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Saturday
Dec132008

Obama '08: A Retrospective.

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obama08_icon_smallI am an election junkie. Being a raging democrat, of course, I was pulling for Barack Obama. When he made his victory speech, I had a couple of glasses of bourbon and too much pizza in me, but a tear came to my eye. America had grown up, I felt, electing a qualified African American with a level head and a hopeful vision for the future. Against all odds, American voters looked beyond lines of race and party and made an educated decision for the future of our children.

But the victory, for me, was bittersweet. It was time to say goodbye to one of the coolest apps the iPhone had ever seen: Obama '08.

Using an iPhone app to help win an election was revolutionary, as was the President Elect's use of email, text messaging, and YouTube.

For those unfamiliar with the app, it was a joint grass-roots and news dissemination tool. With a very simple, easy to use interface, users could look up current news about the candidate, search for local appearances and campaign events, and even donate to the Senator's campaign. With the click of a button, users could access a comprehensive list of positions and policies, so when the volunteers were out in the field or liberals were arguing with their NASCAR-loving family members, we could all pull out our "Liberal Elite Media" tool and tell everyone exactly what our guy thought about this issue or that problem, straight from the horse's mouth.

Cooler than that, however, was the grass-roots phone outreach section. The app would actually look into your address book and find contacts whose area code came from the states with the closest races--swing states. Not only that, but it would allow you to dial these people to make an appeal and would keep track of who had been called and who still needed that little nudge.

Wow.

I, of course, called a friend from Pennsylvania. She was going to vote for McCain, but I told her the truth and won another vote for our good friend Obama.

You're welcome, Barack.

But this app was not about the specific features. Going forward in our technologically driven democracy, I think we all get too caught up in the bells and whistles and forget to look at the big picture. When you step back and see how easy and user-friendly it is to find information from both sides of the aisle, both biased and unbiased, you can't help but be a little optimistic about the future of our democracy. The Obama '08 app was a tool to win an election, but more than that it was a preview of coming attractions--to a time when people on all sides of an issue finally fight their battle with the best weapon available: Information.

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