Barack Obama won the presidency in large part because he mobilized sections of the electorate that had either never voted before or didn’t feel called to do so. Many of those voters were young people. Some like me who are young at heart and a bit geeky use technology like Facebook and LinkedIn. Thanks to my daughter I’ve become an avid text messager for nearly three years now. I once considered text messaging a ridiculous pastime. I’ve come to appreciate the folly of that outlook. I’ve been authoring a blog for nearly three years and reading blogs for nearly eight years. I get the majority of my news from RSS feeds from the blogs that I regularly read. I rarely watch CNN, Headline News, Fox News, CBS, NBC, or MSNBC. Reading has always been key to my world.
Given all of that I was watching my new HDTV this afternoon. I had it muted as I was reading Huffington Post and as I watched this news show, one after another of talking heads appeared on the screen, each had a BIO next to their name. There were Republican strategists, Democratic strategists, pundits, you name it. The purpose of the show was to analyze the election results and perhaps to spin their own version of how it happened. Here were people analyzing an election that redefined the electoral landscape and they were missing the point. These folks were attempting to define something they don’t understand. The net generation is not left of center or right of center. We don’t need Wolf or Shawn or anyone helping us to understand the news. We’re getting our news not from the old sources but from the net. Barack Obama connected with us on Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and elsewhere. He spoke to us directly at HuffingtonPost and elsewhere without the media filter. We got face time from the man. Barack had to buy television time to get face time with the other folks who aren’t net connected yet.
This election was won in part because a man of vision was able to get his vision out without a media filter and directly to his constituents. Used to be you needed money and sponsors to get on television. Nowadays you need a computer, a webcam and a connection to UStream, Blip.tv, Youtube, or Google Video. Traditional media is done. They don’t realize it yet, but professional journalism is being radically redefined all across the web. In April the Christian Science Monitor will publish its daily edition on the web only. A once a week print edition will serve its more traditional readership.
President-Elect Obama is going still further in his leverage of the web with Change.gov. It’s an open invitation from the Office of the President-Elect to be part of the Obama-Biden transition and it leverages the web.
An ever increasing number of people aren’t getting their news from Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, or Chris Matthews. Their getting all the news they need at Huffingtonpost, Talking Points Memo, Andrew Sullivan, Crooks and Liars, Think Progress, Commondreams, Alternet, FiredogLake, DailyKos, Altercation and many more. Many of the reporters are folks just like me, some are more familiar names but the stories are being told. Editorials are being written on blogs. Traditional new sources are dead. Someone had edited Barack Obama’s section on Wikipedia before midnight on election night with the up to date information.
Marshall McCluhan was right, “the medium is the message.”