I've written before about what the social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, say about us, about the privacy issues involved, about how prospective employers look to those sites to get a preview of what a job candidate is like. Well, now we can all turn to those sites to see who supports whom as a political candidate... with sometimes unexpected results.
Word got out yesterday that Rudolph Giuliani's daughter appears to support Mr Giuliani's competitor, Barak Obama, according to what her Facebook profile used to say (she changed it after Slate reported on it):
But the very public nature of the way young adults socialize via the Internet, posting private musings for all the world to see, thrust her into the limelight today with word that her online profile suggested she supported Senator Barack Obama’s presidential bid.
On her profile in Facebook, the popular online social networking site, Ms. Giuliani, 17, listed her political views as “liberal” and noted her membership in a group called “Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack).”
Now, I think it's all a little silly — it's perfectly common for people to disagree with their parents politically — and I actually think that taking her profile down only increases the hoo-hah about it. But it shows how things have changed in the way we share information about these sorts of things. The choices we make about what things we make public can have consequences that we'd better think about before we click “Save and Publish”.
All the major candidates except Mr Giuliani have profiles on Facebook. All of the Democrats but Joe Biden appeared at the Yearly Kos convention this weekend past. It's more than just having an official web site now, and that's all changed in the last ten-ish years, when, in 1996, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole set up their campaign web sites, amidst a number of impostor sites that spoofed them.
I'm waiting for the year in which campaigns are essentially won or lost on the Internet. I don't think it's too far away.
Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it's raging
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'