Thursday, November 15, 2007

Vote or Get Roundhouse Kicked in the Face

Chuck Norris, of Walker, Texas Ranger fame as well as the inspiration for the popular internet phenomenon Chuck Norris Facts, recently sent out an e-mail to supporters of Republican candidate Mike Huckabee asking for - nay, demanding - campaign contributions for Huckabee.

The email also included several "Huckabee Facts." Probably something along the lines of "Mike Huckabee has two speeds: Walk, and cut taxes." Or "When Democrats go to sleep every night, they check their closets for Mike Huckabee."

Maybe that one Chuck Norris fact is actually true: "Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Web Pays Attention to Long-Shots

You no longer have to be a front-runner to get people to notice you. Long-shot candidates are making creative use of the web, not in spite of the fact that they're long-shots, but because of it.

In Democrat Chris Dodd's web site's coverage of the Presidential debates, he includes the "Talk Clock": a meter that measures how often candidates got to talk during debates, and the results are disproportionate.

Meanwhile, Republican Tom Tancredo (who?) has been causing quite a stir on blogs and in news stories with a new fear-mongering ad, intended for cable stations, that converges illegal immigration and terrorism:

This miles-over-the-top ad seems like a cry for attention from a long-shot candidate. Because of the web, though, Tancredo certainly got the attention he wanted with this ad.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ads In Unlikely Places

The lesson learned here is to be careful where you place your internet ads. The New York Times discovered that conservative, anti-gay-marriage Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has unintentionally been putting advertisements on Oh, the irony.

Romney's ads have also shown up on, a site for fan-written stories based on popular TV shows, books, and movies. Fanfiction notoriously includes gay relationships, sexual promiscuity, and other things Romney would disapprove of. So next time you're reading a fanfiction about the pornographic adventures of Harry Potter, remember to vote for Mitt Romney!

The newness of internet advertising seems to be what's to blame for this blunder. Though the web is huge now, savvy political advertising on it still has to catch up. As the article points out, it's easy to lose control of your audience on the internet.

And I can only imagine the bizarre presence of Romney's ad on the website:

Money Bomb Detonated, Millions Raised

How could a candidate who's currently polling at 2.2% raise over $4.2 million in one day? Simple: the internet.

I'm talking about Ron Paul, who we already know is an internet superstar. But the big news this week is that his internet donation campaign, Remember the 5th of November, raised $4.2 million on Guy Fawkes Day, surpassing any one-day Republican donations so far. The aim of the 5th of November was to get supporters to donate at least $100 each, and clearly, it adds up.

Some attribute this to Paul's geek appeal among libertarians. But as Paul spokesman Jesse Benton noted, this fundraiser had been "building up virally" in chat rooms and throughout the internet.

Paul's passionate supporters have another "money bomb" set to go off on November 11th, Veteran's Day, as well as one commemorating the Boston Tea Party on December 16th, known as the Ron Paul Tea Party.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Viral Video Catches Edwards' Attention

Before the dawn of YouTube and "viral videos," this video that a University of North Carolina journalism student, Carla Babb, made for an MTV contest and posted online probably wouldn't have drawn this much attention. Take a look:

When this was posted on YouTube last week, Babb's professor C. A. Tuggle said, as quoted in this New York Times article, he quickly received a call from officials in Edwards' campaign complaining about the video and asking that it be taken down.

Edwards' officials say they never made this demand. Regardless, the commotion made over the video has only made it more popular online. As Tuggle put it in this CNN report, "they didn't want us to put it out there... now it's everywhere." This speaks to the way the internet can make the concerns of everyday citizens more visible to politicians.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

1.2 Million Refrigerator Boxes for Stephen Colbert

In my last post, I talked about comedian Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report's run for the Presidency. The big news over the weekend was that his Facebook group, 1,000,000 Strong For Stephen T Colbert, actually reached a million members (one of which is me) - a feat no serious Presidential candidate has been able to achieve, as I noticed here.

Colbert commented on this, saying, "it took only 8 days for my group to triple the 400,000 members in Obama's group, and and only 8 seconds to triple the number of members in Gravel's group, One Refrigerator Box for Mike Gravel."

This New York Times article quotes a Facebook spokeswoman who says that Colbert's group was so popular it overloaded Facebook's servers for a brief period. The article's author, Brian Stelter, remarks that this is "the kind of grassroots support that the established candidates can only dream of."

And, speaking as a member of Colbert's "one million strong" group but no others, Stephen Colbert is the type of candidate us Facebookers can only dream of.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Online Crusade for Truthiness

Comedian Stephen Colbert no longer just plays a political pundit on TV; he's also running for President - though only on the South Carolina primary ballot. And he's already polling over 2% among Democrats. Despite his claim that Doritos is the main sponsor of his campaign coverage, I don't think that his campaign would be possible without the internet.

The Colbert '08 site was set up to mobilize his voters as soon as his candidacy was announced. The Colbert Report website, No Fact Zone, has a collection of blog posts that cover his Presidential run, as well as a trove of links to articles and other media about this event.

The internet also allows his fans to discuss his Presidential run and express their opinions. Fans all across the country are able to share information with each other about the rules and procedures involved with South Carolina primaries. There are also debates on blog communities over just how far he will, or should, take his Presidential campaign.