Sunday, December 31, 2006

Which Candidate will become Viral?

Ahh politics. the never ending source of internet fodder. Here they go. With all the 2008 election posturing, it seems like the 2006 races were eons ago. I mean the new congress isn't even officially in session and we have several presidential candidates declaring for the '08 race. While I could care less about candidates 2 years before the election (they'll have plenty of time to lose my vote between now and then) what interests me is the techniques and tactics the campaigns will employ.

The candidate that peaked my interest so far is 'ol Johnny Boy Edwards. Trying to gain some ground in an unofficial poll between two candidates (Hilary and Obama)who haven't even declared they're running yet, he launched his campaign last week.

What was interesting aside from the painfully obvious political stunt of declaring in New Orleans in jeans and an open collar shirt (read:salt of the earth everyman) was the medium he used. He released the video of his declaration on youtube the now popular (with really rich founders) video sharing site. While this might have been just a good use of the tools available to him, I can't help but wonder what future presidential candidate campaigns will do to to "reach out" to the consumers who get their information from the web.

The term on the web when something gets a snowball effect of publicity(most of the time unintentional) is "viral." It's dubbed this because the information spreads like a virus. Corporations have been trying to manufacture positive viral content for years now after seeing the return on investment you can get with huge returns for very little money. The problems is that the internet community hates to be manipulated and can sniff out manufactured content pretty well. The strategy can backfire tremendously which can lead to some negative viral content. Ask Sony about the PS3 debacle.

So, my question is this. Which candidate do you think will become the most positively "viral" in the coming years? I think we should make some guesses now and look back in 6 months/1 year to see how our predictions held up.

Welcome to the new age of campaigning, where a candidate might not need a huge war chest to reach the public if he can manage his internet image. Let the politicians loose, this should be quite fun.


1 comment:

Mario said...

Well, I wish blogger would show the original message while i replied, but oh well.

Here's the 'snowball' i foresee occurring with Obama. With the current clash of memeplexes (Xtianity and Islam) Obama's 'snowball' can go either the way of sympathy or rejection. I say sympathy b/c of the latest quarrel between that Congressman from Minnesota who wanted to swear in over the Qu'ran rather than the Bible(in reality I don't see why he just wouldn't rather swear over the Egyptian Book of the Dead, but that's just me). Then, in all of their Southern and conservative pride, the Congressman from Virginia said that America should close down their boarders in order to keep Muslims from coming in!

People do not want others to deem them shadows of their pre-civil rights ancestors, so Obama maybe able to 'snowball' some of that good. However, it could lead to rejection due in part b/c he's not a white-male, non-xtian, and is intelligent. This could be the 'unintentional snowball' effect that the conservatives would hope for.

And what happened in this PS3 debacle? I don't know the news on this issue.

-M