In a fascinating announcement, MySpace announced that it will hold a presidential primary one month before Super Tuesday, when roughly 20 states hold their primaries. Given that MySpace is bigger than any state, bigger than all of Mexico, what does this mean?
Of course it's not all that real. The primary holds no electoral power. It also isn't limited to Americans. Nor are there any checks to prevent me from voting numerous times over numerous accounts. So it is all brew ha ha. But is it?
MySpace gives a voice to the underrepresented, voters under 30. It engages them in a new way and puts their voting power into consideration in a way that might spark greater voter turn-out. I predict a significant increase in the 18-25 segment. How big could it be? 10%? 20%? maybe. It may still be a pitiful number with the increase. But it WILL influence the vote.
Secondly, it further forces candidates in the online arena. Blogs, videos, search engine marketing, sure. But more than that. Right now, Obama has 5x as many friends as Edwards, and 10x as Hilary. Obama also has inspired people to develop videos for YouTube. But extending out the Obama video example, what about search engine espionage? Just search for "incompetence" or "stupid leader" on Google and find George Bush.
The future based on the current state of affairs leads to information warfare that will make the Swiftboat organization look like Green Peace. With the Net's anonymity, there is no cost to nastiness, and the American people have a healthy apetite for scandal. Sure there are lines that you might cross that would offend us, but short of those few, you could just about say anything. Then again, based on the last election, most lines have already been crossed. But expect it to go further. Expect some outrage. Shouting. Finger pointing into the hazy abyss of the Internet. Nixon like gestures of innocence.
A war has begun. And an equilibrium will emerge after both parties go way too far. Where will the American people land? I don't know. But if history is a track record, I would buckle up. It's going to be a bumpy ride.