Tuesday November 4, 2008. A day that will go down in history. A man captured the imagination and hope of a nation to become the 44th President on the United States. A man who will be the first president of our generation that is not a baby boomer. His military reference is not Vietnam. The face of emerging America; he’s young, educated, socially conscious, and a minority. Amazing, the 44th president is an African American. Even more, he knows, respects, and loves the Web. He marks the day the web kids took over.
Barack Obama used technology like no one before him. BarackObama.com was launched very early in the Democratic Nomination campaign and it isn’t just a website. Others before him used the web to tell their story and raise money. Obama? He understood the power of the social web. BarackObama.com isn’t a website, it’s a social destination. A place you can get information, read blogs, watch Barack TV, connect on Facebook, MySpace or sign-up and have your own account on my.barackobama.com. You can even get music. Ya, that’s right, music from a once hopeful, and now next President.
Here’s the scorecard:
Why this Matters
Exit polls showed that Obama captured the vote of blacks, Hispanics, 18-34 year olds and new voters. He also won the female vote. Safe to say that it isn’t the baby boomers that pushed him to the White House, it’s us, the web kids.
When Clinton won the Oval Office in the 90s the web was a young dreamer. When W won in 2000 it was starting to blossom (Google had just recently launched). In 2004, Blogs were few and YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace weren’t household names. It’s 2008, the web has grown and our generation has grown with it. It’s a part of our lives. We don’t seek to understand technology, it’s native to us. We grew up with it and can’t imagine life without it. Obama understands this because when the web was getting started in 1994 he was 30 years old.
It’s our generation (Gen Y, Millenniums, Net Geners, whatever) that are starting to shape the world and Barack Obama is the first president that understands. He’s promised to use the same technology channels that brought him to power while in power. The White House is connected.
Will Things Change?
Call me a hopeful cynic. Many (if not all) promises made during an election fall apart once elected. Wahsinton D.C. is a complex place with competing agendas, lobby groups, and pressure to maintain the status quo. Will Obama grab hold of the opportunity to really deliver change? Will he challenge existing norms and the military industrial complex and work towards a more just society and world? Although Obama has some great advisors (Dr. Jeffrey Sachs for example), he also has a lot of the same old faces around him (Podesta, Volcker, Ross, possibly Indyk). The presidency is bigger than one man and it will take a real champion to continue to challenge the norms and deliver real change. I’m hopeful but I’m realistic. It sounds impossible.
But then again, a black president brought to office by a young, mobilized, and technically connected group was once impossible. It’s your show Barack and the web kids are watching.