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THE American presidential election is a year away. Candidates have realised that if they want to grab the attention of the 18- to 30-year-old segment of the population they will have to embrace and utilise Web 2.0 websites and applications.

For the first time in history a very public “war” is waged online. Each of the candidates are grabbing hold of every possible web application they can get their hands on. Twitter is being used by candidates to show supporters exactly what they are up to and when. Podcasts are used to get their messages out. Blogs are updated constantly to inform and attract potential voters.

Candidates are even having debates on YouTube.

The Internet community also loves to create their own content and delegates know that this could be more powerful than the content they generate themselves. They therefore encourage their supporters to generate content about them. In this way many music videos have been created. These videos are played online by millions, improving the candidates’ visibility.

To many of us it sounds unbelievable that the Internet can have such an influence in the political arena, but this is a trend that will soon spill over to our shores.

As the uptake of Internet services continue and prices continue to fall, the power of the Internet will continue to increase exponentially.

At this stage in America a funny, well crafted online music video about a candidate can increase the popularity of a candidate with up to 5% over night.

Next year when the election is coming to a close, this will be something to take note of for the future elections in our own country.