Congratulations America: Electing The Tech President

by Bharat Suneja

Earlier tonight, as the major networks called the election and Senator John McCain gave a graceful concession speech, history was made in more ways than one. Not only did the nation elect its first African American president, it also voted for what could potentially be one of the most tech-savvy administrations ever. It’s great to see a candidate aspire to be the Tech President, as the Wall Street Journal notes.

The Obama campaign executed well on several fronts. was voted as the best campaign website by the Web Marketing Association. Although his technology plan is not very different from Senator McCain’s plan— Senator Obama unveiled his during a visit to the Google campus in Silicon Valley almost a year ago. The McCain plan was revealed in August 2008, a few weeks before the election.

The Obama campaign made impressive use of social media— blogs, abundant online videos, YouTube, Facebook, downloadable widgets, buttons, wallpapers, etc. have been communicating the vision of a more tech-savvy candidate for a long time. Gamers who fired up Electronic Arts’ Burnout Paradise on their Xbox 360 consoles were greeted with a virtual billboard by the campaign. One can’t help but wonder how the Obama campaign’s iPhone app contributed to building an enviable online community, and the record online campaign contributions will make an interesting case study in innovative use of technology in a political campaign.

Undoubtedly, technology has played a crucial part in this campaign. The contrasts with Senator McCain’s (with the deepest respect)self-admitted computer ignorance” is striking. It’s no surprise that the Facebook generation finds a candidate who has “never felt the particular need to e-mail” less appealing than the campaign they can connect with at the touch of a cell phone icon.

Congratulations, Mr. Tech President elect!

We can hope we won’t be talking about missing email in the next four years.

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