Government Technology

E-Vote: Tapscott Says Web 2.0 Will Determine Presidential Campaign Advantage



February 21, 2008 By

The campaign that wins the long primary fight may be the one that goes against centralization, and lets "mass collaboration" rule. In other words, the war room is over.
That's the view of collaboration innovation expert Don Tapscott, who says that advantage in the primaries will go to the campaign that embraces Web 2.0 techniques for mass collaboration, letting grass-roots organizers share information and develop responses with the minimum direction from the central campaign office.

Already, campaigns like Barack Obama's that have mastered the mass collaboration workstyle Tapscott calls "Wikinomics" have proven to be faster in creating "on-the-fly" messages and responses within the news cycle, better at understanding how grass-roots and national events affect each other, and more adept at harnessing the power of micro-communities.

In a drawn-out, close-fought primary campaign, that kind of responsiveness may confer lasting advantage, Tapscott says.

Tapscott's bestselling book, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (Portfolio 2006), raises and analyzes many of the ideas that are likely to prove decisive in the closest-fought primary campaign in decades. Topics he believes are especially important:

  • Mass collaboration on the campaign trail: The classic "War Room" style of campaigning was created in the early 1990's -- before the advent of the commercial Internet. The advent of Web 2.0 means that campaigns that think in terms of mainstream media and a day-long news cycle will be hard-pressed to compete with those that can harness all their campaign brainpower in real-time -- and deploy it at the grassroots level.
  • Mass collaboration in power: The effect of Wikinomics won't end with the general election. Wikinomics principles are influencing critical policy arenas including behavioral economics, global security and the regulation of financial markets. Familiarity with mass collaboration -- or lack of same -- will make a critical difference in how a new administration takes on its first challenges.


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