FairVote on social media in politics

by Sebastian Benthall

FairVote’s blog has an article summing up the use of social media in politics.

As an example of people taking the initiative and offering presidential candidates star power, through using the medium of video sharing on YouTube, the Will.I.am “Yes We Can” song endorsing Barack Obama was an instant hit. Other candidates have also had unsolicited songs inspired by them and written about them.

I would describe the tone of the post as “cautious”–in both the scope of its claims and its attitude towards technology. The most important issue it raises, in my opinion, is the question of access:

One final note of caution is whether these technologies become so cheap that it is truly for the masses or will there become a technological underclass lacking access and the skills to keep up?

A totally appropriate concern. No discussion of e-politics is complete without a mention of the digital divide. I’ve gotten into the bad habit of answering this concern with a hand-wavy, “One Laptop per Child will solve it!” But that’s an inadequate response.