NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. – In his keynote address to delegates at the 2008 Lac Carling Congress in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., former deputy prime minister John Manley cited the U.S. democratic presidential party hopeful, Barack Obama as a model for Web 2.0.
“The online president of social networking is imminent and his URL is www.barackobama.com .”
“We’re at an inflection point, and we can look at the recent experience of the U.S. presidential campaign as an example of this,” he said. “Online communities have always been fertile testing grounds for the latest technology.”
Facebook, YouTube, MySpace etc. have reached and inspired millions of Americans (mostly Generation X and Y) to get involved in politics and “catch Obama fever,” said Manley.
“These campaigns (Hillary Clinton’s and Obama’s) are charting new territory in political campaigning, we now have more availability of high-speed Internet, people want to have their say, and they want to be heard.”
He said the Internet is a tool through which people communicate as a two-way street. “You can reach hundreds, thousands of people with a click of the mouse today, politicians have many tools in their Internet arsenal as it runs 24/7”.
He noted that Obama and Clinton have been successful with this medium because they keep it simple and personalized (i.e. each have their own personalized Facebook pages).
“This technology of inclusion has made activists of people who had never before shown an interest in politics,” he said. “Because of Web 2.0 government will no longer be able to create policy in a vacuum…for government the hope is that we build better communities both virtual and real.”