Monday, February 11, 2008

The caucuses as social media

I attended the Washington State caucuses on Saturday and was reminded once again where this concept we call social media comes from.

I walked over to Lowell Elementary school with my husband where we joined our fellow neighbors. The place was packed. Once we all got settled by precinct, everyone stated their candidate preference. The count, before debate, was 59 for Obama, 17 for Clinton (including myself) and 14 undecided. That meant that Obama would get four delegates, Clinton would get one and the undecided group would get one.

Then we talked, trying to convince each other in an effort to win over delegates. Having the big mouth that I do, I of course had to speak up on behalf of Clinton. But many people from all sides shared. When we recounted, many from the undecided group moved to the Clinton camp, which meant Clinton got one more delegate, for a total of two.

It was a fascinating process, and it reminded me how each of us can make a change just by speaking up.

And that's exactly how social media works. Like or don't like a candidate, a service, a product? Say something on Epinions or Amazon or another site. Wondering why a story has been dropped from the mainstream media? Blog about it. The Internet is the great equalizer, it's a democratic check-point if you will. And no matter how much big business is trying to take it over, the voice of the average guy or gal--that's you and me--is not only heard but often considered more credible that the voice of big business or mass media.

And isn't that how democracy is supposed to work?

1 comment:

  1. Laura, great analogy. Social media or UGC is really the great equalizer. It has so much more validity because of the integrity and transparency. Just like the caucuses, it's a very grassroots based approach. I had a similar experience at the caucus as well, although no one in my precinct switched after the speeches. We all had made our minds up.