Presidential hopefuls are showing signs of embracing the ever growing world of technology with the first ever MySpace and MTV Presidential Candidate Dialogue. The event took place September 27 in front of a live audience at the University of New Hampshire. The event marked a turning point in the world of politics, as those in the running are well aware of their younger audience’s influence.
As the 2008 election approaches, candidates are striving to differentiate themselves. While most rely heavily on mainstream media, a number of presidential hopefuls are testing the social networks of Facebook and MySpace.
MySpace and MTV joined together to present a new presidential forum aiming to reach younger demographics. College students appreciate the use of technology and John Edwards may have helped his campaign tremendously by being the first candidate to take on audience questions in a town hall meeting format. SuChin Pak and Gideon Yago both acted as MTV correspondences and moderated the discussion. Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post provided feedback to Edwards based on the online voting of viewers. Perhaps 2008 candidates are realizing the importance of younger generation’s votes.
The candidates fielded questions from the audience, while the discussion is streamed live over MySpace TV, MTV and MTV’s Web site. Online viewers have the option to vote on how they feel the candidates are answering the presented questions and then ask additional questions.
Social networking Web sites are not just for entertainment or fun anymore and are being put to better use. Why not do something beneficial and useful with all the resources available in today’s instant world? I bet that’s something the campaign directors were asking themselves before they signed their bosses up to take part in these discussions! It’s a perfect opportunity to get your campaign out there and answer the questions the voters are dying to know.
The town hall meeting setting for a younger audience was a huge success and received great ratings from viewers. Edwards may have been the first to take on the challenge, but he most certainly won’t be the last. MySpace and MTV stated that 12 more candidates are signed up so far to see how well they do in the candid and open discussion, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Rudy Giuliani. I guess we’ll have to wait and see who embraces the instant criticism and runs with it, and who chokes in front of thousands of young, vulnerable voters.