Excerpted from the NY Times:
One of the many ways that the election of Barack Obama as president has echoed that of John F. Kennedy is his use of a new medium that will forever change politics. For Mr. Kennedy, it was television. For Mr. Obama, it is the Internet.
“Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee,” said Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.
By using interactive Web 2.0 tools, Mr. Obama’s campaign changed the way politicians organize supporters, advertise to voters, defend against attacks and communicate with constituents.
Mr. Obama’s campaign took advantage of YouTube for free advertising. Mr. Trippi argued that those videos were more effective than television ads because viewers chose to watch them or received them from a friend instead of having their television shows interrupted. “The campaign’s official stuff they created for YouTube was watched for 14.5 million hours,” said Joe Trippi, a political consultant. “To buy 14.5 million hours on broadcast TV is $47 million.”
There has also been a sea change in fact-checking, with citizens using the Internet to find past speeches that prove a politician wrong and then using the Web to alert their fellow citizens.
The John McCain campaign, for example, originally said that Governor Sarah Palin opposed the so-called bridge to nowhere in Alaska, Ms. Huffington said. “Online there was an absolutely obsessive campaign to prove that wrong,” she said, and eventually the campaign stopped repeating it.