Politics Heats Up on Social Networks

Last week MySpace announced the launch of the MyDebates site which takes politics on social networks to a new level. There is an interactive quiz which lets users see where they stand on issues in relation to each of the candidates. There is also a section which lets users see results of the polls. So far the results are definitely interesting with 45 of 50 states going to Barack Obama according to the latest poll.

While I don’t know the exact statistics on the people that took the quiz, it appears that the 21-34 years olds appear to have the most influence over the poll currently. One of the coolest features of the site is that there will be live coverage of the national debates and the ability to talk with others that are following the debate as they happen.

I actually found the poll to be extremely useful for judging my position although I wasn’t completely surprised by the results. Social networks are rapidly becoming a central place for political discussion. Just last week CNN covered how Facebook is being used to encourage users to register to vote:

“We need your help more than ever,” the Obama campaign said in a Facebook update Thursday which touted an updated version of the campaign’s application on the popular social networking site. The revised application is now headlined by a large module that allows users to check whether they are registered to vote, to request an absentee ballot, and to locate their polling place. The new module replicates functionality available on a Web site launched by the Obama campaign soon after the Republican convention.

The Obama camp’s effort to encourage registration and absentee voting on Facebook comes less than a day after the McCain camp rolled out its own application on the site to encourage its supporters to vote early or obtain absentee ballots.

“Now more than ever, your vote is critical,” the McCain-Palin update said. “Voting early, or with an absentee ballot, is the best way to avoid the long line on Election Day and get your vote counted.” The new McCain application takes users to a page on the campaign’s Web site where they can fill out a form to request an absentee ballot or register to vote.

While it’s difficult to measure the impact of political activities on the various social networks, it’s clear that both parties are taking social networks seriously as they demand a large portion of young voters’ attention. It will be interesting to see how much traffic is generated to these sites as the Presedential debates take place over the coming weeks.

-MyDebates Map Screenshot-