Way back on 29th Jan in a blog post called ‘SecondLife shows Government a new way’ – seems an awful long time ago, but then that’s the rate of change we are seeing these days – I speculated that SL might just become a new ‘town square’ and open up a new opportunity for democratic gatherings to listen to, and question politicians. There are some clear lessons in this for business too, in what can and cannot be one, and how it can back fire in this new area.

Sadly it all seems to be going wrong as the idea that technology literacy is a normal personal skill, like reading and writing, therefore something to be used, or abused, by politicians seems to have been seized on in the USA. The candidates for the 2008 presidential race all seem to have CTOs and have directed their focus into technology driven campaigns.
Social, or may be social-political, networks are appearing with candidates not only creating their profiles on www.myspace.com but also starting their own networks such as http://my.barackobama.com/ . The target group is obviously a younger age group, and the messaging is clearly designed to enlist them on their own terms. This could be good, if only the behaviour had stayed in the rules of social networking, but it hasn’t been the case. Instead the trend is turning towards personal attacking emails and videos. There is a lesson here for advertisers in this new world.
www.youtube.com is becoming a favourite tool in this and a week or two back ‘Hillary 1984’ was posted – it’s gone now – a slick mix of Hillary Clinton shots mixed with the classic Apple Commercial of the ominous ‘Big Brother’ society. The creator said this was; ‘not the first, nor the last, citizen created ad’. Candidate Mitt Romney has posted 66 videos so far on YouTube, and others are not far behind.
Sadly it is said by media experts that new forms are first adopted by pornography and then by politicians leading to content regulation before settling down to becoming the norm. I hope we are nearly at the point of regulation.