Monday, January 22, 2007

A Woman's place is in the House - The White House!

So finally Hillary Rodham Clinton has declared herself as a candidate for the 2008 US presidential elections. That can't have escaped many people's attention but what may not be so clear is the extend to which this campaign is going to be conducted on the web.

Hillary declared on her web site on Saturday and starting tonight on the Hillary for President website for three nights there will be video web casts inviting people to talk on line. Quite clearly this is going to be a very interactive campaign. I watched the mid term elections in November and then a team of blogger were set up commenting on the elections as they proceeded. News reporters are no longer waiting for their words to reach the mainstream media - they are communicating with their fans on-line all the time.

But are the rest of the political opponents ready for this. The US is clearly ahead of the UK in its adoption of blogging - and it was interesting to see the reaction of Labour MPs when David Cameron launched his WebCameron featuring himself in the kitchen with the kids screaming in he background. The spoof video posted following that was quickly withdrawn because I suspect they realised that what they were doing was drawing attention to the real thing. I certainly had a look as a direct result of the spoof and I even though I do not support conservative politics I was impressed.

Until now politicians have been largely in the hands of the media in getting there message across and this is a very one way process. That has changed - more importantly for Hillary Clinton is the fact that women are on the web in large numbers and the women's vote is going to be critical. Also the average age of internet users is quite young - so the web is clearly a way to access the new voters.

But the internet is also a threat to politicians as outlined in this Washington Post article It is easy for opponents of any politician to use the viral nature of the internet to promote damaging comment and video via YouTube and blogs than can end a political campaign. And just to illustrate the viral impact of the internet. this post was inspired by a post I read this morning on BlogHer by Chadie discussing whether this trend to political campaigning on the web will impact the next elections in Sweden in 2010. As she says four years is a long time on the internet and as it is clear that David Cameron is planning to make significant use of the web for the next election here - I think the answer is yes.

Finally my title to this post was inspired by another BlogHer post from Suzanne Reisman commenting on some of the irritating and not so irritating bumper stickers available from Now an on line store for all things feminist and the more serious issue of whether voting for a women just because she is a women makes political sense. It will be interesting to see if that become an issue in Hillary Clinton's campaign.

And having looked around in the Now store, one bumper sticker I particularly like as speaking coach - Speak your Mind - Even if your voice shakes.

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