I just read this Op-Ed by Howard Dean on the future of the Internet in political campaigns. It is a great read, and he very clearly articulates many of the same ideas that I have about how the Internet should be utilized.
In a practical sense, using the Internet isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even about getting votes. Its strength is in building a richer democracy by bringing more people into the process. We learned over the past two years that a campaign website can be more than a clearinghouse for basic information. It can become a hub for turning committed supporters into true stakeholders.
But getting the Internet right means a new kind of relationship between an organization and its supporters. And the more we accept the prescription for success online Ã¢â‚¬â€ honesty, clarity and respect for the people Ã¢â‚¬â€ the better chance we have to succeed off-line.
Convincing candidates of this is a very hard thing to do, because it means a loss of control. The thing that really strikes me about this article, however, is that he is one of the very few politicans who understands that the Internet’s greatest strength is not in it’s ability to raise money. This is the lesson that most people took from his presidential campaign, but what interested me about that campaign was not how much money he raised, but the relationship that people involved felt they had with him. It was a very real involvement, and people were brought into the process. Howard Dean only scratched the surface of the involvement that is possible to achieve with the Internet, and I would like to find out with this campaign just how far we can take that.
I have recieved a few requests for a bio of some sort since the DailyKos comment link, so I will put that up in the next few days. In response to another request, I did get a donations page up, so donate away!