Monday, May 28, 2007

MySpace has a website featuring pages for most of the 2008 presidential candidates --

I've been browsing some of the pages and it's really fascinating to see how the candidates appear when recontextualized within the MySpace page layouts and YouTube video. Gov. Bill Richardson's featured video includes a couple of TV ads that characterize him as very "down to earth" or "real" and someone whom young people frequenting myspace could relate to.

Contrast Richardson with the likes of Hillary Clinton or John McCain, and the later two come across as incredibly stuffy and self-centered. The favorite friends Hillary displays on her page are all "I love hillary" or "hillary2008fanclub" type of groups or pages... and McCain's layout aesthetic plays on a very stiff and formal, military-style branding (Likely, I guess, to appeal to some youngsters).

And then there's the video by Chris Dodd. Dodd is a Democratic candidate. While I think he has an admirable message in his video, on the one hand, it's poorly produced with bad lighting and sound. His video is very jarring when contrasted to the fancy, fast-paced media of music videos or even Richardson's video. On the other hand, the poor quality of the video and the self-consciousness of his addressing the camera shares a lot of common ground with the quick-and-dirty work of casual video-bloggers on YouTube.

Sam Brownback also features a speech-to-the-internet video. The 50 year-old, conservative candidate repeatedly states that he's running "for the future" because he's concerned about preserving and improving all the nations culture, safety, and family values. His page includes a picture of his big family in their living room. As I live in a staged house on the real estate market, I know what a staged house without family-personality looks like -- and his living room gives just that staged, plastic impression. And I shouldn't forget to note that MySpace Impact has him currently highlighted as the "presidential focus" with an extra-big image.

Brownback is also very stuffy sounding. He begins the video by saying "Hello MySpace!" and explains that he's running for president. While I'm sure he wants to be seen as a respectable and notable figure with just the right chutzpah to be president, the video message pulls the cloudy clout right out from under him and makes him no more special than the average Joe, or Sam... might this mean any video-blogger could run for President? At the end of his message he says, "Please spend some time exploring my page, and this space, and thanks for visiting the site." Well he's got "page," "space," and "site" covered; it isn't clear to me that he's spent much time on MySpace, social-networking sites, or has much of any idea where today's world is actually heading in the future given this page, space, and site.

MySpace Impact also features sections on various real-world issues ("impact awards"), voter registration, and an "our planet" section with a "go zero featured tip" for reducing one's carbon footprint, among other things.


Tim said...

That was the point when we created Dodd's video ... especially since we asked people to respond with their own. How many youtube users creating original content do twenty-seven takes and use Final Cut Pro and all kinds of special effects with $3,000 worth of lighting?


Chris Dodd for President

Matt Waxman said...

Hi Tim,

I just posted a response to your comment: It's posted here on this same blog

Thanks for the comment!