Tangents in a Virtual PlayGround

A moment of silence.


August 7, 2008 Posted by | Politix | , | Leave a comment

One Day We Will IM the President on Facebook Chat

…and he might respond, PLEASE CHECK TWITTER STATUS…

…and his Twitter status might say, PLEASE READ FACEBOOK STATUS…

…and then we will realize how dumb we were for thinking that our President would respond to us on Facebook chat. 

Okay, so “dumb” is a little harsh.

Better put, we will realize how selfish we were for trying to persuade the President engage with us in menial chat, when instead, he should be spending his time running our country.

 Dear Future Presidents,

Please leave the online social media to us normal folks. We just need you to be aware of it. 


American Citizens

Now, do we really want our future Presidents blogging, twittering, and facebooking?

July 28, 2008 Posted by | 1 | | Leave a comment

Social Media in Elections

Boy, the U.S. is pretty darn lucky, because we’re on the cutting edge as far as international use of social media in our elections. I guess this just shows you what happens when you have as much free speech(see internet section) and internet access as we do. Then again, does the international community refer to these platforms as “social media”? Perhaps, that’s the reason why I’m not finding anything in the search engines

In one of my earlier posts, I showed a YouTube video of a student in the U.K. asking Prime Minister Gordon Brown how he was planning on keeping politics interesting and engaging for younger generations, so obviously, the U.K. has jumped on the social media bandwagon to a certain extent. 

We know that the international community is using the social media,


but are they using it in their campaigns? Is the U.S. really on the cutting edge of social media use in elections, or are we missing something here? Are we allowing our political process to succumb to the scrutiny of the anonymous blogger? Do we somehow make our campaigns less serious if our URL begins with http://www.myspace.com/? Can politicians even begin to penetrate the vast landscape of social networks that multiple by the minutes and whose popularity is like the tide? Well, at least not MySpace, Facebook, and-ah hell-a lot of other social networking sites. But, let’s not forget that some time ago, MySpace was the online force to be reckoned with.

Yet, perhaps social media is the way in the future of political campaigning- what Garrett Graff explores in his book, The First Campaign.

Barack Obama seems to be–no–he has been successful using social media to advance his campaign. Perhaps, he is the leader of the first campaign.

As I flipped through the Politicians page on Facebook…well, again, perhaps the first campaign has already begun.

Do you have a million friends on facebook?

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Blogs for Class | | Leave a comment

Microtarget Me


I don’t mind. Just don’t load my inbox with long and annoying email messages, when I volunteer my email address to your campaign. Now, that will just piss me off. 

The concept of microtargeting voters fascinates me. Why? Because it’s so complex and clever, and because, finally, voter demographics become more amusing than…

  • This is John Doe, a Christian from Prestigious University. Educated John will likely vote for X party in the fall. 

Microtargeting looks a little more like…

  • This is Jane Doe, a moderate-Presbyterian from an extremely liberal all-girls school (although Jane often jumped the fence to illegally visit Christoper Duke-Bensen, a quarterback, at the all-boys dormitory next door, during the wee hours of the night). Jane is a romantic who loves Pepsi, long walks on the beach, and an occasional wine cooler or two. Jane and her friends will only vote for X party, when pigs fly.

I love it! 

After reading Sosnik and Dowd’s Applebee’s America, I have to admit that microtargeting scares me just a a little bit, especially since I didn’t really know how much work went to into capturing the lifestyles of voters. (Oh yes, Big Brother is watching us). Of course, I know that a voter’s lifestyle will likely determine who the heck he/she will vote for, but you know, Applebee’s America just really spelled it out for me- and it’s all the Clinton campaign’s fault. Yet, the Bush campaign later capitalized on the Clinton campaign’s microtargeting efforts (okay, okay the Bush campaign did it better), secured wavering voters, and won in the polls. It just wasn’t fair, I tell you! Americans allowed the Bush campaign connect with their Gut Values and look what happened…How much did it cost YOU to fill up your tank this week, huh?! 

In any case, do voters really ask themselves, does a political candidate share my values? Does that really matter? Well, of course it does. It’s just a shame that there’s often a this dual between personal values (which most people equate to morals and ethics) and political policies and procedures. Why is it a shame? It’s a shame for people who do not know that two are inevitably connected i.e. Bush’s appeal-to-voter-morals campaign. When are we going to learn?

July 28, 2008 Posted by | 1, Blogs for Class | | Leave a comment

Wonderful World of Widgets

For some months, I couldn’t really define “widget.” I clearly knew what one was, but somehow I just couldn’t really explain it to anyone else without saying “it’s this thing that does that thing, which links it to this other thing.” Yet, since I prefaced this definition with such enthusiasm, the receiving parties usually expected something more artful to pour from my lips. Now, I often reference the wikipedia definition of the word with such frequency that I definitely have it memorized, maybe.

