Earlier this month, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain made an admission I feel should be a nail in the coffin for his run for the presidency. McCain stated “I’m illiterate when it comes to the internet. I have to rely on my wife to go on for me. But I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself.” I understand that McCain is 71 years old and from a very different generation then the plugged-in, wired one of today. I also understand that as a wealthy, educated man with access to plenty of resources, he should have taken a course or two in computer literacy before deciding to run for the position of the leader of the free world. While I don’t expect McCain to be designing Facebook widgets or mapping his fellow Senators using Google Earth layers (above), I would hope that in the year 2008, where technology rules, he would at least make an attempt to fire up his modem and log on to the internet. The fact that he hasn’t- in my opinion- shows how disconnected and out-of-touch he is with the world of today.
Am I saying that he should be more concerned with tech policy than the War in Iraq, or the “looming” recession? No- but as I’ve posted before the internet and Web 2.0 has certainly influenced the way Americans view the war, and allows for an interactive platform for information and conversations about the current economy. McCain should do himself a favor and fire up that dial-up connection- he could learn a thing or two.
If the above isn’t a sign of the times, check out techPresident‘s Politickr. It offers a statistical round-up of blog posts, Facebook, MySpace and other social media supporters, and YouTube views for both Obama and McCain. Currently, Obama has McCain beat by a staggering margin of nearly 1.1 million supporters on Facebook, and just under 400,000 on MySpace. I think this shows that those that support Obama are generally of a younger generation that’s plugged-in. And that those who are technology literate are beginning to demand the same in a presidential candidate. Obama has developed a technology platform while McCain doesn’t even list technology as one of his issues.
It’s time we demand our candidates become tech-literate enough to represent the literacy of rest of the country on a basic level. How can we expect our leader to be effective if he can’t relate to those he’s leading?