The intimacy of the web  


This US election has shown ways of using the internet for political communication as perhaps nothing has before. There has been a strange merging of the old ways - town hall meetings, stump speeches et al - and the new - such as wonderfully expressive youtube videos made by "ordinary" people , Twit voting and of course thousands upon thousands of blog posts.

I realised about a year ago that Obama actually understood the web. He felt like "one of us" in that way - and that was entirely new. It was a Youtube interview I saw him do that shocked me into the realisation that he understands how the web works and he understands, above all, its intimacy. Look at the way he turns to the camera at the end and talks directly to the viewer, it's only a moment, but it's an immensely telling one - McCain would never know to do this. When I saw that I realised, for the first time, that Obama might actually win.

A few hours away from the results this evening I still think that if - no, let's say when - he does win, it will be in large part due to his understanding of the way new technology works - not as technology, but as a messy, amusing, outspoken, immediate and popular way of communicating not to people but between them.
There's a huge amount that a small business can learn from this. I'll soon be talking more about what I've personally learned from the way Obama has been able to touch us - right across the world - and how even a very small business might benefit from emulating his extraordinary campaign.

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