Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry of the Personal Democracy Forum offer up an interesting column on Politico today where they argue that “we” replaces “me” in the online political lexicon. They note that Barack Obama’s campaign has clearly stimulated great interest in the use of the Internet for politics and advocacy, but they question whether others can be as successful.
It is not that Rasiej and Sifry believe that politicians and others don’t have the tools it takes to triumph online, but rather the mindset. They believe that Obama took a different approach to his campaign, actively seeking and fostering real conversation rather than shouting into the messaging megaphone.
The core of their argument may be summed up in this one paragraph:
In today’s changing communications environment, a politician can’t use
tools like Twitter, YouTube or a social network platform without
explicitly accepting that their “I” will be subsumed by a larger “we.”
That’s because all of these media are inherently multiway. Every
Twitter user can message every other user; people who try to use their
Twitter account only to broadcast statements from on high rarely get
very popular. And every YouTube video a politician posts can be
commented on or replied to by other YouTubers posting their own videos;
if those functions are disabled, a community is less likely to form
around that content.