The Castells article made some excellent points on power and communications and their impact on politics. He wrote, " The battle of the human mind is largely played out in the processes of communication." No where is this more direct than in the political arena where politicians via for approval of the human mind, or their vote.
As communications becomes more interactive and involves more players, it is a natural place for politics to look to connect with more people. The obvious example of this is Obama's successful media campaign that was heavily reliant on Internet campaigns and interactive social networks. He was able to engage people on a personal level unknown in previous political campaigns. His website was even called www.mybarackobama.org. Obama used the media to create a sense of ownership and connection that ultimately won him the election.
Politicians are realizing the growing power of the media and are working to capitalize on it like Obama has. It is interesting to note that this shift involves a two-way communication which is different from previous political interactions where politicians just broadcast their views and promises out into the ethos. Voters are now demanding more interactions and transparency since media has taken down the barriers of time and distance to these exchanges.
This interesting article from 2008 talks about Obama's successful media campaign: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/business/media/10carr.html
However, I was most struck by the last sentence that shows the power shift occurring with communications: "Yes, we have met Big Brother, the one who is always watching. And Big Brother is us.”