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US election already seeing the "Internet effect" - are you?

As I predicted the Internet (predominantly the Web) will have a major effect on this years US elections ... and it already is according to Pew / Internet "The Internet and the 2008 Election" report - highlights below followed by how this affects businesses here in New Zealand:

... 46% of Americans have used the internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views and mobilize others.

... 35% of Americans say they have watched online political videos--a figure that nearly triples the reading the Pew Internet Project got in the 2004 race.

... 10% say they have used social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace to gather information or become involved. This is particularly popular with younger voters: Two-thirds of internet users under the age of 30 have a social networking profile, and half of these use social networking sites to get or share information about politics or the campaigns.

... 39% of online Americans have used the internet to access "unfiltered" campaign materials, which includes video of candidate debates, speeches and announcements, as well as position papers and speech transcripts.

... 74% of wired Obama supporters have gotten political news and information online, compared with 57% of online Clinton supporters.

... Yet despite the growth in the number of people who are politically engaged online, internet users express some ambivalence about the role of the internet in the campaign.

View PDF of Report

(my emphasis)

So, how does that affect you Mr and Mrs Business NZ?
I think the key phrase is "express some ambivalence" which I is because the Internet is starting to become invisible - it just is. This will have a profound effect upon the way you carry out your business and the manner in which staff (especially new staff) will expect to be able to interact with the Web. The days of "locked down websites" are still with us for a lot of workers but the business outcome of persisting with this behaviour is becoming more detrimental to the bottom line (be it terms of dollars or services provided).

How does this affect IT Departments?
Despite the slightly over the top headline the article from TechRepublic, Will technology empower Gen Y to wipe away our institutions?, has some very salient advice to IT Departments around the already here staff that the above report highlights:
What’s going to change
  • Many users will bring their own equipment (primarily laptops and smartphones)
  • Users will often select their own apps and tools
  • More workers will be mobile and will telecommute at least part-time
  • IT won’t have as much centralized control of resources (unless you’re in a high-security environment)
  • Data security, privacy, and confidentiality will be even more complex to manage
What can IT do
  • Think like shepherds rather than generals
  • Make user education a top priority and use a peer-to-peer rather than paternal delivery
  • Start looking at technologies like application virtualization for locking down your most important apps and data, no matter where they’re accessed from
  • Develop specific policies for telework in collaboration with HR and senior management