Information that shapes the political landscape

The election cycles for 2010 and 2012 promise to be exciting and potentially dynamic changing. There is heavy talk and speculation going on well in advance of any actual voting and Americans have become passionate about the outcomes. News outlets are working overtime trying to keep a voracious public informed about the latest news, events and scandals.

Political organizations, whether they are political parties, action committees, blogs or discussion groups, are becoming an increasingly important source for news and direct access to information that shapes the political landscape. Internet blogs and fan sites have broken major stories in advance of the mainstream media, which makes them an even more popular venue for those seeking the most up-to-date info. Mediums like Twitter have made instant updates in headlines a reality, but cannot give any in-depth facts or analysis on the information.

The instant access to the latest information has shown the ability to turn public opinion on a dime, even if the information is unverified. This reliance on incomplete and unverified information as a guiding force for public opinion is not new, but it has never seemed to have made such an impact before. Sources like newspapers and periodicals, which were the gold standard for complete and verified information that shaped viewpoints, now seem almost obsolete. There is no way a paper or magazine published once a day or weekly can come close to giving the instant access to news that America has become accustomed to. But they do have the ability to give a more thorough examination to news than a 30 second cable news sound bite or 140-character text.

Political organizations can lead the pack in providing their members all the information they want, when they want it, but with the context and background knowledge that brings true meaning. This will give the power to shape the political landscape in a real and effective way.