The youtubular election: UPDATED

I'm trying to remember the last time I bought a newspaper. I don't own a television. Friends invited me over to dinner to watch the final Obama / McCain debate, but the internet has essentially become my only source of news. This is dangerous because it is so easy to create and live in a bubble of agreement and reinforcement. For instance, nobody has sent me any pro-McCain youtube videos. Is that because there aren't any?

I like to think so, and that may be one reason why McCain is going to lose. Every election since the rise of the internet has brought hosts of pundits describing some new and radical innovation in the funding and branding of a particular candidate, the galvanizing of an otherwise overlooked constituency. Harold Dean, we learned, would never even have existed without the internet.

The story of this election so far is the viral wildfire of home-produced campaign propaganda via the 'net. Youtube is one of the hot winds blowing these uncontrollable messages across the nation. Campaign advertisements unrecognizable as such, of which no candidate would approve, are broadcast for millions. I find it fascinating, entertaining, and effective. The vampiric Sarah Palin poster I mentioned a few posts ago has already been plastered onto abandoned buildings, walls and fences across the nation. The Shepard Fairey HOPE poster it is based on is beyond ubiquitous; another piece of guerrilla art, it has effectively been embraced as the official Obama poster of this election.

Remixes abound; deejay culture takes over branding.

[UPDATE: Boing-boing linked to this page, with dozens of "parodies" or versions, of the Hope Poster.]

The Obama campaign is quite savvy at this crowdsourcing. Why pay an advertising agency millions to create a spot for you when you can hold a competition and get hundreds of spots produced at no cost? Advertising is turning out to be just another obsolete career. Like journalism and photography, making commercials is now something everyone can do for themselves. The best book out that I've seen on the imminent and ongoing radical societal transformation occurring because of the internet is Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Meanwhile, here is yet another piece of viral pro-Obama genius:

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