Monday, July 9, 2007

Who needs a web-savvy communicator, anyway?

In a US News and World Report article titled "The Internet--It's a potent new tool, but no one's sure how to use it," Kenneth T. Walsh writes:

As Barack Obama made clear last week, candidates have discovered ways to raise millions of dollars in contributions from the Internet. The question is what they do with this potentially powerful tool beyond raking in cash.

Gone are the days when online politics was the fiefdom of the young. Nearly one third of all Americans now read and share campaign news online, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, and three quarters of them are over 30.

Online news consumers also are generally well educated, with half having college degrees, and affluent, with 44 percent reporting household incomes of $75,000 or more. They are thus attractive to campaigns not only as potential donors but as likely voters. The advantage in 2008, it appears, will go to the candidates who can best leverage the Internet to introduce themselves, draw media attention, organize supporters, and broaden a campaign's base of volunteers.
I couldn't agree more with the conclusion Walsh draws--that the candidates who best leverage the web will win, but I question his premise that no one's sure how to use the web. Not to make too fine a point of it, but those of us who've spent the last decade using the web in the business sector understand how to use it and where to focus.

Candidates and campaigns that consult and engage communications professionals in addition to technology pros will have the edge until having a web-knowledgeable communicator in the political realm is more commonplace.

--Louella Pizzuti

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