Triumph of social networking over typical political machinery

BlogHer Original Post

Valdis Krebs does amazing work. He's produced social network maps about the 9/11 perpetrators, political book reading habits and Middle East power-player relations among many others. I've written about him here.

Yesterday, he sent me a link to this post he wrote about how Mike Huckabee succeeded in Iowa because he used established social networks that operate with groups, rather than traditional political machinery that leans on individual appeal by phone or television ads. The ideas evoked for me the image of John Henry working alone against mass production potential of the steam machine. However, what Valdis added for me is that the social network route works if they're already established: having to take the time to build them takes away from their efficacy, especially in the short run, since social networks can take so long to build and earn trust.

I then reminded him about how Barack Obama started his My Barack campaign with his website almost a year ago, and now, we may be seeing that effort come to fruition in the numbers turning out for him in Iowa and New Hampshire.

What do you think - will the candidate who wins the nomination for his or her party be the candidate who maximizes existing social networks, the way Mike Huckabee did in Iowa and Obama has with younger voters?


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