Making an Impact on MySpace

As foreshadowed in May, MySpace has launched its Impact channel, which sits within MySpace and features a range of Australian politicians (among other things). I set up a MySpace site a month or so ago, which will be amongst those featured on Impact. There is a formal ‘offline’ media launch in Sydney, which I won’t be at as I’m travelling around far north Queensland this week.

Impact is being marketed as a “new channel designed to empower politicians, non-profits and civic organisation to connect with the online community, and empower MySpace users to make a difference in the world.” Anything which attempts to genuinely engage more people with the political process, and vice versa, is worth trying, and I’m happy to support it. However, I’m not sure just how much extra ’empowerment’ it will provide to MySpace users. I think it’s also an open question about whether it be of much help to most Australian politicians, (not that politicians probably need any more ’empowerment’ themselves).

Something new isn’t going to work just because it’s new – at least not beyond the initial novelty value. It will only work if it’s useful and meaningful for the people it’s aimed at. I’ve seen regular articles appear in the mainstream media for years now, talking about how blogging will be the next weapon in Australian politics, and how savvy politicians are already turning to it, etc etc. Despite that, until Labor Senator Mark Bishop started one up a couple of months ago, I hadn’t seen another effort at a genuine blog by a federal politician in the three years since I started this one. It doesn’t make me cooler than any other politician, just because I’ve had a blog for so long. Rather, it probably shows that it’s actually not a terribly valuable political tool (at least for politicians wanting to win votes), because otherwise plenty of others would be doing it.

MySpace has quite a young readership (although not exclusively), and I’m not sure the nature of Australian politics will suit its informal style. But it could well be that I don’t really ‘get’ MySpace – it wouldn’t be the only thing about human communication I don’t ‘get’, so it will be interesting to see what its impact is.

There’s already some talk about whether Facebook is the new MySpace. I set up a site on Facebook a couple of weeks ago too (which posts a direct feed of every new post I put on this blog).

Any method of communicating is worth a try, but these both seem to operate (so far) mainly as networking sites rather than sources of substantial information and communication in their own right. I can see how they could be of more value in the USA. As was noted in this piece, Australian politics is quite different, with its compulsory voting, rigid party discipline and centralised party fundraising.

However, these sites are also organic to some extent, so maybe they will develop a value and life of their own. And as I mentioned, maybe it’s a great new way to empower the populace, and I just don’t get it yet.

PS: A little bit more blurb from the MySpace folks about what the Impact channel is meant to be about:

The new channel will enable the community to learn more about the candidates, experience the political process online and offline, and uncover issues and organisations relevant to their lives.

What will be on the Channel?

  • Voter registration tool
  • Links to all politicians that have come on board
  • Candidate-created content
  • Links to environmental projects – Planet Ark
  • Deadly Impact – relates to Indigenous affairs
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  1. I guess you know MySpace is Murdoch, right? And MySpace in China actively supports repression of civil rights? And there ARE alternatives…?

  2. There is nothing about a university campus that makes it particularly prone to political activity, but campuses were the heartland of the radical social movements of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Campuses were politicised because people intervened into them – held forums, handed out leaflets etc.
    Universities were just places where there were a lot of people in one place.

    I don’t really get Myspace either, but them young whipper-snappers are all into it and I don’t know what they get up to in there. However they ARE in there.
    There would also be hundreds of thousands of blog readers in Australia, all in their own little cyber circles.

    But just having a blog or a spot on Myspace is like like having a wooden pidgeon hole in an office in the old technology. Sure people can communicate with you and the curious can find you if they want to. But it is not until you hand out a leaflet in the cafeteria, that you will make a splash. Then you have to leaflet every week and then the whole campus is talking about your leaflets.

    As for the internet,

    Hypothetically, if I was a senator trying to make a splash, I would organise an on-line forum or series of forums where I would invite high profile people from my electorate to answer questions from your readers. Have a poll or something so everyone can participate.

    Send out emails everywhere, and messages on blogs, and to all your new “friends” at myspace inviting them to participate in this extra-special internet event.

    get a program to send out invitations randomly (try to target Qld.) It is the same as handing out leaflets in the cafeteria.

