So, over the past few days everybody’s been abuzz about Sarah Palin, and more specifically alterations made to a wikipedia entry on the new GOP vice presidential nominee. A whole bunch of changes were made to the page by a user with probable connections to the campaign right before the announcement that the Alaskan Governor would be John McCain’s choice for running mate. Or, maybe it was Palin herself.
Then again, maybe it was Tina Fey….
TechPresident lamented the lack of speed with which the McCain camp got search ads up and links to pages with relevant biographical info on the candidate. Quite possibly, the news may not have been made privy to McCain’s search ad folks soon enough to make that happen as rapidly as it could have. Now a search on “Sarah Palin” or “Palin” brings up an ad reading, “Get The Facts on Governor Sarah Palin. John McCain’s VP Choice!” It goes to a Palin-centric page.
Stories in the Washington Post and NY Times also analyze the wiki situation. The Times report notes, “In modern politics, where the struggle is to ‘define’ yourself before your opponent ‘defines’ you, Wikipedia has become an important part of political strategy. When news breaks, and people plug a name into a search engine to find out more, invariably Wikipedia is the first result they click through to; it is where first impressions are made.”
That pretty much hits the nail on the head; there’s not a heck of a lot more to say than that, really. But now that political observers will be watching wiki entries of all likely VP nominees for changes, in four years campaigns may have to alter all of them to the same degree just to throw the bloodhounds off the trail.
As for the coverage this seemingly insignificant online occurrence is getting, I guess we can expect every single use of every single Web application (candidates on Facebook, Obama’s VP text announcement, Palin twittering, etc.) to be over-analyzed by just about everybody – except the majority of voters.
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