Back in 1960 the skills required to become President of the United States changed forever. That was the year that John F. Kennedy debated Richard M. Nixon on national network television for the first time. When reminiscing about Kennedy's win, pundits love to cite that he was tanned, good looking, had great hair and had his make-up professionally applied, while Mr. Nixon appeared pale, had a nervous demeanor and sweaty brow. They say that Nixon won on the radio but Kennedy won on TV. 1960 ushered in the era of the Network politician. For better or for worse, after the 1960 debate, not only did every politician have to have video skills, they had to have expert ones.
Today, aside from video, Senators Obama and McCain are going to face off across several digital consumer touchpoints including: the web, short form video, the blogosphere, time-shifted television, social networks, SMS, ringtones, mobile applications, even wikis. 2008 will usher in the era of the Networked politician. For better or for worse, not only will every politician need to have advanced media skills, they are going to need expert ones.
I know it's early days for the national race, but - just for fun - let's have a look at how the candidates are handling the transition from Network to Networked campaigning.