Obama wins, Internet helps

Well, it looks like Obama has done it. Depsite the Clin-Ton's inexplicable refusal to conceded, he has tied up enough delegate votes to clinch the Democratic nomination. True to form, he gave another badass speech last night in St. Paul. I like this part especially:

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.

Nice. For full text, go here.

There's also a nifty article in Wired that explores Obama's use of the Internet. I'm not sure I totally buy the "first successful Internet campaign ever" thesis, but the article raises a few compelling points:

The campaign came up with a number of innovations on the internet. It used wikis -- online collaborative software -- to coordinate and churn out precinct captains in both California and Texas. And it created a counter-viral e-mail campaign to combat the anonymous e-mail smears that question his religious faith and patriotism. It set up policy pages that solicited ideas from supporters, and at one point, the campaign solicited letters from supporters over the internet to lobby the undecided superdelegates.

And Obama's campaign constantly updated its YouTube channel to keep its supporters around the country up to speed on his latest speeches.

Obama's campaign spent significant resources on physical offices in battleground states. But those efforts often came to follow the informal infrastructure that his supporters built ahead of time by finding each other through my.barackobama.com and coordinating off-line to campaign for their candidate.

The most obvious area in which it led was online fund-raising. Just under half its record-level of $265 million raised so far came from donations of $200 or less, much of which flowed to the campaign through the internet. The Clinton campaign ended up tweaking its fund-raising approach after Obama's initial successes and began asking supporters for smaller amounts of money in online fund-raising drives following each primary victory.

In contrast to Obama's campaign, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has raised only $90.5 million during the same 2007 and 2008 period. Just over a third of his donations came from the $200-and-under crowd. Forty-two percent of it came through contributions at the maximum $2,000 level. For Obama, just under a quarter of his donations came from $2,000-level donations.

Are we witnessing the rise of truly online campaigns? Hard to say. Technology is certainly a power player, and candidates who use it effectively- particularly for fundraising- are at a huge advantage. But at the end of the day, you still need to use old media and good ol' fashioned boots-on-the-ground. A cloud campaign is an interesting idea, but perhaps one that can't stand on its own.