One highlight of the three-day Fortune Brainstorm:Tech conference, which just wrapped up in Pasadena, came when Howard Dean, former presidential candidate and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, began riffing on the Internet’s impact on national politics.
Some highlights from the 11-minute video:
• Howard Dean: “The technology is moving so fast and it’s having an enormous, enormous effect.” He briefly traced the influence of the Internet on U.S. politics, citing YouTube flipping the U.S. Senate to Democratic control in 2006 because of Va. Sen. George Allen’s Macaca moment.
• The 2008 campaign by Barack Obama made spectacular use of social networking. “2008 was the first election in the lifetime of everyone in this room in which more people voted who were under 35 than over 65,” Dean told the audience. “This is the president of the younger generation.”
• Dean: “Then along comes the 2009 Iranian election and they could shut down the Internet but they couldn’t shut down their cellphone network without shutting down their whole country. How did information get out? Twitter.”
• Want to clean up the local stream? Why lobby your local government “when you can get 100 of your friends to get together and go down there and clean it up?” Dean suggested.
• Dean on the plight of the newspaper industry: “I don’t know what I would do if I were trying to run a newspaper today.”
• “We’re seeing a huge democratizing effect, taking power away from governments and giving it to individuals because of the extraordinary power of electronic communications,” Dean said. “The Internet puts politicians out of business because it makes it easier to get around authority structures. ”
Well, perhaps some day, but that’s just not true yet, given the 95 percent re-election rate in House races in the last few cycles. Incumbents have access to the power of the Net, too.
You’ll notice some camera shake midway through. That’s because I used a Flip Ultra handheld recorder, without a tripod, and they’re very hard to hold steady for long periods.
JD Lasica is founder of Socialmedia.biz. We work with large and mid-size businesses and organizations on social media strategies and optimizing your online presence. Contact JD by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.