Krohn agreed, and noted the power of what "millennials" are building in social networking sites. "There is someone on the Internet today, probably 15 years old," said Krohn, "who is building a social network online that will [help him] become President."
Trippi said that he felt that the RNC was a bit behind on its development of understanding of Web 2.0 culture mostly because of President Bush's re-election bid four years ago. "If you have a guy who's a done deal running, even though you had people who believed in Web 2.0, they really didn't need to go bottom-up," he said. "On the other side, you had Howard Dean's campaign, and we were freaking out trying to figure out, 'How do we get to people?'
"It spawned a whole group of people who are comfortable with these tools."
Conversely, Trippi, said that he believes that the parties' roles may be reversed this time. "This year, you have almost the exact opposite--Hillary tends to be safe," he said.
Trippi, who became a convert to Web tools for campaigning as an adviser to Dean's presidential campaign, pointed to the successes of Republican congressman Ron Paul's campaign in taking advantage of the power of social networking--not that his campaign could control that power. "His (supporters) are just more excited about him and using the tools," Trippi said.
The Edwards campaign used the power of social networking to counter the "$400 haircut" buzz that surrounded Trippi's candidate through a YouTube video campaign, he said. The videos, which used the song "Hair" from the Broadway musical of the same name, pulled back from close ups of people's hair to reveal scenes of the aftermath of Katrina and images of the war in Iraq. "It got hundreds of thousands of views," Trippi said. "We put it up in the middle of the CNN debate, and all the talk just stopped."
YouTube and other social networking sites with user-contributed content are also creating what Della Volpe called "an era of authenticity."
"Someone in this campaign is going to get caught doing the facade thing, at some closed-to-the-press event, on a cell phone [camera] where he thinks he's safe," said Trippi. The threat of something like that happening, he said, will build authenticity and honesty into how candidates carry themselves.
Check out eWEEK.com's for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.