One of our political correspondents at Scoop44, Liz Cermak, wrote up a terrific review of the recent CNN/Facebook collaboration during President Obama's quasi-State of the Union. She recounts the history of past transformative new media and their impact on American political life, analyzing the future of Internet-based communication and the rapidly evolving Facebook user demographic.
She also kept tabs on Facebook comments and status updates from online viewers across the nation, from the stream's start to finish.
Anything that makes this dialogue faster, including technological advances, has the potential to bring us closer to the nation's original ideal. Even so, democracy will not progress unless such tools are used appropriately...Never before in history has something allowed people doing so many different things in so many different places to engage in political discussion with each other simultaneously (a day in the life of generational multi-taskers). Dyan Edwards-Cagley at one point posted that she 'just did home surgery on her dog while trying to listen to the Prez on TV.' Ryan Hernandez was 'in class right now and can't get caught watching this.'
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from her piece: technology continues to empower a generation coming of age at an ever-expanding rate.
Moreover, as she writes, "technology is taking the White House and Uncle Sam by storm" citing one Facebook commenter who noted, plain and simple, "technology has made politics fun" and another who considered the President's Blackberry evidence that our current trend is "irreversible."
The CNN/Facebook forum was almost indistinguishable from 1990s style chat rooms that led to the labeling of anonymous internet interaction as dangerous. Warnings such as, 'Don't give out your phone number or address'...were preached as frequently as the D.A.R.E. program's slogan, 'just say NO to drugs.' The forum was chaotic, full of meaningless and often offensive comments and usually had no comprehensible theme.
Interaction between Facebook commenters and the moment-to-moment action of the event settled down when President Obama began to speak, kicking off a more suddenly organized and purposeful chat room. It is the analysis of this conversation that provides the basis of an even larger investigation. Could open forums such as this enhance America's democracy and increase citizen participation and involvement?
She concludes, "Until November 5, 2008, the new forms of online interaction and collaboration with politicians were focused more exclusively on campaigns, but President Obama may have different ideas about incorporating his Web vision into actual governance." I wrote about this same need for Obama to revolutionize the nation's online West Wing wrote in yesterday's Washington Post, are daunting.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more