I get this way every four years. In the home stretch, I get this overwhelming feeling that nothing is going to happen between now and November but lame attempts at character assassination and wish that we could fast-forward to election night to just get it over with already. This morning on the train, I was thinking a bit about the dynamic of election night and how that will change this year.
Eight years ago, I sat glued to the television, watching states turn blue or red. Four years ago, I had my computer next to me to consult alternative sources of information while the networks and cable news channels got it wrong.
This year is going to be much different. I think there's going to be much more of a real-time, interactive component to it. Not only will I have online access to many more alternative sources of information, but I'll also have the political bloggers. Can you picture how nuts it's going to be with the political bloggers tracking the critical districts in swing states and giving real-time commentary and rallying cries?
I'm going to cast my vote early, then just sit back and watch it all unfold. My computer is going to have so too many windows open to count. I want Outlook open so I can remind my friends in other areas of the country to vote. Same thing for IM, plus I want to be able to keep some chats open with friends who I know will be glued to their computers. I'm going to set up a special folder with RSS feeds from just about every political blog I read and get NewsGator to check for updates every couple minutes or so. No use trying to monitor all those blogs at once, even with Firefox and tabbed browsing. I want NewsGator to handle news alerts, too. Firefox should be ready to go in case I need to drop off a comment at one of the political blogs. Plus, I'm sure I'll be doing some blogging as well. I'm thinking about running it through Privoxy to strip out all of the ads that will no doubt bog my browser down when speed is so critical.
I think I'll keep my Treo nearby so I can send friends text messages to remind them to get to the polls. "Did you vote yet?" is already saved in quick text.
Oh yeah, I'll probably have CNN on in the background. Maybe.
The whole dynamic of election night is going to change. The last-minute "get out and vote" messages are going to seem so lame coming over the telephone from some call center somewhere. The really effective communications are going to come over the Internet. We're not going to sit around consuming media in a one-way fashion, watching counts come in on the stupid little ticker running across the bottom of the screen. We're going to go to the critical districts and swing states via the Internet and get that info in near-real time. And then we're going to act on it.
Can you picture what it's going to be like to see the political bloggers mobilizing the ground forces in real time? I'm excited for it.