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So I surfed on over to Obama's campaign site last night, and what made me happiest (apart from the intriguing sun-rising-on-the-US/jello-mold logo) was the bottom of his page. His staffers, I remarked to my friend in delight, are actually on to something. The first link is a button to Facebook, the second is to the DNC's Party Builder. After the natural "register to vote" link, there are links to YouTube and Flickr. "What a brilliant political move!" I boggled. My friend noted that he's also giving groups space to blog and come together on his own site (see the Georgetown Students for Obama group she created). It seems like he's actually taking advantage of Web 2.0 and emerging social media. That, after all, is the only way to play it. *

There are lots of people on the internet who want to elect him; refusing to harness that would be a fatal mistake for him. And the bulk of the internet literati today are hanging out in Web 2.0 places: blogs, social networking sites, wikis, other user-generated content. He can't rely only on Dean's strategy -- four years is dozens of decades in internet time. But he also simply cannot overlook the power of the modern internet.

To me, it looks promising so far. At the same time, however, it's also caught cautious-to-negative attention from bloggers, and has caused people to draw comparisons of being like the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy TV-based race. I'm not sure whether that is a result of these bloggers being insecure about having their own internet-space being infringed upon by not-quite-as-savvy-as-them politicians, or if it's something else -- but the development of Web 2.0 in political campaigns is certainly something to keep an eye on in these next few months.

* Clinton, it seems, has only just begun to look into this new medium of communication -- her site offers an opportunity to do "guest blogging" (the posts are first screened, however), and as far as I can tell, nothing else by way of generating user interaction and investment in the campaign. Disappointing.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a Giuliani or McCain (as I understand it, they are the primary Republican candidates at this point) campaign site to compare them.