In any case, widgets are becoming like the hippest thing on the web. They are like your personal web thumbprint. They can have so much personality and identity and they help drive web traffic. Let’s take Obama’s “O” widget, for example, which directs the user right where Obama wants he/she to go– to some important information on his website (i.e. donate here). Ah, clever.

Yahoo! has a site that allows you play with existing widgets and you can create your own widgets, as well. Yet, many companies have already jumped on this bandwagon and there are many sites out there for users to create their own unique widgets such as GrazrWigitize, Buzzfeed, and many more.

Oh and of course, there’s the Google Gadget which likely tops all the others I mentioned. I mean hell, it’s Google…

And the current King of Widgets? Well, Facebook of course daarlin’! All those (sometimes annoying) little thingamabobs all over the pages are widgets.

The widget is becoming a standard, really. Rock the Vote is even making creative use of the widget, as well.

And to think, not too long ago most of us used to associate the widget with the thingamabob, the whatchamacallit, and the gizmo.

July 20, 2008 Posted by | Blogs for Class, Social Media | | 1 Comment

Obama Protects His Kids from the Media Storm

And the award goes to–drum roll, please–Barack Obama! 

 Michelle, we’ll talk about the Best Mom Award later, but FYI, you’re competing with Brangelina.

After a candid family interview with Access Hollywood‘s Maria Menounos, Barack Obama said that he didn’t think the media attention on his daughters was healthy and that his family wouldn’t be doing interviews of that sort in the future. Now, why would Mr. Obama say a thing like that?

It’s not like media stalks children of public figures. It’s not like the media would take pictures of his children without his permission. It’s not like the media’s obsession with him would trickle down to his children, at all. I mean geez, the media is way more respectful than that. Duh! The media just wants a few pictures and a few candid interviews, that’s all. They just want to ask if daddy wears boxers or briefs, that’s all. They just want to find out what daddy’s little secrets are, what daddy’s morning breath is like, and how daddy punishes little girls when they’ve been bad. They just want to know if daddy is “normal” that’s all, because more than 10% of Americans still think he was raised a Muslim. The media just wants to get to know the Obama children so that they can tell America why she should vote for him in November. So, please, just give the media as many pictures and the interviews as they’d like. Please. It’s for the good of all. (?)

Things to think about…

  • According to someone (i.e. a narrator on Access Hollywood–maybe it was Maria, but I don’t know), Obama should allow the media more access to his children because children can be great assets to campaigns. 
  • Sorry, I couldn’t think of a good bullet #2. I’m still thinking about how dumb bullet #1 is.
Let me take a deep breath and woo-sah a little bit. This is how I think it happened…
In the storm that is the lifestyle of the Obama’s, the Obama’s just forgot that Access Hollywood was showing up that day. It was their daughter’s birthday and kids were just running all over the place–if you haven’t been around a kid on their birthday, you won’t get this. Any way, some media shows up to the occasion and–oh sh** it’s Access Hollywood! At this point, everything is moving real fast. In one corner there were make-up artists trying to make everyone pretty, and in the other corner there were technicians trying to set up label microphones on Michelle and Barack. Then, all of sudden, Sasha and Malia ran to their parents. Crap! The technicians started pinning microphones on the kids. Michelle and Barack looked at one another. It was the oh s** look, and rightfully so. Did they know that…
  • the Access Hollywood interview would be a four-part AH mini-series?
  • the syndication of the show would boast 30,000+ views on Youtube?
  • every major news network would talk about the AH series?
Obama wins the Best Dad Award for thinking, What the hell we were thinking allowing the media to spotlight our kids like that?   He even said that they won’t be doing interviews like that in future. Obsessive media + young people (especially of parents who are public figures) is not a good mix. Just ask young Hollywood starlets. I don’t even have to name them. Malia and Sasha are under 11! If anyone thinks that obsessing (i.e. more media coverage) over Obama’s children is a good thing, then we should be afraid of them…

July 20, 2008 Posted by | Blogs for Class, General, Politix | | Leave a comment

The New Yorker Obama Cartoon Succeeds at Forcing Us to Think…

Images are powerful.

Look at the picture below.

Now, take your position. 

Here’s mine…

This is a bad joke. No, really, it is. Think about it…

E.D. Hill gets fired for saying terrorist fist jab” and The New Yorker is allowed to paint this detailed mental picture for us. Is that fair? Maybe it is, but there are consequences to every action, even if we are allowed to tout our free-speech-in-America badges. E.D. Hill might go down in history for being an ass at the wrong moment, but this cover–this vivid portrait–will likely go down in history for being one of the most controversial magazine covers in American history. Sorry E.D., you coined the phrase and everyone else just darn capitalized on it. 

