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February 21, 2007

Meeting the Candidates, Facebook to Facebook

And for a less important use of social networking sites, Newsweek's Gaggle blog notes that Barack Obama far and away leads all 2008 presidential contenders in the tally of MySpace friends.

In other words, if the election were held today, and all the voting booths were on MySpace, Obama would totally be president. But Republicans shouldn't give up just yet. Apparently--and this gets kind of technical so we're simplifying a bit--listing someone as a MySpace friend doesn't count as an actual vote for that candidate on election day. "Friending is still a bit of a murky phenomenon. It's a pretty trivial kind of association and I'd never say we should take it as any proof of what will happen as far as voter turnout," techPresident editor Micah Sifry told NEWSWEEK. Well, yeah. But it's still cool to be voted "most likely to become president" even if you wind up a total loser.

Following the selection of "you" the Internet star as Person of the Year, it seems fair to conclude that websites like MySpace and Facebook -- and certainly YouTube -- will for the first time be a fierce political battleground during a presidential election. We had a sneak peek of this in the last one, with the advent of groups like MoveOn.org. Who knows what all of this will look like by the time November '08 comes around, but the Web-based voting bloc will be a key part of every candidate's campaign.

On the other hand, one has to wonder whether a candidate's list of MySpace followers will actually be a part of the demographic that shows up to vote on Election Day.

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