  3. myspace is THE enemy.

    i HATE the idea of media concentration MIND-camp.

    i am not sure why u bothered?

    i really like THIS blog site, but at times i question u use of criteria of ‘exclusion’, one of my key concerns with moguls of any class.

    if u look @ noam chomsky, 2007, u will see why.

    i think this is a STRATEGIC error andrew.

    i agree with gandhi above & gandhi of india, up to a point. my basic attitude is the same as the dalai lama with respect to violence.

    there are many dif forms of violence – the most common is to exclude some one from a ‘game’ [of social life] via unfair/unknown criteria or, in the case of cia/fsb/kgb etc, is via a set of rules that suits the gain of the governator.

    in a recent exchange with centre-link, i was PUT under the hammer by a ‘social scientist’ [i include psycho people here] & he come up with the view that “i could do with an analysis by a psyho person”.

    of course, this is called a social kill i.e., label the person as ‘mad’/in*sane based on criteria of the psycho person on an ‘as-required basis’.

    on this web-site & the abc/rn i have made my views very clear about GOVERNMENT policy that kills & basic attacks on civil rights.

    as it turns out, i KNEW that what centre-link did was/is illegal [i.e., no choice] BUT what they did not know is that i am totally familiar with psyhO & PSYHo from a FORMal & formAL analysis [plus my mum spent 30+ years in the mental health system – she taught me all she knows & a bit more from death camps in germany & stalin etc…]. of course, my mum is a LOT smarter than i even tho’ she is “only a dumb peasant” [her words].

    i have put my systems & my attack on the public domain with the aim of putting in the FIRST and only PUBLIC patent – the patent is the ONLY system to be created for AI=artificial intelligence, that i call SOFTWIRE or soft*wire, where “*” is any thing i like words, symbols, numbers and so on.

    this email is pART of the softwire patent.

  4. i put the above to some people at the abc/rn.

    thus, given that some of my posts that i given have been CUT, i want to ‘protect’ my i*soul from unfair actions by the people who control the web-site.

    the people most likely to STOP my public patent are ‘incompetent’ nice gals&guys i.e., they KNOW better. since, i DEFINE a system of global rights & wrongs, there is NO WAY ANY THING SHOULD BE CUT – unless, there is some sort of feed-back that indicates i MADE AN ERROR [we all make errrors].

    since abc/rn is governated by un-seen people behind unknowable criteria [even tho a set of criteria exist, it is ALWAYS possible for power players to interpret words in any way they like, WITHOUT ANY ?s]. this is true of psycho people & any number of gurus experts, even science etc… [esp’ the ‘social sciences].

    this is what has happened to OUR PUBLIC broad-media group [j*COWARD has done a great job on killing the oz soul].

    so, selection criteria go to the HEART of rights & wrongs @ a global LEVEL.

    hence andrew, i am a LITTLE peeved by u, even tho i am a very strong supporter of u, democrats & the idea of KEEPING THE BASTARDS HONEST [i.e., cutting the lies by spin merchants of a web of piles in LIE].

    now, if u want to cut my posts, FINE.

    i will find an alternative.

    are u going to CUT any more of my post andrew, if so, u can TELL me on the public domain the criteria u do so.

    from now on, i will keep a copy of ALL my posts, for my records. i do NOT have an issue if u cut my ideas & views if u give a brief reason WHY.

    is this a lot to ask? in my case, given my situation because i agree wuith YOUR public position [and i can DO some thing about it], i think it is fair & reasonable that u or one of u*servants explain u*self.

    as i said when i visited u, u do NOT have to agree [i think u will be wrong=i*confident armed by humble pie*i].

    there is a LOT riding on my global system of fair play – why not ask ANY expert from ANY area? they will FAiL. CHECK?

  5. The blogocracy site on news limited appears to have been shut down. Tim Dunlop posted an article this morning which questioned the defensive editorial in The Australian, in which it claimed not to be pro-Howard, and within an hour Tim’s article was down and now no comments to other articles are being uploaded. This all follows on from Dennis Shanahan’s very defensive article about his own pro-Howard commentary, which was closed for comments within a few minutes of being posted.

    What happened to free speech? And further, what is the point in News Limited denying the anti-Howard sentiment in the community? It will all come out on election day anyway.

  6. I talked with the kids about this because I don’t get MySpace either, and they tell me the most important part of MySpace is the Friends thing. The more friends you have, the more others want to be your friend. The popularity of popularity itself may be one of those depthless features of our times, but if that’s the way things work you’re better off trying to make it work for you than ignoring it.

    If the advice of two teenagers is worth anything, that’s theirs to Senator Bartlett.

    There is merit in John Tracey’s ideas, especially if a couple of dozen young voters can mean the difference at an election.

    Apparently it’s better to be cautious about Facebook. They’re said to keep more personal information in their databases than is necessary and there’s some doubt about what they do, or intend to do, with it.

