Political Bloggers on BarackObama.com

So if you’ve been living under a rock, aren’t American, or just don’t care about politics, you might have missed the news that Barack Obama made his official website into a social networking site. The launch was pretty slick but not without problems. Within 24 hours there was trouble stemming from a user-created new group with a racist homophobic title that automatically appeared as the example of what you could do on the site and the secret service found a death threat to Hilary on someone’s blog on there.

My initial reaction to the social network site, thinking like a promoter or a fan, but not like a politician, was “genius.” What I loved about the idea was the power it puts in the hands of his adoring throngs. But, of course, one difference between politics and entertainment (yes, a few do remain) is that those who oppose politicians have more at stake than those who hate the tv show others love so.

So when I went to the political blogger panel I wrote about here, I asked them for their take on the site. The consensus seemed to be that he’s going for the youth vote, and doing it in a powerful way by validating the means of communication that they claim as their own. But the inability to police the site and lack of built in self-moderating technology means he’s opening himself to a lot of dirty tricks he may not be able to contain.

I am fascinated by the willingness to give up control of the message that doing this entails. It is not unlike taking your official corporate site and turning it into a fan site. Goodbye official Lost site, hello MyLostSite.com? I think most of us would agree that there’s a necessary place for both the official site where the message is controlled and the fan sites where we get to make it all our own. Giving up the one for the other is a risky move, but man oh man do I admire him for it.

And p.s. I don’t have a favorite candidate yet myself.

Comments (1) to “Political Bloggers on BarackObama.com”

  1. Delurking here as a non-American, yet non-under rock denizen; I had a look at the site, which does look like a social network site. I was interested in BarackTV, which reminded me of another new word created in the political sphere: Segolene Royal, the socialist candidate in the French presidential election has coined “segosphere”. The colours on her site are very similar to Obama’s too, but comments seem to be very moderated.