Thursday, January 03, 2008

Digital billboards display Iowa Caucus results

According to MediaWeek, digital billboards in Iowa owned by companies such as Clear Channel Outdoor and Lamar Advertising are going to be displaying results of 2008 presidential caucus taking place today. Apparently, the updates will be run in between regularly programmed advertising.

It's pretty neat to see digital signage being incorporated into what will could be a historic election (we might see our first woman or African-American president). The 2008 election is unique in that technology is playing a larger role than it ever has before. Look no further than CNN's "YouTube Debates", the way that candidates like Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee are realizing gimmicky viral videos, or how Ron Paul's volunteer base used the Internet to raise $10 million in two days of "money bombs."

Placing updates on billboards most likely won't take the place of watching the local news, nor is it likely to effect anything like CNN's coverage. Yet -- in an ideal world -- it could increase the level of involvement on the part Iowans. Imagine someone who didn't necessarily plan on voting stopped at a red light and reading with resentment (or hopefulness) that a key candidate is in the lead. Will they be moved to act? Who knows. But at least they will be more informed. The use of rapidly-updated signage makes it just a little harder for people to bury their heads in the sand.

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