Thursday, August 30, 2007

Can “Friends” Catapult Next Presidential Election?

I am a huge advocate for social media and the potential impact it can have on everyday matters, but is it powerful enough to sway the votes of thousands of Young Americans?

It seems that music mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs thought so in 2004 when he created the “Vote Now or Die” campaign that encouraged young Americans ages 18-24 to vote.

P. Diddy’s campaign was smeared over all social outlets and encouraged people to don t-shirts with the catchy slogan. This message was not to be ignored. Roughly 3 million more young Americans voted in that 2004 election than 2000; was that just coincidence?

I do not believe so. I remember--I was a sophomore in college and fellow undergrads were donning the “Vote or Die” t-shirt. It was all over campus, the news, magazines, you name it.

When I came across a recent article, “Friends” in high places” on Reuters.com, by Andy Sullivan, I thought to myself that social media has yet again sparked another revolutionary campaign among young Americans; vote, be heard, and have fun doing it.

Young Americans spend countless hours a day on social media outlets like Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster. Presidential hopefuls, such as Illinois Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton jumped on the social media bandwagon to obtain “friends” that will support their cause and push them into victory. So far, they have been successful.

Barack Obama totaled 299,000 friends between MySpace and Facebook while Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, only has 169,000 friends. Obama even has his on social networking sight, my.barackobama.com in hopes of converting “friends” into volunteers and eventual votes. On the other hand, Former Republican NY mayor, Rudy Guiliani seems to be way behind the times, only boasting a mere 7,400 friends.

I am hoping that the increase in young voters was not a fluke and that Presidential campaigns are successful in turning “friends” into voters. What do you think?

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