MySpace Politics

Not long ago, Barack Obama texted me to let me know he’d be on The Daily Show that night, chatting with Jon Stewart. He thought I might want to check it out. This wasn’t unusual. Barack texts me all the time. To let me know where he’s going to be the next day. To hook me up with friends. A lot of times, to try and bum money.

Obama’s great innovation (emulated, with only limited effectiveness, by Hillary Clinton) has been to use technology—particularly the Web 2.0 social-networking model—to connect, organize, and inspire vast new swaths of voters, in the process amassing more campaign money than anyone in U.S. history. As a result, future presidential campaigns will resemble Obama’s more than Bill Clinton’s or George W. Bush’s. Downloadable Obama ringtones may still seem like a novelty today. But by the time the next batch of presidential hopefuls kick off their campaigns (in, what, about six months?), you can bet they’ll feature their own.

Back to The 11 1/2 Biggest Ideas of the Year

Presented by

Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

What LBJ Really Said About Selma

"It's outrageous what's on TV. It looks like that man is in charge of the country."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What LBJ Really Said About Selma

"It's going to go from bad to worse."

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

More in Politics

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In