  7. So,I am back after a week of unpaid farm work in exchange for paying the rent,and the Senator is getting advice on being popular as like a teenager,for God s sake.And the Doctor is begging something from the Senator,I hope his mum has really shown him how to survive.And naturally enough we are all spooked when Uncle Ruperts media government turns a bit sour to criticism,its like they remembered their opinions at Uncles seem overburdened with senility,and they remembered that.Or has the possible death of Zemanek held the Australian journalists back as one less nasty says good bye before his natural life petered out.A day goes by so quickly at the typeface,whereas out amongst the fireweed hours roll into hours ,winter is the time to get your vitamin D quotient so the immune system remains steady.My Space for some ,fireweed for me,and at Toowong the experts cannot find the me relegating them to non this land all to willing to believe in the university educated unchallengeable expert.So anyone just a little bit nasty to climate change as some new reality, has to succumb to the numbing effects of accepting Canberra s University experts or be deemed a rapacious nong in cohoots with all the human predators, unmarked as reptiles from outer space!? They, these nongs will bury us in clean air and a seriousness, that is outside the effects the weather has through its various agents to lift us when we are down, and , sag us into submission in the bloated self importance of our lives… spring and summer.Laugh with me,as I herald in the new days of garlic breath cows and coming up smelling like roses at the tail end !?

  8. thanks gandhi.

    It seems every time I find a new site or internet service, I discover that the owners are allowing Chinese authorities to crack down on dissidents.

    Goodbye Google, goodbye Skype, goodbye Facebook… Soon I’ll have no programs I can use ethically.

  9. Re Viktor at #4

    if u want to cut my posts, FINE.

    i will find an alternative.

    are u going to CUT any more of my post andrew, if so, u can TELL me on the public domain the criteria u do so.

    from now on, i will keep a copy of ALL my posts, for my records. i do NOT have an issue if u cut my ideas & views if u give a brief reason WHY.

    is this a lot to ask? in my case, given my situation because i agree wuith YOUR public position [and i can DO some thing about it], i think it is fair & reasonable that u or one of u*servants explain u*self.

    Viktor – the explanation for any deletion is already given in advance, which is that you would have breached the comments policy of this blog. As a hint, the requirement to be on-topic is key one. I have been applying a VERY liberal interpretation of my comment policy in regard to that matter, but I have to try to also take into account all readers and other commenters.

    You can save all your comments if you want – doesn’t worry me – but you already have an alternative way to get your views out totally uncensored, which is to set up your own blog.

  10. Thanks for the advice Lynette and others.

    I understand the aim of having heaps of MYSpace (and Facebook) friends so one can network more easily – I’m just unsure how beneficial that particular type of networking might be for politicians in Australia, given the way our political system and culture works at the moment. However, maybe this stuff will help change the culture for the better. I’ll give JT’s idea some thought too.

    I also have to say that the notion of any politician having many friends of any type seems fairly improbable to me, but I guess if they’re ‘virtual’ friends, they’re different types of friends anyway.

  11. strategy and tactics for the coquering of myspace……

    I have just been wandering around myspace, something I’ve never done before.
    I believe Lynette2’s kids have hit the nail on the head. (post 6)
    “The more friends you have, the more others want to be your friend.”
    In terms of how would a politician use this insightful critique, it seems to me that the Andy Warhol theory of celebrity is appropriate. That is, celebrity (or a celebrity) is created by association with other celebrities.
    So I guess the tactic would be to pick the coolest people, those with huge amounts of friends and leave a really cool message for them – which will be read by all their friends. If, by the creativity of your message, you can convince the followers of cool that you are indeed cool also, then they will follow you too.
    You must leave a thank you and open invitation to your site to all your friends who have put their adds on your space, so all their friends will see what they have done (a peer indication that it is indeed cool to be a friend of the senator.)
    I notice that Leonard Cohen is one of your (Andrew’s) new friends. No doubt his space is managed by some record company hack,who just searches all the sites for people who mention L.C. and drops the adds in, but none the less, all L.C.’s friends congregate on his space anyway. It would be very cool for an Australian Parliamentarian to say something deep and musicological (or just plain melancholic) along with a personal thank you for putting his add on your site. Then all Leonard,s friends will know that he has deemed you (Andrew) to be cool.

    (consider how the L.C. site has used your’s to promote itself, – same thing. The music industry has figured out how to use myspace)

    The problem is how do you target a particular real world space e.g. The electorate of Qld.?

    also, perhaps each of your (Andrew) issues and campaigns, (e.g. no dams or first peoples first etc. – on your website) could have their own spaces.  They might generate some momentum seperate from the personality “Bartlett”

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