This past Friday I was interviewed by the AP about a blog post I did awhile back on the top political social networks. Given that the Democratic national convention was firing up this week in Colorado, the reporter wanted to know what I thought people’s current perception and usage might be of social networks for political groups and their associated impact and influence. A valid question. I told him that surprisingly enough, from what I found, the number of actual social networks devoted to politics was not as great as one would think or I would have expected, given the current state of affairs. But that’s changing, and it’s changing fast.
This is not to say that there are not tons of blog sites with political themes, or You Tube videos with political themes, or a myriad of polticians with websites, Facebook pages and or blogs, that’s a whole ‘nuther story. It’s just that politics and social media are just evolving slower than I would have thought.
But back to my point. Though there are not AS many social networks as one might think, the usage of what is available online in regards to Web 2.0 tools has never been higher. Take what Barack Obama did with enlisting his followers and everyone else to sign up for the email and text message on who his VP would be. Clearly Obama has realized the power of mobile and is using it as another way of communicating his message. A political candidate communicating in as many ways as possible. Novel concept.
No doubt we have evolved into a text messaging mad society, so this made perfect sense. Embracing social media and the micro-blogging platform, however, is something that someone in the Obama camp thought might make sense as well, and thus he is now being followed by 67,000 people on Twitter.
On the other hand, objectively speaking, it would appear that John McCain is slow on the draw given that he only has a website. With no offense meant, I told the AP reporter that it appeared the Obama was embracing Web 2.0 and McCain was embracing the Commodore 64.
I think what you might find even more interesting though is that according to Think Progress , Joe Biden is one of the most wired politician of the bunch. he currently has a presence on Facebook, MySpace, a blogsite, a website, a Flickr page, and a YouTube presence. Not sure about the Twitter presence though.
As I have always maintained, contrary to an earlier post, that social nets need to go vertical in order to be successful in their own right. For politics, this never made better sense. Eventually, what you’ll see is each social cause or political concern will have it’s own social media platform in which to engage its users, trumpet their causes, raise awareness and most of all… raise money. If anything, the emergence and usage of social media has armed every citizen with the ability and opportunity to now speak their voice via, wiki, blog, youtube video, chatroom, and social net, like they have never been before.
As the awareness levels continue to rise on just what a social network can do not only for the regular person on the street with a cause, but also for a candidate or politician, so will the number of active social networks specifically geared towards these niches. Because of social media, never before has the average American had as big an opportunity to speak and be heard above the noise. But what comes of it, still remains to be seen.