The panel pointed out that, beyond ads and fund-raising, the Internet enabled a more crucial function: myth-buster. In the last election, the heavily funded Swift-boaters made accusations about Democratic candidate John Kerry, which, post-election, were proved inaccurate. It didn't matter; the damage was most effectively done.
This time around, whenever a new catchy accusation surfaced, from Gov. Sarah Palin's list of books to be banned from the public library to the story of the nutcase who claimed to have been mugged and branded with the letter "B," an army of bloggers pursued the stories and proved many to be fiction.
Then there was the lipstick-on-a-pig brouhaha incited by the McCain camp until the blogosphere noted the senator had himself used the phrase years earlier in referring to Sen. Hillary Clinton's efforts. Thanks to Google and an army of web-enabled bloggers, that nonissue rapidly vanished from the news.
But there is at least one technology-enabled difference that we can't yet fathom, although it has enormous potential. Thanks to the Facebook and MySpace groups and undoubtedly many others, the president-elect's team has e-mail addresses for millions of Americans who volunteered them.
Never has a president had this kind of direct link to a geographically dispersed population. No one, but no one should underestimate the advantage this president will have because his words can now reach into the home of every American who cares to receive them.
Lise Buyer, a longtime Silicon Valley investor, is a principal at the Class V Group, www.classvgroup.com