Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ask the Voters

Yesterday, "Senator Barack Obama" asked the members of a question: "How can the next president better help small business and entrepreneurs thrive?" (I put the Senator's name in quotes because you know and I know, that more than likely, it was one of Senator Obama's aides, rather than the Senator himself, who posed the question, and that it will aides and campaign staffers who read the answers - if anyone reads them at all.)

The question has generated a lot of buzz. For a while, there were more than 100 new answers every hour, and as of now, more than 1,400 people have weighed in. Many of them, it seems, are free-marketeers - reducing the taxes that small businesses have to pay, relaxing or eliminating regulations, and exempting them from family leave and other employee-support programs were common responses. There are other ideas, just enough to make you wonder why you don't see more of them.

Senator Obama's campaign seems to be the only one with a real presence on LinkedIn. There are a couple of other current presidential candidates who have public profiles I was able to find (Dennis Kucinich and Mike Huckabee), but most are absent, keeping their profiles private, or otherwise can't be located. But, this being politics, the other candidates are certainly watching this, and if Senator Obama is able to use LinkedIn to build a network of potential voters (and perhaps more importantly, potential donors), other campaigns will move to establish a presence there. But I would be surprised if at least one of the leading Republican candidates doesn't show up in the next several weeks to few months. As noted, many of the people who answered the Senator's question seemed to be right-leaning in their politics (one even called for an end to abortions in his answer), so I'd expect that the GOP would see LinkedIn's membership as trending more their way, and would want to make contact.

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