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January 08, 2007

Internet Influence Continues to Expand

Having shared my musings on last year's political doings, I'm ready to step out and share some thoughts on what I think this coming year will bring politically. However, the piece was getting a little long so I decided I'd break it up into several posts.  This is the first.  For my musings on last year, check out my post on January 1st.

This past August, the Pew Internet Project reported that 26 million adults, about 19% of adult Internet users, used the Internet to obtain news or information about politics and the mid-term elections.  When you consider that about 85 million people voted, a pretty significant number of them checked out the Internet as part of educating themselves and making their decisions. 

With the continued creativity of political videos and new ways to get information over to the public, that number will only grow and it is likely to be the more creative progressive side that will benefit.  Here are four examples of new uses by progressives that I just pulled off in the last couple weeks. 

A blog in New Jersey has produced a set of ads, reminiscent of the cool MAC guy and PC guy ads, that argue quite persuasively for upgrading civil unions to gay marriage.  New Jersey has passed bill after bill that improve conditions for the LGBT community, making use of a campaign to push marriage equality.  These ads are the latest in the campaign and they are lovely and funny.  We are likely to see a lot more videos that help the public understand complex and emotional issues and develop a deeper level of public support for progressive issues.

Another example came just this week when Politics TV has a set of interviews with a few of our progressive Congresscritters, including this one of Congressman Barney Frank, discussing his plans for leading the House Committee on Financial Services and using it to make economic conditions more equitable and to build more affordable housing.

The third is something I wrote about on Friday and then again yesterday.  A friend of mine used the Internet to organize a Flashmob of 1100 plus people at a beach in San Francisco to lie down and spell out the word IMPEACH.   

My last example is quite different but strikes me as being very important as well.  In the article in Time Magazine about the Internet (the Person of the Year article), they described an online newspaper in Korea, Oh My News, that relies on 47,000 citizen reporters.  They have an English-language International edition that has pretty interesting articles.  Here's an example, an article about poverty in Taos, New Mexico.

In the article in Time about Oh My News, they say:

There is nothing quite like OhMyNews in the U.S., or not yet. Imagine if the Washington Post were produced entirely by bloggers. OhMyNews is written mostly by a floating staff of 47,000 amateur journalists all over the country. The site gets 1 million to 1.5 million page views a day.

We are only at the beginning of the changes the Internet will bring to enhancing democracy in this and other countries.  Bring it on!

Posted by Lynn Allen on January 8, 2007 at 11:17 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink

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