This weekend, Parade magazine introduces millions of behind-the-curve Americans for the first time to the web technology that is changing politics. For many, this will be an eye-opening first encounter with YouTube, MySpace and Google. A good many still won't get it. It's a generational thing.
You know Parade as the floppy little insert that falls out of your Sunday paper and offers middle-of-the-road profiles of mainstream celebrities like Keri Russell, Drew Carey and Lucy Liu. Official circulation: 32 million. Estimated Weekly Readership: 71 million. Hardly small potatoes. Here's the opening paragraph of "You Have the Power," by Michael Scherer:
In this new Internet age, democracy means much more than a trip to the polls. Every day at personal computers across the nation, people are speaking back to their politicians—posting essays and videos that will be seen by thousands, organizing their neighbors and delving deep into the issues they care about on their own terms.While this will hardly seem like breaking news (or required reading) to denizens of the blogosphere, it will certainly clarify a few things for some members of the so-called "old school." It should be noted that in 2004 the 65-74 year-old voter cohort was the most active in terms of turnout -- nearly 75 per cent voted.
Is it safe to assume that most of the online politicking so characteristic of this election cycle is geared toward relatively young, web-savvy voters? Yet, less than half of 18-24 year-olds voted in the last presidential election.
Are the candidates wasting their time online? Shouldn't they be courting the editors of Parade rather than Ariana Huffington or Andrew Sullivan?