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Twitter Update: Edwards Leads -- Obama and Clinton Follow

BY Lynne d Johnson | Wednesday, March 21 2007

Twitter became very popular the past couple of weeks, as all of the A-List bloggers, and folks attending SXSW in Austin started signing up and inviting all of their friends. Because of this, Twitter has proven itself as a great means by which candidates can make connections with potential voters.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, John Edwards, and his Web savvy team have already laid a foundation there. At the time, Edwards had only 68 Twitter friends, but now, just two weeks later, he has made 1389 Friends and has made 18 updates informing his friends of his activity, such as:

"Great event at Benedict College, Columbia SC today. Lots of energy. Headed to Iowa tonight."

If this isn't the neatest tool for updating the public of what's happening on your campaign trail, I don't know what is. Though it still doesn't appear that other candidates have found a need to use the service as of yet. For instance Barack Obama has a page, but there are no updates and no friends, only followers--people waiting for something to happen. And Hillary Clinton also has a page, with no friends, or updates, or even followers. In fact, it's tricky to determine whether anyone in either of those camps even created these Twitter spaces for the candidates.

Perhaps Twitter has not caught on in the MSM enough for the candidates to think it matters. And though, the Wall Street Journal has written about Twittering, it's not like the company is owned by Rupert Murdoch or Google, who own MySpace and YouTube respectively. As you've read at techPresident and elsewhere, the candidates have all done quite a bit of campaigning in these Web spaces. But then again, Second Life isn't backed by heavy cash, and the candidates, or at least their supporters, find it necessary to set up shop there. So what's the deal with Twitter?

Though a year old, it's still too new and it's uncertain how many people are actually engaged in the community, unlike MySpace, YouTube, and SL. There's hard data to prove those services as viable options for campaigning. But still...

It's the early adopter crowd, the influential bloggers, and ones who pick up on sites like Twitter early, who will have the most impact on what happens with this campaign, from the perspective of swinging the Web vote.

As I said before, I'll keep watching Twitter and look out for any other fringe Web 2.0 services to see how the 2008 campaign is playing out in those spaces.