It looks like politicians are finally starting to realize the importance of the Internet. If you’re a living, breathing, human who uses the Internet at least occasionally chances are you’ve seen the “I Got A Crush…On Obama” video which is tacky, catchy, and definitely funny. You may have also seen the “Hott 4 Hill” which is a little creepy, but nevertheless funny and certainly unique.

While these videos may be short on substance and offensive to some, the larger point is how the Internet is changing the way political campaigns reach people. Neither the Hillary or Obama camp was responsible for those two videos, but they have received millions of hits online and been shown on the major cable news channels. So a blogger was able to do for almost nothing what candidates typically spend millions of dollars trying to do, reach a lot of people!

Normally when one thinks of a political ad the usual images that come to mind are of the candidate standing at a podium, then on a farm with his sleeves rolled up, then in some type of manufacturing plant with a hard hat on, and of course kissing babies all along the way. To put it bluntly that type of ad is crap and simply doesn’t have any effect on people anymore (if it ever did).

The Internet has changed the game completely and thankfully at least some of the politicians are starting to take notice. The way to reach people these days particularly the 18-35 demographic is by thinking outside the box. Reach people in ways they never expected to be reached and your message will be heard.

The best political ad I have seen in my lifetime is without question The Sopranos spoof that Hillary Clinton released. Regardless of how you feel about her politics that ad was pure genius and any candidate that didn’t take notice of that is crazy.

For better or worse we are a pop culture nation and the secret to capturing the youth vote that always pretends to be interested, but fails to show up on voting day is to become a part of their world. That doesn’t mean wearing a hat backwards and hanging with 50 Cent. That means getting your message out on iPods, cell phones, MySpace, YouTube, and the blogs.

Believe it or not an 18 year old kid may think a video is funny and vote for that person based on that video alone while not actually knowing (or caring) what that person actually stand for.

I’m certainly not suggesting that it’s appropriate or responsible to vote for a President based on a cool video, but then young people are often neither appropriate or responsible so I guess it all works out.

My hope is that the Internet will open up the political arena a little wider so that more people can have the opportunity to run for elected office. Candidates are no longer going to need 100 million dollars to run an effective campaign, because they will be able to cut out most of that worthless TV advertising that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Every study shows that year after year more people are turning to the Internet for news, entertainment, and social interaction. Plus, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that our President know how to go online and Google something or read the morning paper on his laptop.

President Reagan used to pick out a few letters every week that average Americans had sent to him and he would write back personally. That was his way of not becoming too detached from the real world sitting there in the White House. It’s conceivable that we may have a President in the future who picks out a few emails every week and personally responds to those.

So it’s not only smart for candidates to use the Internet for campaign purposes, but it also shows that they possess the knowledge to effectively lead us in the 21st century digital world.

Written By Chris Jones
Editor-In-Chief
The Hot Joints

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