GAC Alum on Web2.0’s role in shaping Politics Posted on August 9th, 2007 by

Jon-David Schlough (GAC ’00) is one of the many GAC alums who I know that, while not a CS major, has gone on to work in the internet communications industry here in the Twin Cities. His latest work for the Al Franken campaign’s online presence is at last connecting his knowledge of web technologies with his Political Science background.

I recently discovered that he’d been interviewed on his work on the Franken campaign. This article in Network Performance Daily gives his many insights from inside the political machine. Both on the complexity of the ever-shifting world of web technologies as well as on the continuing role it has in shaping politics as we know it.

While he didn’t mention it, it’s interesting to consider in our day and age that at one point in history, photographs of candidates prior to election was considered to be a novel advance. Radio & Television were subsequently the first means most voters had to hear & see politicians who certainly didn’t have as extensive of a campaign trail in the early days of automobile & air travel.



  1. max says:

    Thanks, Matt, for posting this really interesting item. However, I think you underestimate how “extensive of a campaign trail [candidates worked] in the early days of automobile & air travel.” I just got done reading Jean Edward Smith’s recent biography of FDR (and highly recommend it). Here are a few relevant excerpts. In 1920, campaigning for Vice President: “In the next three months he would crisscross the country twice, delivering nearly one thousand speeches and countless impromptu addresses…” In 1928, campaigning for Governor: “After the first two days by train, Roosevelt decided that he would continue the rest of the trip by automobile. This would enable him to make speeches at scores of crossroads and villages all through the state…” “For four weeks FDR barnstormed the state, sometimes speaking as often as fourteen times a day.” In 1932, campaigning for President: “Roosevelt traveled more than thirteen thousand miles, speaking to ever-increasing crowds.”

  2. Brian Boyko says:

    Thanks for enjoying the article! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like us to cover!

    — Brian Boyko
    — Editor,

  3. mweier says:

    Wow! I guess I overlooked that without the crutch of pervasive national mass media (other than newspaper/radio) the campaign trail was used in a much more rigorous manner since it undoubtedly was the primary way of stumping before the populace.

    Still, compare FDR’s impressive/exhausting “twice across the country” notion to today’s almost daily onslaught of live news footage, regionally targeted campaign commercials, and public video addresses which tv & internet deliver to nearly every town in America.

    At the heart of the change seems to be an important difference in how your perceptions can be affected by written news vs. experiencing first hand a candidate in front of you speaking multiple times.

    Another bit of trivia re 1896… “William McKinley was the first U.S. presidential candidate to be filmed, appearing on screen less than six months after the earliest projected moving images were commercially exhibited in the United States.”

    Even then, politicians were ready to use the latest & greatest technology to help them win elections.