Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows: MySpace, MTV Unite For Campaign Content
The first Presidential dialogue will feature former Senator John Edwards in the early primary state of New Hampshire on Sept. 27.
The hour-long live events will be telecast on MTV and mtvU, and webcast on MTV.com and MySpaceTV.com. Viewers will be invited to submit questions via MySpaceIM, mobile devices and e-mail, while online viewer reactions will be captured through live polling tools on MTV.com and MySpace.com.
To further drive engagement, MySpace will entice its members to 'befriend' the initiative's official profile, and add it to their 'Top 8' friends list, which will give them the opportunity to possibly score seats at the event itself. Another way for members to see the open dialogue in person is by submitting videos that address personally relevant election issues.
"We are lowering the barriers to entry, setting a high-water mark for direct engagement," said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of MySpace.
MySpace has already been hosting candidates' profiles and an online voter registration drive, and plans to run a general presidential poll on Jan. 1 and 2 of next year. (All this is old hat for MTV, as the network has invested in political programs like "Choose or Lose" since 1992.)
Similarly, YouTube earlier this year launched a You Choose '08 Web page, bringing together the individual video channels created by U.S. presidential hopefuls, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Candidates can post videos addressing particular issues, while users can submit videos and written comments for possible posting.
In July, CNN and YouTube hosted a Democratic candidate debate, which was largely panned for the less-than-hard-hitting questions posed in the user-generated videos. (A similar Republican debate is now slated for Nov. 28.)
To avoid a similar display, MySpace and MTV have promised greater voter/candidate interaction, and fewer canned questions.
Dispelling any notion of MySpace as a playground for children, a full 81% of its members are of voting age, and it claims they are twice as likely as average voters to interact online with candidates.