Compared to the last presidential election, where the new web 2.0 tools were mainly part of a grassroots movement, the use of Web 2.0 tools like YouTube, Blogs, etc., is now a mainstream part of a campaign.
You can see which ones are using MySpace(and how many “friends” they have), who is on the site Second Life(John Edwards), see Flickr photos relating to the candidate, and see who is using YouTube.
And for those of you who attended our Project Tech workshop yesterday on RSS(thanks to Will Richardson’s excellent instruction without which I couldn’t have shared this), you can also grab RSS feeds from the candidates’ pages, all in one location.
Why does this matter? If our students are participating in a democracy where the social networking tools they use are being used by mainstream entities as political campaign advertising, isn’t it critically important that we are teaching students how to evaluate sources, distinguish fact from opinion, and watch for bias and commercial uses of the web?
As these web 2.0 tools enter the mainstream, they are not only tools that allow “regular” people the ability to have a voice, they allow advertisers and candidates to approach us through many more channels and means. How do we help students as advertising and content begin to “merge” more and more?