Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Early Morning Epiphany

I woke up in the early morning with a sudden realization. I have been interested on Obama's campaign and have read his two books, monitored the US election as well as read other books and newspaper commentaries on American politics. I knew that he had a unique message and story and liked the way he spoke. But his oratorical gifts did not exactly portray the full victory of his campaign. It was only after reading his campaign manager's famous PowerPoint presentation about the Democrat's primary campaign and Xplane graphics on Obama's use of Facebook in getting campaign funding that I had a glimmer of his unique achievement.

There are many firsts in his achievement. Obviously with his being the first African American president is probably the most significant. But it was really the use of the Internet as the tool to get funds and run his campaign that it's really the first significant political victory that was achieved via the Internet. Since it was the US presidential elections that was won that the magnitude of his victory is truly incredible. This fact is overshadowed by the uniqueness of his victory that most people do not see it. So this was my epiphany in early morning that Obama's success can be categorized as a victory of technology similar to Steven Job's IPod or Apple Macintosh or Bill Gates's Microsoft or the rise of Google and web advertising.

So Obama's victory is a victory of technology, particularly the use of social networking. Hence, social networking is the tool of the future and one that people should study. My experiments with blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. have given me a front seat on this technology and Obama's victory have converged my interest in history, politics and technology. The convergence of these different strands made me realize the uniqueness and specialness of his victory. As he has mentioned, this is the power of the American democratic system that he could achieve the pinnacle of political success in the greatest nation on earth.

Hence, his success I dare say may not have been possible without the clever use of the Internet. If he had travelled the usual way by trying to get delegates, he may not have gotten pass the Clinton challenge. But his unique story and voice gathered the crowds that made possible the use of the Internet and Facebook and social networking. So it was a perfect storm with the confluence of the perfect candidate that could attract independents and swing voters and transcend all the political categories that resulted in a landslide. I guess all this is attributable to his brilliance and effective use of technology that may have swung the difference.

In fact, I am still a Hillary Clinton supporter as I liked her story as well as the brilliance of her husband. But as I said to my wife, Obama is a man of destiny. Fate seemed to have aligned the stars in his favor and the problems faced in the USA may require someone of his story and background and experience.

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