Mar 222007
 
Authors: Hilary Davis

Can’t you just see it now? Interests: stovepipe hats, being tall, growing a beard. Activities: emancipation, holding the union together, an occasional beer. Favorite quotes: “Four score and seven years ago.”

I am, naturally, talking about Abe Lincoln’s Facebook page. What? You can’t imagine Abe Lincoln with a Facebook account, changing his profile picture every time the Union won a battle, writing “notes” about why the country should reelect him or updating his status? (Abe is.busy freeing the slaves. Txt him if you need anything.) On his birthday, you can write on his wall and perhaps send him that saucy little heart icon as a gift if you really feel compelled.

It may sound a little far fetched and slightly ridiculous to think the president, arguably the most important person in the free world, would need to jump on the bandwagon and get a Facebook or MySpace account, but welcome aboard the far fetched and slightly ridiculous hayride, kids, because you’re about to be friended by the presidential hopefuls who want your vote.

This week, MySpace will release its new, politically focused section called the Impact Channel. Impact will be a collection of links to political profiles, including 10 presidential candidates from both parties who are all vying for the young, traditionally apathetic vote.

This is new for presidential candidates. After all, the notion that John McCain could attend a $5,000 per plate fundraiser and be chatting it up with big donors while receiving texts from Facebook Mobile is rather strange.

But the American political institution is a dinosaur, reluctant to change. The first inkling that, “Hey.this Internet thing.it might be useful,” came when Howard Dean blogged his way to prominence in 2003, just four short years ago. Of course he battle-cried his way right back down, but I don’t think we’ll see Barack Obama or Rudy Giuliani unleashing a terrifying, Dean-esque yelp anytime soon. Hopefully.

According to MySpace’s research, about 86 percent of its users are of voting age, which makes the social networking site a prime place to reach a lot of young voters. Impact will not only spotlight candidate’s profiles, but they will offer voter registration tools, digital “yard signs” and other art for users to paste into their profiles to endorse a candidate. And a feature that is most appealing to campaigns and most likely to elicit the least response from the young demographic: a payment tool to solicit donations from their “friends.”

What, we have to be friends with them AND give them money? Shoot. I’m sticking with Abe.

Unfortunately, Abe Lincoln doesn’t have a real Facebook account. But Hillary Clinton does. And I fully expect her to friend me (because “to friend” is now a verb, apparently). After all, we have the same name, the same party affiliation and we even share the same birthday. She’d better not text message me, though, or else I’m moving on to Barack.

Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Friday in the Collegian. Replies or feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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