For the past few months my pre-breakfast morning ritual has been determined by American opinion polls. As a political junkie, the first thing I’ve done every morning over the last six months has been to check out the latest opinion polls at RealClearPolitics.com. Then I’ve gone to Politico.com, FiveThirtyEight.com, CNN.com, News.Yahoo.com, and blogs like the HuffingtonPost.com, TheDailyDish.com and DrudgeReport.com that have done such an addictive job commenting on this most remarkable of elections.
So what now? What am I and the tens of millions of other politicos supposed to do before breakfast now that the election is finally over? With Obama’s landslide victory, American politics is supposed to change dramatically. But what about change on the blogosphere? What becomes of online political opinion when, on 20 January of next year, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America?
The polls might have temporarily shut, but I suspect that the blogosphere is about to get really provocative. The internet is a natural medium of opposition, so expect American conservatives to embrace online media with much more gusto and creativity after 20 January. Whereas the blogosphere has been dominated in George W. Bush’s age by left-liberal blogs such as Arianna Huffington’s HuffingtonPost.com, Josh Marshall’s TalkingPointsMemo.com, Andrew Sullivan’s TheDailyDish.com and Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga’s Daily Kos, an Obama presidency will throw up new online conservative opinionators who will radically redefine American political discourse.
Just as the current doyen of conservative muckrakers, Matt Drudge of the DrudgeReport.com, made his name exposing the stain-filled scandals of the Clinton presidency, so a new ecosystem of online Obama-critics are about seize control of the conservative movement in America. On the internet, insurrection leads to insurrection to insurrection. It’s a broadband version of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution. These conservative insurrectionists might be yet to be identified, but I’m confident that their online opinion will replace the polls as my not always edifying pre-breakfast nourishment over the next four years.
I was in Frankfurt last week to keynote the annual ZukunftsForum Medien event about the future of media, held at Lufthansa’s Flight Training Center at the airport. After my speech, a panel of four new and old media experts discussed the crisis of declining newspaper readers in Germany. I was particularly struck by a singularly dark comment by Hans-Juergen Jakobs, the online editor-in-chief of the Munich based Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest quality newspaper. Unless self-promoting journalists can make themselves more relevant to a German public more interested in social networking than in serious news analysis, “It will be over,” Jakobs predicted, starkly, about the end of the high-end newspaper business.
Andrew Keen is the author of ‘The Cult of the Amateur’Reuse content