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 Post subject: Politicians on myspace, livejournal and so forth
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:56 am 
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It appears that the idea that politicians should have a myspace page or an office in second life has travelled to Australia now. Generally I've been of the opinion that such activities are just crazy stunts that will not lead to better communication between the politicans and the public or vice versa. But this concept is obviously spreading, have I been wrong? Is this actually a good thing for politics and for the public trying to express their opinions to the politicos, or is this just another propaganda tool, this time specifically aimed at the internets generation?


Politicians launch MySpace sites

Federal politicians have officially entered the 21st century with the launch of a new political wing on social networking website MySpace.

The move is seen as a key tactic in connecting with Australia's younger voters.

Today, MySpace Impact channel was launched in Australia.

It has been a hit with United States politicians like Hillary Clinton, who see it as a way to connect with voters.

Federal Opposition leader Kevin Rudd says he has just one goal.

"To get 50 per cent plus one more friends than Mr Howard," he said.

Greens leader Bob Brown and Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey are among many others who have also signed up.


Politicians invade MySpace

By Timothy McDonald

Seventeen federal politicians have followed their American counterparts and set-up official profiles on the MySpace social networking website.

American politicians have been using the site as a campaign tool for some time, but until now Australian politicians have preferred to avoid the chaos of the online world.

There is no doubt that the new profiles offer an insight into the varying personalities of Australia's leaders.

Some of the profiles are dry and serious, while others are unexpectedly humorous.

The song Who Let The Dogs Out starts playing as soon as you log on the federal Workplace Relations Minister's MySpace profile.

Joe Hockey says he would also love to meet the Greek historian Thucydides and American talk show host Jerry Springer, although presumably not in the same room at the same time.

Always the straight man, Labor leader Kevin Rudd has introduced himself a bit differently.

"I'll be leading a fresh team into this election," Mr Rudd says on his profile.

"Here on this MySpace profile, and on those of my Labor colleagues, you have the chance to find out what we stand for, find out what really matters to us and tell us what really matters to you."

So far, most of the politicians are only "friends" with their own party members.

By contrast, US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has more than 115,000 friends.


Of course hundreds of unofficial MySpace profiles already exist, and most of those are set up to lampoon politicians.

Everyone is there, even the from former prime minister Gough Whitlam. His profile says his hobbies include editing the Hansard and correcting people.

Meanwhile Mr Rudd's fake profile paints an odd picture of his relationship with Labor's environment spokesman Peter Garrett.

"I quite like Midnight Oil. Sometimes I ask Peter to sing bits to me, but he gets all annoyed and mutters something about being taken seriously," reads Mr Rudd's fake profile.

"I just tickle him until he gives in. I dared him to sing bits in Parliament, but I think Peter Costello overheard and thought I meant him, so he did it instead.

"Man, he's weird sometimes."


Nobody ever argued that the online world was an orderly one, and this unpredictability may be part of the reason that the major parties have been cautious with their online presence.

One party that has been more willing to join the online fray is the Greens.

The party's federal leader, Bob Brown, says all this online chaos might not be such a bad thing.

"The world's a pretty chaotic place and we're all trying to make order out of it," he said.

"But you've got to be able to be open to the bit of anarchy that comes with exposing yourself to interchanges of ideas like this.

"There's checks and measures, but go to a public meeting and you expect someone there is going to get up and call you out or have a contrary opinion or give you a mouthful.

"I think politicians are too sheltered these days."

Economic and political commentator Max Walsh agrees the beauty of the online world lies in its unpredictability.

He says politicians often speak in aggregate and macroeconomic terms, but the Internet has a way of personalising things.

He says the voting public reminds him of that famous opening line to Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Kerenina.

"Happy families are all alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," he said.

"Now if you insert the word voters for families you get a better idea of what politics is about. Because happy voters are all alike, but every unhappy voter is unhappy in their own way.

"The web offers a way to go in there and address the individual."

If you're bored and have a myspace account, go lay some shit on these people via here: http://impact.myspace.com/.

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