Campaign 2.0

Whenever you go to peer-networking site MySpace, you’re immediately confronted with three of what the site calls “Cool New People.” They appear underneath where you enter your e-mail address and password to log in. Lately, the “Cool New People” have reliably been two regular people and then a 2008 presidential candidate who has created a MySpace profile. So it’s something like “Megan … Kim … Bill Richardson…”

“Hi, my name is Mitt Romney, and my interests include boys, shopping, and the Electoral College.”

For the most part, ’08 candidates’ entries onto MySpace seem to have gone seamlessly. But one was not without an element of chaos, that of Senator Barack Obama.

Anyone who’s been on MySpace knows it’s full of profiles representing public figures and celebrities that are not actually run by those people, they’re run by average citizens who find it fun or funny to create a profile for someone they’re not who wouldn’t normally be on a peer-networking site (like maybe because they’re dead). In November 2004, just after Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, a 29-year-old paralegal in Los Angeles named Joe Anthony started a MySpace page for the Senator. It was intended as a tribute, and Anthony claims to have put a lot of time into developing the page.

This was all well and good, until Obama entered the ’08 presidential race this year. By then Anthony’s unofficial profile’s friends had swelled to 160,000, and the campaign decided it needed to…



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