Did technology overpromise and undeliver in Campaign 2004?

· The Power of Many

The editors of the Personal Democracy Forum have asked a number of experienced activists and commentators to take a first look back at the events of the last 18 months and identify the biggest impact technology has had on politics. The first responses are now featured over there (Election 2004: Lessons for the Future, part one).
At the risk of sounding like a broken record: it’s the people, stupid.
That is, the effect technology had on the election is that it gave new tools to people for connecting with each other. This brought a stratum of society that has lacked traditional forms of community new ways to meet and interact.
Nonetheless, it seems that some of the oldest structures of community organizing, religious congregrations, had as much or a greater impact on the election. Perhaps we should be asking them what they were using. Telephone and newsletter? Sermons and Sunday School? Or possibly mailing lists, Yahoo groups and websites?
Regardless, my point is the same. The technology may be fascinating but it’s people and their ways of congregrating and communicating and forming bonds that will drive politics and community organizing. The tools that best adapt to what the people want will always have the biggest impact.
Then again, if you ask jwz, the greatest impact technology had on the election was in subtly rigging the results below the margin of suspicion.
To add your own views on this discussion, you can post a comment to the open thread on the Personal Democracy Forum blog.