One of the most intriguing is the effect of Web sites on language. Web sites have already made dot-com a part of our language, but Hovy sees much more far-reaching effects. The candidates for the presidential nominations are increasing their Building Inspector appearances in South Carolina in preparation for the Feb. 19 primary. But for the digitally aware, the candidates have been very much present in the Carolinas every day for many months. Their Web sites, and Web sites about them, are prominent features of this year’s campaign.
But for now, the campaigns are still run primarily on television, with a token nod to the alleged importance of personal appearances. But the Internet and the World Wide Web are electioneering tools that no candidate would dare ignore. Back in December, during the first of the debates among Republican candidates, Utah Sen. Yours is not user friendly, Hatch snapped at Bush, in a tirade that surely will be lost in the mist of history.
He was, of course, chiding the Republican front-runner for not having an easy-to-use Web site. A visit to Hatch’s Web site brings the information that he is no longer a candidate. If I were to offer my opinion on the subject, I might say the only slightly difficult part of Bush’s site is the donor database. This is where you search for the names of people who have donated to the governor’s campaign megafund.
I might also point out that Bush’s site is the only one where I can find a donor database. Other candidates, with fewer donations, are less forthcoming about their support. A visit to Yahoo! will quickly uncover a long list of sites, but a trip around them also will disclose more than a few dropouts. Sam Berry dropped out of the Republican race, but left behind a generous legacy. While some of the catchier domain names are hard to come by, and have sold for huge amounts at auction, there is no record of McCain taking advantage of this gift yet.