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MySpace politics target students

Sarah Thomas

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MySpace, has introduced “The Impact Channel” where MySpace.com goers can add their favorite 2008 Presidential hopefuls as “friends” to their profiles.

The channel, which offers viewers a look into the lives of the candidates, features such profiles as Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

“That is a very creative marketing strategy,” said Sheree Davis, vice president of administrative affairs for the Student Government Association. “I think that people are viewing [college students] more as voters than in the past, the young people are the larger demographic.”

On “The Impact Channel,” viewers can register to vote or just look at profiles of candidates, as well as view videos of their campaign trails. MySpace users can also view Impact News, where global news is fed from all over the world about important issues, such as global warming and the Iraq policy.

With 86 percent of MySpace users being of voting age, the 2008 presidential candidates are using MySpace’s 60 million visits a month to their advantage.

The profiles of the presidential hopefuls are much like normal MySpace profiles. For example, Ron Paul’s zodiac sign is Leo and he is a “proud parent,” but he also has posted links to donate to his campaign and read on “Debt and Taxes.”

This channel could also let the candidates know where they rank among the younger population. Hillary Clinton has 8,634 MySpace friends where as her rival, Barack Obama, has 93,590 MySpace friends.

According to newsfactor.com, “The Impact Channel” will be launching straw polls in May to determine the popularity of the candidates. All MySpace users can participate, including those under the age of 18, but will be old enough to vote in 2008.

“People used to learn about (campaigns) on TV. Now more ever, wireless Internet will be a huge factor in the elections,” said Josh Ruth, president of SGA. “This will impact the way that we put out and receive information from now on.”

MySpace, as well as Facebook, have both become huge social sites for teens and college students to share information and make their opinions heard. There are other groups on MySpace that touch the political issues. “MySpace Left Versus Right” is a group devoted to the debate of Democrat and Republican opinions.

College students are showing an interest in Impact Channel, with more than 138,000 people already supporting their favorite candidates.

“I think in the past four years our campus has become more politically minded. Not just about student rights, but rights in general have become a forefront,” Davis said.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
MySpace politics target students