The Web as election platform

Barack Obama most developed Internet candidate ever

DENVER -- The presidential run of Barack Obama is historic in another way. In a real sense, he's the most developed Internet candidate ever.

That's the feeling of a panel of industry stars who appeared Tuesday at a Denver hotel for a discussion sponsored by the Huffington Post.

"This is the breakthrough election for the Internet," ABC News "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos said. He added that if Obama is successful, he would be the first candidate who had built his campaign on the Web.

"There's no going back from that," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D.-Ill.

Look no further than Saturday's Obama text message.

"Four years ago, we would not have announced the VP pick (Joe Biden) by text message," Emanuel said. "It has totally revolutionized how we communicate."

Arianna Huffington said that many of the new-media platforms so important to this year's campaign -- Facebook, YouTube, sites like the Huffington Post -- didn't exist during the 2004 campaign. The innovations don't mean the end of media, she said; Huffington sees platforms and outlets that take the best of both worlds.

"I see a hybrid future, not just in energy but in media," she said.

But Will.i.am, the Black Eyed Peas musician and Obama supporter, thinks that traditional media will be replaced by more community-based media. "Old media, let's call it yesterday," he said. "Tomorrow is beautiful."
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