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tP Poll: Does a Connected World Need a Connected POTUS?

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, June 30 2008

Republican presidential candidate John McCain recently attracted a good amount of ire from geeks for tagging himself computer "illiterate." And when a McCain campaign advisor described his candidate as "aware of the Internet," at Personal Democracy Forum '08, the guffaws were heard far and wide. But those incidents raise a serious question: does a U.S. president need to go online to be an effective leader? [Jump right to the poll]

It's a question with impact beyond a potential POTUS surfing the web, Twittering, and emailing friends. In 2008, the world is more connected than ever before. Where nation states were for centuries the pieces on the global chess board, today much of our lives is defined by networks. If a President of the United States doesn't comprehend the distributed computing that powers the Internet, can he or she understand a distributed world economy where both conglomerates and family businesses move jobs across the country and the globe, tap resources at home and abroad, and make money from markets both huge and niche? If a POTUS isn't comfortable with digital networks -- whether wifi, eBay, or Facebook -- can he or she effectively combat Al Qaeda, a networked terrorist organization with no core, only hubs, and one which amasses both fund and recruits through the Internet? Simply put, the world is more connected than ever before. Does an American president need to be connected to lead it?

We want to hear from you. Take the TechPresident poll and then discuss your take in the comments.

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