WHO WILL BE THE PRESIDENT OF MySpace?

11Jan08

Now that the New Hampshire Primary is over, we in Massachusetts may get a very short break from the barrage of “approved messages” on Boston TV and radio stations that have been aimed primarily at voters in the Granite State. Any respite will be short lived, however, with the Massachusetts primary less than a month away.

If you followed any of the coverage of the Iowa caucuses, you might have thought that it was all over but the general election. In a classic act of wishful thinking, on the day after the Iowa vote National Public Radio all but inaugurated Barack Obama. Talk about the Audacity of Hope.

So far in this primary season, it seems that even more than usual, every candidate says that they represent change. This year, only a candidate offering to keep the status quo would be a real change.

In one of his ads, Mitt Romney says, “It’s time for a change, and change begins with us.”

Barack Obama promises he’ll bring “change we can believe in.”

John Edwards promises “Big change, real ideas” for America.

Hillary Clinton says, “We’ve never needed change more,” and “Change only comes with experience.”

Bill Richardson also promises “Experience and change.” He has experienced a change from candidate to ex-candidate.

Of course “change” is the emptiest of campaign promises. President Bush cannot run for another term, so by definition the next President of the United States will be a change.

One real change in this presidential election cycle is the degree to which Internet social networking sites are in play. Candidates with websites are nothing new, but if you go to hillaryclinton.com, you’ll find links to Hillary’s MySpace, Facebook and flickr pages. According to Hillary’s MySpace page, her worst habit is chocolate and she feels lucky if she can sleep in until 7 a.m. Wow, I feel like I really know her now. Her MySpace page claims she has 159,883 “friends.”

Rudy Giuliani is also on MySpace and Facebook. Rudy’s favorite movie is “The Godfather” and “Saturday Night Live” is among his favorite TV shows. Rudy only has 10,100 “friends” on MySpace. Better get to work.

Of course, young Barack Obama has a MySpace page. He feels the need to list his “status” as “married” and his “orientation” as “straight.” His Facebook page lists 219,529 friends.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that Mike Huckabee has a MySpace page. He lists his “body type” as “slim/slender.” So far, he has 26,417 friends on MySpace.

Ron Paul’s MySpace page claims 111,632 “friends,” while John Edwards lists 49,508. Mitt Romney has 32,325 MySpace friends.

Even John McCain has a MySpace account, complete with some rockin’ tunes that play while the page is loading. McCain boasts 40,775 “friends.”

Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee also have pages on flickr.com, the photo sharing site. Like other social networking sites, flickr users can name other flickr users as “contacts” or “friends.” On my flickr page, I made Rudy a contact. So far he hasn’t reciprocated. He has until February 5 if he doesn’t want to lose my vote!

It goes without saying that in 2008 all the candidates have blogs.

We’ve come a long way since 1960, when his skillful use of the new medium of television helped a youthful John F. Kennedy defeat Richard M. Nixon. Today, all the candidates have made sure that they have a presence on MySpace, flickr, Facebook and YouTube.

They’re all doing it, so it’s hard to say whether the skillful use of social networking web sites will help any one candidate the way that TV helped JFK.

But so far, at least, it looks like Barack Obama is the frontrunner in the race for President of MySpace.

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