Could Hillary Clinton’s bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination hinge on how cyber savvy she is in the face of “web insurgents”?

That is the claim made in today’s Times by Joe Trippi, the strategic guru who helped to drive Howard Dean to the brink of the Democratic nomination in 2004. He predicts that Barack Obama or another candidate will ride an even bigger wave across cyberspace and, perhaps, into the White House.

 â€œClinton is running a scripted by-the-numbers campaign. Her problem is that because she is so strong, she will not take risks and that will encourage other candidates to be bolder and more open with the internet.â€?

There is even a  social networking site devoted to signing up 1 million supporters for Obama by 12 March – and Trippi is confident it will succeed, a staggering 250,000 signed up in three weeks.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has been operating through carefully screened web “chatsâ€? and has signed up more than 100,000 supporters in the first 48 hours after her site went live.

John Edwards, who most believe is third in the race for the Democratic nomination, has been the most active on the internet, with his website featuring chatty blogs from him, his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Cate.

I am fascinated to see how American politicians are actively using social media for their political campaigning. However, can Hillary Clinton break her carefully crafted mould to embrace a more open and interactive style? Would it suit her personality? The lesser known Obama could find it the perfect way to reach out to new supporters who decide they like what they see in cyberspace.