Watch the 2012 US election. Obama had 100,000 followers in 2008 and now has 12.5 million. Worldwide, Facebook users grew from 50 million to 845 million in the same period. The back room boys number in the tens of millions because special interest groups as small as one can now afford to play in the big league. The issues are shaped more competitively ahead of the vote. Blogging Tories readers and commenters are in the forefront of that change. Predicting the outcome is getting harder because more people are playing politics and the rate of change is increasing. Video clips go viral in hours, bypassing the gatekeepers in TV and newspapers. We don't have better people but we do have more competitive struggles to decide policies. Targeted campaigning is getting cheaper and this reduces the importance of the money handlers, green machines, and "Daddy Warbucks" types.
In Canada, the reporting lock-down on election night has become irrelevant. When the news was owned by a few voices, this was very relevant indeed but that is changing. How often have you seen an on-line poll and clicked through to "View Results" before deciding what to vote or even to vote at all? I like the old way better but it ended. (Twitter and Facebook force end to Canada’s election night Internet gag)
The election day reprieve from the clamouring love calls of politicians made me proud to be a Canadian.
h/t Instapundit and link to WSJ Story: When will social media elect a president?