You will be hearing a lot about this in the next few days, but it is clear that the U.S. election has been one of the best showcases for the User Generated Content web. While the 2004 election was all about blogging, this one has consolidated the power of the participatory web, and will probably come to be known as the YouTube election. From Tina Fey’s Palin impersonations, to recounting every single gaffe on the campaign trail, YouTube has been an important part of the election process. Instead of being used to convince people, it has served as an excellent tool to galvanise supporters and reinforce voting patterns.
The copyright implications have also been surprisingly overlooked. YouTube is filled with clips from news sources all around the United States, and there has been little or no grumblings from the networks. Perhaps the fact is that traditional news sources are starting to mature about their online presence, and they finally realise that extensive YouTube exposure is a good thing. What seems clear is that this election has been a success for the UGC tool set. Blogs have once more proved to be astoundingly accurate sources of information that often outmatch mainstream sources (for example, the excellent fivethirtyeight.com). Podcasts, Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube have also demonstrated the power of peer production.
However, the important question in everyone’s mind is, how did Azeroth vote?
Dwarves voted for McCain, while the Horde are overwhelmingly for Obama. It figures.