Only three weeks ago, I wondered about how long it would take before MySpace was tapped as “The. Ultimate. Political. Advertisement.” I figured someone was doing it but I had no idea who. Until last night. On the eve of the Maryland primaries, I discovered Janet Owens, Democratic candidate for State Comptroller has a MySpace page. Just like Howard Dean had the blog. Like someone (can’t remember who) was using YouTube.
Owens is something like 80 years old. She has a bunch of friends and has discovered something useful in a pop culture race that is odd since it’s all old folks. One of her competitors, incumbent William Donald Schaeffer, is best known for over 50 years of service as Baltimore City Mayor, State Governor and most recently Comptroller. His crotchety old man antics of knocking on the doors of citizens who publically disagree with him, making sexually charged comments to a female staffer in a board of public works meeting and going on a tear because kids at McDonalds didn’t know how to speak English, have begun to wear thin with even the younger voters.
Owens discovering MySpace, while it may not win her an election, gives cultural weight to the service that has become in many ways equivalent to Google.
The Maryland Comptroller race is a small race compared to some of the bigger ones to come, and one wonders how MySpace campaigning will work out and who will be the biggest winner of a windfall MySpace election in the future.
I doubt that Owens is the one who set up these pages, as she probably has younger and more tech-savvy staffers to assist, but the larger point remains the same.
Internet communications has already become an integral part of the campaign strategies of several big players and will only grow as demonstrations of their effectiveness become more public.