In cyber space no-one can hear you scream but they can sure tell if you're off your game. Barack Obama is finding that out the hard way.
'It's a strange and unfamiliar territory we're in. There have been a few notable exceptions but since 1960 the TV debate has generally been seen as an equation of style over substance - stay upright, don't get wrong-footed, peel off a few one liners and the campaign will move on undisturbed and unaffected by what had become little more than a political ritual.
But the frenzy of online engagement is like performance algebra - a jumble of characters, symbols and short, sharp calculations that somehow end up reaching a conclusion, faster and more efficiently than the old-school campaign long division.
As a result 90 minutes of prime time TV became a political eternity. In cyber space no-one can hear you scream but they can sure tell if you're off your game. They used to say you could tell who won a TV debate even with the sound turned off - but no-one can control the volume of instant messaging. And politicians all over the world are being caught flat-footed by it.'