There is a great article written by John Cox over at Wired's Epicenter blog.
My wife's always teasing me because I've got this blog (plus another), I've got a myspace account (what a waste - almost as bad as monster.com), facebook, twitter, linkedin, academia.edu, and then a wordpress blog and fan page on Facebook for our reading group. What's the point of all this self-promotion? Right now, really very little actually. But, as this Epicenter article points-out, understanding how these platforms work and developing attention from the right people makes all the difference. These are ways of manipulating your relationship with the world virtually to effect changes in actuality.
What the article doesn't discuss, and maybe it isn't the place of that blog, is the kind of relationships that the people who voted for Brown. Who had the time to get to know him?
In some ways I wonder if this was an exciting opportunity for many people in Massachusetts but campaigning and public service isn't something that many want to do for sustained amounts of time? Maybe not - maybe the shame would be that so many people could become involved so rapidly and decisively and then not be allowed to continue to interface with the political process. That's been my overall experience with the Obama Administration's web portal.
Rather than a means to participate in democracy, the Internet continues to be hamstrung by those in a position to do so (RIAA, NSA, AT&T, et al.) I've been told that voting is mandatory in Australia and to make sure there is compliance, people can vote very easily with a proximity to polling place that would put the U.S. to shame. The U.S., miraculously, can develop technology that allows me to do all my banking virtually (there isn't even a bank branch in my state), I can bank nearly anywhere in the world. Yet some how we can't get a little voter card that would work like an ATM card? C'mon.