Many of us could have only imagined a picture such as the cartoon above, but damnit we didn’t draw it–but then of course, we are not The New Yorker. Yes, the cartoon is a true expression of free speech, but quite frankly, it just doesn’t get passed a pity chuckle for me. My hearty laugh awards still goes to Angry Kid.

I’m with CNN’s Roland Martin on this one. What is the joke? Where is the headline that’s supposed to tell us “HA! HA! (insert relative, funny phrase here)”?  Did anyone notice that an American flag is burning in the fireplace? So not cool, dude. I think I’m crying instead of laughing. Is Michelle Obama supposed to be a Black Panther in U.S. military camouflage bottoms? Hmm…something about this just doesn’t feel funny, and I’m a fan of political cartoons. Are loyal fans of The New Yorker really going to abandon their beloved magazine because of a cartoon cover that pushed the envelope of satire? Who even freakin’ cares about this cartoon?! Sigh. We are all forced to care. We are all forced to take another look at what, why, and how we challenge and defend our interpretations and perspectives. We are are also forced to ask ourselves: who is responsible for helping us shape these notions?

Can you look at this cartoon again and respond to it objectively?

As a read through the headlines of various articles, I read such headlines as:

Obama Slams New Yorker…

Obama is Outraged by New Yorker…

Obama Rejects New Yorker Cover…

As I read thoroughly through articles, I noticed that Barack Obama, himself, did not want to comment much about the cartoon because “he didn’t want to elevate it’s importance“. He actually declined to comment about the cartoon on multiple occasions. I mean, he has been speaking a lot lately. I guess he just can’t comment on everything. Gee, that’s wise. In any case, Obama isn’t “outraged” or “slamming” anything outside the realm of that which could be a true detriment to his presidential candidacy.

The cartoon that made us think

July 20, 2008 Posted by | Blogs for Class, General, Politix | | Leave a comment


…To everyone who told me how jacked up my blog has been for the past week.

I’m still getting used to this Mac thing.

July 20, 2008 Posted by | General, Just because | Leave a comment

The Power of Internet

Please do not press the power button below or you will immediately shut down the world’s internets.

power of internet

Just kidding.


It is without a doubt that Obama’s use of technology and the internet has–thus far–helped him acquire successes in his ongoing presidential campaign. Obama is not just aware of the internet, he just totally gets it.

He gets technology altogether. Obama’s addicted to his blackberry, and McCain likes how it flashes lights.

Obama will make history because he has been able to successfully assemble the power of his online supporters.

But perhaps, no other presidential campaign committee has discovered the power of internet like the Dean campaign did in 2004. Obama’s campaign tactics are an evolution of what happened during the Dean campaign.

Teechout and Streeter’s Mousepads, ShoeLeather, and Hope is a compilation of stories and interviews from the people of the Howard Dean campaign. These people were involved in the campaign from its netroots, which was the key tool in the “complicated” and “complex” Dean campaign. These people discovered that the the local meet-up could transform an entire political mobilizing machine, which is exactly what Meet-up.com did for the campaign. But, the most important factor in the Dean campaign committee was the fact that the face of the campaign, Howard Dean himself, understood the internet to be a powerful tool. In his interview in the book, Dean describes how he created his slogan “You have the power” based on the prevalent online activity of his supporters. The Dean campaign did not control the occurrences or the momentum of the meet-ups that were occurring all over the nation. For the most part, they left it in the hands of the group creators and provided resources and assistance if needed. Dean mentions that the movement that was occurring online was a bottom-up movement and not a top-down movement.

So Dean wasn’t responsible for the “nuts and bolts” of his internet campaign strategy, but it was crucial that he understood not only the power of the internet in his campaign but that his campaign was the internet campaign.

Does the McCain camp really understand this powerful tool called the internet? Of course, they do because he losing the internet battle– and I know someone has put it in those terms for him to understand. But, in the mean time Obama’s about to cross the finish line…

July 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogs for Class, General, Politix | | Leave a comment

How Do We Make Politics More Interesting?

Free ice cream for all those who vote? Just kidding, but really though…

How do we make politics more interesting? 

This vid is for the UK Prime Minister, but dude, it applies to Americans, too. 

In this 2008 election we’ve seen a great surge in the creation of voter-generated content– material that is indeed engaging the American public in unprecedented ways. Yet, is this the future voter engagement? Will future voters need sarcasm, humor, and cool tools to wow them in their interests and engagement in an otherwise crucial yet extremely boring political process? Will these forms infiltrate traditional media as reporters jump on the it’s-sometimes-cute-to-be-an-ass bandwagon (although the consequences can throw them by a storm)?

How do we make politics more interesting without fudging up too much? Well, in a gossip-interested society, this sure is a hard one…

July 6, 2008 Posted by | Blogs for Class, General, Politix | | 1 Comment