- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008


From YouTube to Flickr, Facebook to Twitter, images and sentiments from celebrations across the nation began pouring in on the Internet’s media-sharing sites just moments after Sen. Barack Obama clinched the presidential election Tuesday.

Some were as simple as photos of TV screens claiming the Democrat’s win. Others were unfiltered images of jubilant celebrations captured immediately after Mr. Obama was declared the president-elect as polls closed on the West Coast.

While crowds gathered at public rallies and millions of others simply glued themselves to television news coverage, many also spent Election Night online - and they had plenty of company. Students at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, posted a video of themselves reacting - screaming, jumping up and down, more screaming - to Mr. Obama’s win. Another YouTuber uploaded his toast to Mr. Obama: He gulped a 2-liter bottle of soda.

Elsewhere, dozens of Obama supporters clapped, danced and cheered inside the behemoth virtual world Second Life immediately after the Democratic nominee seized the electoral votes. Many avatars were left out of the virtual celebration in Mr. Obama’s unofficial Second Life headquarters because the digital enclave had reached maximum capacity.

The Straight Talk Cafe, a Second Life space supporting Sen. John McCain, was nearly a ghost town after Mr. McCain conceded the race. Volunteers for both campaigns had stumped unofficially for months inside the virtual world for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates - collecting donations, registering voters, building monuments and handing out virtual hats and T-shirts.

Even Mr. Obama himself, whose campaign embraced the power of online networking going back to his primary race against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, nodded to his tech-savvy supporters in the very moments before he took the stage in Chicago for his acceptance speech. Supporters who had signed up on his campaign Web site received an e-mail thanking them.

Those who were logged on at that moment got this message: “I’m about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first. We just made history. And I don’t want you to forget how we did it. You made history every single day during this campaign - every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends and neighbors about why you believe it’s time for change.”

Bloggers who had been posting about the election results in real time kept their comments brief after the Obama victory. Liberal blogger Sara K. Smith at Wonkette.com, who kept a snarky eye on the proceedings, instructed readers to “raise a glass to your Republican friends because it was not so long ago that [liberals] were precisely in their position, and remember” how bad it felt.

Conservative bloggers also kept their reactions concise and polite. Carol Platt Liebau at Townhall.com posted: “We are Americans first, and therefore I wish the Obamas health and happiness. It’s even possible to wish them success - so long as it is in keeping with the best traditions of American liberty, virtue and prosperity.”

Though Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may not have won the vice-presidential spot, she was popular as a doll. Of the four one-of-kind Cabbage Patch dolls crafted to look like the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, her doll nabbed a $19,000 bid when the auction closed Tuesday. The lil’ Obama, McCain and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. impersonators earned offers of just $8,400, $6,000 and $3,500, respectively.

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