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You just don’t get it.

October 27, 2008

During the 20 or so hours I spent on the road/in the air/on trains between Thursday and Sunday, I read nearly all of Joe Trippi’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, The Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything.

The whole book was the tale of Howard Dean’s legendary bottom-up internet-based campaign that took Dean from dark horse to frontrunner relying almost solely on the internet and social media, and how Dean’s campaign transformed political campaigning in general, giving voters a way to get more engaged in the political process. Anyone who knows me can probably guess… that I’m obsessed with this book. I’m all about getting people more engaged in politics and the political process. I also love the internet and seeing how it affects…pretty much everything. If you’re interested in that kind of stuff, and you love campaigns, I definitely recommend the book.

My favorite part was a chapter that started with Trippi telling us that his favorite line during the Dean campaign was: “You just don’t get it.” Trippi explains: “You just don’t get it…was the chorus of the song I went around belting at the top of my lungs for a year–that the leaders of American politics, media, entertainment, and business were in the dark…that they were clinging to old methods and ideas that were about to become archaeological relics right before their fossilized, corporate, country-club, never-gonna-get-it nearsighted eyes. The media? The party leaders? The other campaigns? Don’t frickin get it.” There has always been a difference, Trippi points out, between “those people who look at a computer screen and see what is, and those people who look at the same screen and see what’s going to be; between those people who know the whole is changing profoundly before our eyes and those people who– for one reason of another — just don’t get it.”

And I love it. It was probably the most exciting book I’ve read in years. The Dean campaign and their innovative use of the internet to build a people-powered campaign changed a lot — but even now, in 2008, it still seems like too many people still “just don’t get it.” The majority of college students don’t write or even read blogs because they don’t seem to get it. People still scoff at Twitter and some even scoff at Facebook, because…they just don’t get it. Some think the internet is overthrowing everything…but others still don’t seem to fully get it.

It’s interesting to me because I’ve met a lot of resistance from people. I think the internet is completely changing everything about how we communicate, and I think it’s exciting. But when I talk about the websites I’ve written for, my friends nod and smile, but don’t really get it. They definitely don’t get why the first thing I have to do after I get my coffee in the morning is check Google Reader to see what my favorite bloggers are talking about today. Half still think blogs are those silly “what I ate for lunch today”-style online diaries. We all use the internet on a daily basis, but a lot of people are still missing out on the interactivity and conversation that the internet has the potential to provide.

Why? Who knows… lack of time, lack of interest, lack of understanding? My guess is some of it is just fear of being out of your comfort zone, fear of being laughed at. I know so many people who still hear the word “blog” and might be embarrassed to admit that they read any, or have one. I think in college we also tend to live in this insular bubble where we forget that we still exist in the real world. It’s a shame though…

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3 comments

  1. a nice blog. I’ve got many things. thanks…:)


  2. College is crazy! Enjoy it while you have the great time.


  3. […] But my hometown of Naperville, IL, has a Twitter account. And I think it’s a sign that local government is starting to get it. […]



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