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Daily Digest: The Barocket Is Back!

BY Joshua Levy | Monday, January 7 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • While we were all dousing ourselves in the rhetoric of change following Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee’s victories in last week’s Iowa caucuses, Wyoming had a GOP caucus! Online presence tracker Elaine Young went to the candidates’ sites to what, if any, mention they’d made of the event. Mitt Romney won eight of Wymoning’s twelve delegates, which was mentioned on the Five Brothers blog but only showed up as an item in the newsfeed on his NH-focused homepage. Fred Thompson won three delegates and Duncan Hunter won one, but there was no mention of this on either of their sites. Be honest now: how many of you even knew there was a Wyoming caucus?

  • What struck me — and probably most observers of the online campaign — last Wednesday was how closely the victors of Iowa’s caucuses mirrored the most popular candidates online (with the exception of Ron Paul). Barack Obama is by far the most popular candidate on Facebook and other social sites and Mike Huckabee has been praised on this site and elsewhere for his embrace of the blogosphere. We may be at a turning point in which online support actually can translate into votes.

  • According to our charts, Obama is seriously taking off online. Since Iowa, his YouTube views have skyrocketed, his Facebook friends have been increasing, his Eventful demands have risen, and his Hitwise traffic share has gone up.

    [Obama on YouTube (in yellow) and Obama on Facebook (in turquoise)]

    To a lesser degree, the same has happened with Huckabee and Ron Paul. The question remains, do these numbers simply correspond to voter interest or are they previewing trends before they surface in the mainstream?

  • We weren’t super-impressed by Facebook’s role in Saturday’s back-to-back Republican and Democratic debates, but it did give users a chance to blast messages in support of candidates, or to groan when, say, John Edwards mentioned his father was a mill worker. Wired’s Sarah Lai Stirland has more.
  • Ron Paul supporters upset over his exclusion from yesterday's Fox-sponsored Republican debate in New Hampshire staged an online protest over the weekend. As CNET's Declan McClullah notes, Paul received 10 percent of the vote in last week's Iowa caucus, far ahead of Rudy Giuliani's 3.5%, and he's polling ahead of Fred Thompson in New Hampshire. So why was he shut out? Nice one, Fox.

  • The crew from the citizen journalism/video site The Uptake was in Iowa last week, and they've posted a video on how a citizen video team makes the news. A nice piece of meta-journalism, though I'm sometimes dismayed at how often citizen journalists talk about their own process, a subject that can't be that interesting for outsiders.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Joe Garofoli describes Obama and Huckabee’s victories as a moment when the youth vote finally turned out in favor of candidate, rather than to vote against one (as with Bush in 2004). He directly connects the turnout to a campaign’s ability to harness online popularity, writing that “The most successful campaigns understand that it’s not enough for their candidate to have a lot of Facebook groups linked to their name; the campaign has to connect with those supporters online and get them to do real-world work.”

In Case You Missed It…

Colin Delany writes that John Edwards has raised $1 million online since the Iowa caucuses, which is the fastest it has raised that amount since the campaign began.

After watching the Iowa returns and reading blog and press accounts, Fred Stutzman is starting to see a potential third way for social network technology, hinging on the fact that social networks work best when they provide excuses for interaction.

The first U.S. presidential caucus of 2008 is over and it was full of surprises. After the first inning, we have an unexpected lead, thanks to Mike Huckabee connecting to intact networks that had a long history together, while Mitt Romney connected to individual voters — one at a time. Valdis Krebs writes that while we have heard that “all politics are local”, now we also find out that “all politics are social”.

After sneering at the Facebook vote, the Clinton campaign has quietly unveiled a new effort to engage young voters directly in conversation online, reports Micah Sifry.

In Saturday night’s back-to-back Republican and Democratic Facebook/ABC debates in New Hampshire, the stakes were high, the chairs were comfy, and Facebook was jammin’. Too bad the Facebook part did little to affect the debate.

Who was the big loser in the Iowa caucuses? It wasn’t Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton, and it certainly wasn’t Ron Paul. Colin Delany thinks the big loser was political punditry.

Micah writes about a powerful voice from the blogosphere that explains just how historic Barack Obama’s win in Iowa is…and shares the pain of America’s violent racial history.

On New Year’s Day a group of 240 Paul supporters gathered on Whisperwind and held a march on Azeroth. Have no idea what we’re talking about? More than two hundred World of Warcraft players do.