Election Connection

Looking Back, Looking Forward

It would be the understatement of the (albeit young) century to say that 2008 was a big year for politics.

While we could spend hundreds of words patting ourselves on the back , talking about how politics changed in its relationship to the Internet as well as traditional media, it's better to use some 20/20 hindsight to evaluate that impact, and look ahead to how the media and the government could do even better next time.

The 2008 election brought more voices from across the country to the forefront than ever before. By using tools like YouTube  and VoteReport, a broader range of issues were covered and greater spectrum of opinions heard.

With the PBS/YouTube Video Your Vote project, we saw stories and heard about issues that voters cared about, from Colorado to Kenya.

VoteReport was able to track voter issues at the polls, and the influx of information online overall made stories from local papers relevant nationwide.

But to find those voices took a lot of work for readers (and bloggers!). For 2012, or even local elections as soon as next year, the challenge will be how to cull the huge quantity of information coming from social media projects into a more digestible format.

Beyond election coverage, it will also be exciting to see how the incoming administration uses the incredible network they created during the Obama campaign as a resource. Government traditionally moves very slowly, but sites like change.gov inside the White House and media projects like the Washington Post's "Ask Your Government" outside the administration are a start.

On YouTube's Citizen Tube blog, the Post's Ed O'Keefe talked about how "Ask Your Government" will work, including the opportunity for readers to address questions to particular government agencies.

I'm going to miss the excitement of the campaigns and the hustle that defined 2008, but the promise for new technology and new ways of participating in politics are sure to make 2009 equally as memorable in Washington and across the country.

Happy New Year!

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About this blog
PBS Engage, public broadcasting's social media initiative, and PBS Vote 2008 are finding the best elections content from across public media and our partners and bringing it to you. We're following the campaigns and highlighting in-depth coverage. Feel free to leave a comment, send us an e-mail, or suggest a topic!
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