jueves, 24 de marzo de 2011

Importance of the Internet in Obama´s presidential campaign

In my previous posts there has been a common fact: the importance that Internet and new technologies have nowadays in pretty much any field that I can think of.

This time I would like to focus on politics, because I have just done a project related to cyberactivism, and my group and I decided to talk about the importance of the Internet in Obama’s campaign when he was running for president back in 2008. While doing some research I found out quite some interesting things.

As Kennedy did in 1960, when he used television for the first time in a political campaign, Obama obtained a great advantage from his newfangled usage of the Internet. He was able to reach an important percentage of the young population through social networks such as facebook or twitter, where he got (and still has) many followers; benefited of WebPages like Youtube in order to upload videos of his speeches, so people could watch them whenever they wanted, with no cuts, and had the possibility of sharing them with others through email and social networks; and saved a lot of money in advertising. He also took advantage of it for fundraising, allowing people to donate money for the campaign through the party’s website, in an easy and fast way, and avoided hiring many people for the various tasks that need to be carried out in an ordinary political campaign.

But this has created a wide range of opinions about if he would have won the elections without the Internet. From my point of view, there were more things taking place besides that; Obama is a great speaker, who knew how to reach important parts of the American population such as lower-classed or the young ones, with great ideas that would turn the United States into a much better, fairer and open-minded country (not saying that it was not good, fair and open-minded until that moment). Another thing that in my opinion also favoured him a lot was being surrounded of a great team, whom helped him building a nice campaign that was well organized from the beginning and had a clear slogan.

I would like to know what you think and what your opinion about this is. Do you think phenomena like this could take place in another country´s election, like for example Spain?
Remember that we can learn many things just from a little bit of feedback!

lunes, 21 de marzo de 2011

Fight against the separation caused by the new ways of connection

New technologies, and particularly the Internet, are becoming more and more important each day in the information and communication fields.
Thanks to it we can communicate in real time with people all over the world by using several tools such as emails, social networks, or chats. Besides, we also obtain great benefits by being able to read online newspapers (which are constantly updated), watching the news and other programs live on stream, or whenever we can, and sharing this information we have obtained with other people.
Even though all these things seem to have only advantages, that´s not true. To be able to access internet or any other technologies, it is necessary to have certain infrastructures and economic level, and there are many people in the underdeveloped countries that still don´t have access to this, which nowadays means that they have a limited access to information and they are not as well communicated as they should.

These differences I´m talking about are what we know by “Digital Divide”. It has been defined as “the gap or imbalance in people´s access to digital information and technology, including physical access, economic resources and skills”.
We need to be very concerned about this, because Digital Divide is an important issue in a society in which information is power, and the Internet is the largest source we have. If people don´t have an equal access to Internet we would be creating more differences, rivalry and conflicts between individuals. What I mean by this is that if there are differences between people or between countries because some have a better political system or better economic resources, these would imply that their possibilities to access the new technologies are not the same. But in these days, to be powerful you need to be well informed and communicated, so by not being able to do so, the inequalities will keep getting bigger and bigger.
In my opinion, we should try to help and provide everybody (especially the ones with none or few resources) with the necessary tools to get involved in this new generation´s connection, in order to fight for a fairer and better world.

lunes, 14 de marzo de 2011


What is journalism? How would you define a journalist?
Traditionally, these questions were fairly easy to answer, because everybody had pretty much the same concept of what journalism was, as well as a journalist. The first term could have been defined as the action of informing people about what was happening around the world: in our local town, in our nation, or in a far away country; and the second one, as the people who actually carried out that action. They were the ones who worked on the radio, on TV, or writing in a newspaper.

But in the recent years things have changed a lot with the emerging of new technologies, especially with the Internet. This has become a new type of media; and I am not just speaking about digital newspapers, but about blogs and social networks, like twitter or facebook, where you can also get informed. Here is where our problem comes out; can this be considered journalism? Can the people who write or publish information by using these tools be treated as real journalists?
There is diversity of opinions relating to this issue. On the one hand, we have people who think we can, arguing that even though they may not be professionals and have not studied that career, as well as they do not work in a concrete media, they are just doing the same thing, and in many cases maybe they are doing it really well; on the other hand there are people who say we can´t, and that they ought to be considered “participatory journalists”.
And again, here we find ourselves in trouble. Why should we call them “participatory journalists” and not just journalists? What is then “participatory journalism”? Well, in the first chapter of the book “We Media”, it is defined as “the act of a citizen, or group of citizens, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires”. Hoping things are a bit clearer now, I will proceed to explain my point of view.
After reading this definition, I understand participatory journalism and the work of participatory journalists as an act of democracy and freedom of expression, but never as a substitute of the traditional journalists who work in the media, and that have been prepared for that task. By means of this, I am not saying that the information we find in blogs or social networks isn´t useful and reliable, because a big part of it actually is, but it is not the same. For example, if I wanted to know about the earthquake and the tsunami that have just hit Japan this past weekend, I would go and read the newspaper or watch the news, but I would definitely not have a blog as my first source of information, because the professionalism of the media makes them more trustful to me.
But as I have already said, this is just a personal opinion in an ocean of diversity. The debate is still open.