How technology is changing the political landscape

Not too long ago, millions of Americans would gather around the television to watch a presidential debate, then discuss it at the water cooler the next morning. Now, millions of people all over the world gather in front of their computers to blog, tweet, chat, upload and download information about the debates as they are happening.

Even those who simply sit in front of the television to watch the proceedings still have the option of pausing, rewinding, and fast forwarding to watch a political event at their own pace.

In today’s techno savvy world, users have more information than ever at their fingertips. A candidate’s complete political history has more often than not been scrutinized and made available on numerous websites, even before their candidacy is announced. Any juicy tidbit or eyebrow-raising misstep is quickly blogged, analyzed and passed around social networking sites within minutes.

The American people are no longer slaves to traditional media and, through the net, are empowered to speak their mind on any number of topics and share their beliefs with anyone who will listen (or read). The anonymity of the internet means anyone can say anything they want from the comfort of their home — even those things that just a few decades ago would have been called treason or warranted social ostracization.

The water cooler, and even the AOL chat rooms of our not so distant past, has been replaced with sites like Twitter’s Election 2008 and television coverage has been rendered obsolete by YouTube clips and online, interactive political analysis. People are even free to make their own buttons and bumper stickers should they choose to.

But is too much information a good thing? With so many voices crowding the web, it is easy to get inundated and ultimately frustrated by the many points of view. Yet it is this freedom of speech — and the internet’s inherent ability to support it — that makes this country so great.

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