The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Barack Obama, Social Networking King

Online, Barack Obama is king of social networking.

Which is not to say that he's the most popular candidate on social networking sites. (Start deleting those angry comments now, Ron Paul fans.) He's just the busiest soc-net bee of the lot. The first to capitalize on the strength of his Facebook groups. The first to have a profile on Eons, the MySpace for baby boomers. One of the first candidates -- the other being Rudy Guiliani -- to have a profile on LinkedIn, a site for professional networkers, and the first to have a LinkedIn group.

And as of Friday, he's the first candidate to have profiles on and, popular soc-nets in the black and Latino communities, and also on newer soc-nets such as (for Asian Americans) and ("GLEE" stands for "Gay, Lesbian and Everyone Else").

For a biracial candidate who grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia and has lived in New York and Chicago -- and who's touted himself as someone who can unite Americans -- this kind of outreach makes sense. "At Obama events across the country what is noticeable is the diversity of the crowd and the unique level of energy from groups of people who may not have attended a political event for any other candidate in the past," Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told The Trail.

But to some online observers, this might seem like overkill, a variation on the let's-throw-spaghetti-on-the-online-wall-and-see-what-sticks strategy -- a criticism bestowed upon John Edwards
earlier this year. To many, it's simply smart online-politicking. Yes, we live in a MySpace-Facebook populated online world, but outside of those gigantic hubs, they argue, are dynamic soc-nets effectively targeting demographics.

"This is 2007, not 2004. Back in 2004, the strategy was, get them to your Web site. That was the goal," said David Weinberger, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and Internet adviser for Howard Dean. "These days, the Web is a much busier, fragmented, diverse world, and while these social networking sites are still really in their infancy, it's hard to resist their value in reaching people."

Added Colin Delaney of "These sites don't require much maintaining, especially considering Obama's new media team. Fact is, online you have to go where the audience is, and the online audience are on all these sites."

-- Jose Antonio Vargas

Posted at 8:00 AM ET on Oct 6, 2007
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I would like to introduce to you one of the first Mixed-race Personal Listings Service you may find on the Internet! It is created to balck relationships between Black Women and White Men. This will also serve as a forum for all BW and WM to meet, share, and grow together. As stated in simple terms, this group will serve to provide support, interact, online resource, and up coming events.

Posted by: johnsonlee1234 | October 7, 2007 11:41 PM

Social news...blogging & commenting...this is our future. A lot of people...especially younger people...never watch the news or read newspapers...they get their info online. Will they vote? Time will tell...I believe the boomers on will vote, also the people on linkedin...I think this is a smart move by the Obama campaign.

Posted by: linnie1 | October 7, 2007 8:05 PM

Will social networking sites help candidates turn informed people convert into a vote. These are questions that will most certainly be answered this elections season. The effectiveness of these sites will determine if these mediums will become main stream in the future. Can Social Networking energize young Americans between (18 - 30), a segment traditionally with low turn out? ------->


Posted by: PollM | October 7, 2007 1:03 PM

There's a reason why people don't trust the MSM at all...classic example is the MSM's coronation of Hillary as president, which is extremely UNDEMOCRATIC for the press to do. In a democracy, the electorate depends on the press to be well-informed of the issues, candidates, policies, etc. That's made ever so difficult if one candidate, the MSM's favorite, Hillary, gets undue and fawning coverage, ad nauseum.

Most of the time the MSM reports on Obama, it is negative, and we see it and are sickened by it. It just makes our distrust of the MSM that much greater, and we only check it to see what you're NOT reporting, or UNDER-reporting. To really know what's happening in this country, you need to access independent media. Two of the best are democracydotorg and buzzflashdotcom. Absolutely the best in progressive news, with links to MSM, world newspapers and all government offices. Can't start my day without buzzflashdotcom with my morning coffee.

One more thing...why doesn't this paper cover, in depth, the on the ground activities in Iowa and their polls? That's where it's all shaking out. Also, the mentioning by the MSM, ad nauseum, of national polls, is meaningless. Remember in 2004 where Lieberman, Kerry and others were in the polls? And in 1992, Bill Clinton was at 2% before the Iowa caucus.

I expect the Washington Post to be much more balanced in its coverage of candidates and put a stop to your coronation of Hillary. That's very ugly and I don't think the Iowans like the media to tell them it's all over and who to vote for. No, they're hip to that b.s. and won't buy into it.

Posted by: pacifica1 | October 7, 2007 2:50 AM

Flag pins and facebooks. Apparently there is no Brittany Spears news.

Does anyone need any more proof that the media has become irrelevent?

Posted by: bklynsam | October 6, 2007 7:19 PM

It is clearly in the corporate presses interest to have Clinton be Dem nominee. They'll have a ready made conflict to report on. They're all set up for blue/red state right-wing vs moderate division. Hilary is a known quantity, it will be nasty and divisive, name calling, The status quo. The profitable culture war will continue. On the other hand if Obama wins...... You have to ask, why is the MSM stuffing Hilary down the throat of America. National Polls are meaningless this far out. Watch what's happening on the ground.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 6, 2007 5:40 PM

Why doesn't The Washington Post just come out honestly and endorse Hillary Clinton, instead of this passive-aggressive Obama bashing?

From Watergate to Clinton-gate...

The first was a scandal courageously exposed by The Washington Post.

The second is the scandalous propaganda that the Post and other pro-Hillary MSM outlets are trying to ram down voters' throats.

How times have changed!

Posted by: Lioness1 | October 6, 2007 2:12 PM

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