Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Pressing the Online Flesh – MySpace Impact

MySpace recently launched its MySpace Impact channel for politicians and non-profit organizations. It is a space where politicians, political and social organizations can list their official myspace pages.

Compared to places like USA and the UK, Australian politicians have been fairly slow to utilize social media (take a look at Hilary Clinton’s myspace or Barak Obama’s myspace as great examples). And it seems in this case, the Aussie Pollies have been dragged online – kicking and screaming. An interesting note – Labor MPs currently outnumber Liberal MP’s by 2 to 1 on myspace. And John Howard, the Prime Minister, has refused to signup. At last count, only 28 individual federal political candidates for the upcoming election now have official MySpace pages.

Ask any politicians what the value of a personal handshake is? There is a reason why politicians in this day and age still hit the pavement in their local electorates and go door-knocking. Social media enables politicians to make a form of personal contact with voters on a massive scale. In addition it also engages a particular segment of voters – Generation Y and builds on the perception of the politician as a real person, an authentic person and someone open to new ideas.

Check out the table below (that I plan to update every fortnight) regarding how well each of the politicians are utilising this space…

Liberal Party Candidates Total Friends: 616
Liberal Party Number of Myspace Candidates: 5
Labor Party Candidates Total Friends: 9617
Labor Party Number of Myspace Candidates: 10

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