Apparently the blogosphere is abuzz with McCain’s recent disclosure that he has to force himself to use a computer, that the closest he comes to using email is his staffers showing him email, and that his wife makes all the online reservations when they go to the movies (source NYT). This is in stark contrast with Obama who, on top of looking super-presidential and cool, is apparently a whizz with the technotoys, and even had his own podcast since early days of his senatehood.
In the NYT piece, an interesting comment was posed by both the McCain campaign and a blogger associated with the former Edwards campaign:
“You don’t actually have to use a computer to understand how it shapes the country,” said Mark Soohoo, a McCain aide for online matters, at a conference on politics and technology. “You actually do,” interrupted Tracy Russo, a former blogger for John Edwards.
So, Internetz, with your experiences of blogging and online life, what do you think?
I currently am in the Russo camp, myself (shocking, I know). I think if you’re impressed that your wife can buy movie tickets online, then how can you think about how the internet is becoming as basic a utility as electricity? How can you start thinking about working with – actually collaborating with, not just taking advantage of or just sending aid – countries who have skipped the analog technology era of telephones, and jumped straight to digital cell phones? Or how microlending businesses supported by enterprises like the Grameen Bank that use cell phones as both a service and a necessary technology can change global economic models? Or how Second Life might change how formal education needs to occur?
I think the participatory nature of the internet means that to understand it, you MUST participate in it. Because, you know, that’s the whole point.
But what do I know? I’m just some academic blogger. And what do you know? You’re just the faceless masses of the internet who are simply governed by impulse.
So, prove ‘em wrong. Why should the president personally experience the internet?