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Elections and MySpace

It’s Election Day in San Francisco and I forgot to vote this morning. Mayor Gavin doesn’t need me, but Measure D might. To assuage my guilt about not supporting the city’s libraries with my vote, I’m brushing up on my presidential candidates so I’m not in the same predicament next year.

I consulted the MySpace Impact “channel.” It launched in the spring and it features profiles of the presidential candidates and other info on current events and politics. Turns out that not only are MySpace and social networking important tools for companies (see John Kovacevich’s recent post), but they are also becoming increasingly important for political candidates. But how are these presidential hopefuls using MySpace? Very differently. Here are my initial thoughts:

Chris Dodd’s site could use some attention from his campaign. His “about me” section sounds canned, even as he sings the praises of two-way communication and not talking “at” people. I, for one, feel talked at. Plus the posted comments include spam—fake offers for free Coach handbags and $500 gift certificates at Macy’s—and he asks visitors to join the Dodd Squad. Puh-leeze. Pretty dated reference, especially for the MySpace crowd.

Fred Thompson hasn’t updated his MySpace blog since early September (come on!), yet he has still collected 12,344 friends (more than Dodd and Giuliani, fewer than McCain and Edwards, and way behind Obama, who had 190,120 friends at last count). Mitt Romney has more than 30,000 friends, and five of them are his photogenic sons.

Rudy’s page is approachable. His “about me” blurb is casual, and one of his campaign workers, Dan Meyers, tells us that he and his colleagues are updating the page. Nice that they don’t pretend to be Rudy. Hillary also tries to be approachable, telling us that she’s a “lousy cook,” “never did well at math,” and recently bought a Carly Simon CD.

Most candidates post only positive comments (Rudy, Hillary, McCain), but I noticed a negative comment on Bill Richardson’s page. A mistake? A deliberate decision to let every voice be heard? Probably the former.

Do you think these candidates are making good use of MySpace? Take a look at their profiles and let me know what you think. —Julie Jares, managing editor


November 6, 2007 - Posted by | In the News, Julie Jares, Multimedia, Web Content

1 Comment »

  1. I checked the Fred Thompson page and it looks like he reads your blog because he finally signed in! I’m glad he took notice, too, because what presidential candidate doesn’t need to keep himself appraised of the latest artwork submitted to his site from glitter-graphics.com?

    While I think it’s a little farcical to think these guys are reading their pages on the campaign trail, of course that isn’t the point. MySpace political pages exemplify the placebo effect of interactive politics: it doesn’t matter if the candidate reads any of the postings or even knows the page exists, only that there is a platform for supporters to feel connected to the campaign. In that sense, a candidate’s MySpace page is a prerequisite to any modern campaign because that feeling of inclusion – of being one of 20,000 or so “friends,” give or take – solidifies the relationship between the supporter and the campaign. That may mean a great deal to some of these candidates when primary season gets in full swing.

    Comment by matt oreilly | November 8, 2007 | Reply

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