Online sites become gateway for presidential candidates

By Christy Ross
January 31, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, with the current election in progress, sites such as these are being used to promote the presidential candidates.

These sites have become a gateway for the presidential election. Presidential candidates are logging on and promoting themselves through these three sites.

Almost all of the Democratic and Republican candidates can be found on YouTube discussing each of their personal views on areas like health care, immigration, education and Iraq. In the “YouTube You Choose 2008” video clips viewers have the opportunity to meet the candidates and learn more about their views on many different topics involved with the election.

In a more local scene, associate professor of English and communications, Cathy Yungmann, and her Seminar 300 class last fall were involved in various activities regarding the Republican debate. “I had each student go home and formulate a question for the Republican candidates,” Yungmann said. “Then the students brought their questions into class and we discussed each one before they were recorded.” Each student chose a topic of interest for the election and recorded their own personal questions to the candidates about their views on areas such as debt level of college students, poverty level, war debt, climate change, social security and several others.

During the Republican debate in November, CNN paired up with YouTube. Here, people from around the country could submit a video to a republican candidate of their choice about a question that concerned them. On the night of the debate CNN chose 12 questions from the thousands submitted to ask the candidates. Yungmann and her Seminar 300 class posted their questions on the site in hopes theirs would be chosen.

“I wanted to get the students involved in the election,” Yungmann said. “The idea of using sites like YouTube draws in a younger crowd for this upcoming election.”

Brandon Linker, a freshman at Cabrini College works closely with an “underground” online drafting campaign to bring the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg into the presidential election. “My working experience for the drafting committee is to collect signatures on the petition that is updated and sent to Mayor Bloomberg each month,” Linker said in an e-mail. ?

Sites like YouTube or these online petitions are helping the candidates reach more audiences by networking through them. By posting these videos it is a possibility that these videos could be viewed by one of the candidates.

The candidates are not the only ones using these sites to help boost their electoral votes. YouTube, MySpace and Facebook users from many different states are logging on day after day to post their personal videos to the candidates, update their blogs about the election or even become a “friend” to one of them to show their support.

These sites have allowed the candidates to take a different approach with this upcoming election. Aside from the debates that we see on television to help with the votes, they now can continue their debate through one of these sites. This idea of networking through these sites is a different approach that we haven’t seen yet in the previous elections. It could potentially be a new way for the candidates to score some extra votes.

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Christy Ross

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