), have a very open and transparent way of communicating that can be challenged by the contributors of the blog, I consider the political presence in the Web to be the traditional way of political communication:

1. Avoidance of making controversial statements that they could be held accountable for.

2. Staying on talking points.

3. And crafting a message designed to be liked by “everyone”.

That’s just not what I would consider contributing to the wealth of networks we are creating right now. However, I do think this will change if mainstream politics wants to enter this new medium, but that will require a change in campaigning itself.