Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Five Tips to Presidential Candidates on Using the Internet

Television transformed the 1960 election and, nearly half a century later, I believe that bloggers and YouTube will transform the 2008 presidential election.

In 1960, more than 75 million U.S. viewers tuned in to watch Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts and Vice President Richard Nixon in the first-ever televised presidential debate.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, in 2004 75 million Americans used the internet to get political news and information, discuss candidates and debate issues or participate directly in the political process by volunteering or making contributions to candidates. I expect the momentum to grow, and it is already happening.

Thus, here are five tips for candidates in the next presidential election about adapting themselves to the new world order (i.e., the rise of consumer-generated media):

1) Beware of the "gotcha": There are no more out-of-town runs to test speeches and make mistakes; everyone's a reporter today
2) Don't pander: If you promise one thing in one state and something else in another, you will be found out
3) Understand the medium: Don't think you can use YouTube just for political ads or as an "information dump"
4) Look for new opportunities to dialogue: For example, as a public service, YouTube is offering a YouChoose channel for candidates
5) Tone down the nasty: In this election, your words can come back to haunt you on an opposition website

Joe Trippi, head of Trippi & Associates and now in the employ of the John Edwards campaign, was recently quoted in Advertising Age saying: "When you look back at 2008, you will see the candidate who was riding high until the person with the cell phone caught them doing something or saying something and put it up on YouTube."

I couldn’t agree more.

Technorati Tags: presidential candidates, 1960 election, YouTube, 2008 presidential election, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, presidential debate, Pew Internet & American Life Project, consumer-generated media, YouChoose, Joe Trippi, Trippi & Associates, John Edwards, Advertising Age, public relations, communications, business,


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