Ah, a headline like that is definitely what McCain’s campaign doesn’t need. What else can be said, though, after McCain’s own admission that he doesn’t know how to get online yet? I admit I telecommute so spend more time on a computer than a lot of people. I have had a web site since the late 90’s. I have had email as long as that. I also can remember when the IBM Portable PC was the size of a suitcase. Somewhere I even have a pic of my oldest as a baby sitting at it and he is the same size. But that is me. I am 46, not 71.
I do realize that being 71, John McCain’s admission that he is still learning to get online and that he has never sent an email and doesn’t see the need for it is probably closer to average than my experiences. I do believe, though, that an admission that you do not utilize one of the most popular, especially for the young and new voter, means of communication will put you at a disadvantage.
I compare McCain to both my parents. My mother, who is not in her 70’s, and I chat via IM most week days. She emails me pictures of what is going on in the desert of Southern California. I email her pictures of what is going on in the Southern Tier of New York. My father, who is 70, has gotten to the point – mostly due to his employer as far as I can tell – that he checks his email daily. If I cannot reach him via telephone before he starts his commute or via mobile phone on his commute, I know I can email him at the “office” and he will get it. I don’t know that he likes it but he checks it.
What will the backlash be? How can a candidate who says he has yet to totally master getting online, who says he has never sent an email and doesn’t see the need for it relate to the average person, relate to those who are trying to convince companies to get high speed internet for all areas of the county and country? How can a federal office candidate survive in an era when all candidates have a myspace or facebook page or use digg it to get the “articles” on their site more read when the candidate doesn’t have an official social networking page?