obama releases first political facebook application

Facebook now has an open API, which means that anyone can build a small application that a Facebook user can add to their Facebook interface and that uses their connections. TechPresident reports that Barack Obama is the first politician to make use of this in their Obama application, so of course I signed up to see how it works. And sure, I support Obama, I think – my coming in-laws (only eight days till the wedding!) are Chicago Democrats, and Obama’s done a good job as Senator for Illinois for years. My coming brother-in-law even had him as a law school professor. So I’ve heard a lot of good things about Obama, though admittedly I’m neither American nor extremely well-versed in US politics. I mean, I haven’t even considered, say, John Edwards’ politics, I’ve just decided I want a woman or an African American as president of the United States. But anyway, that’s good enough reason to try out the first political Facebook application, don’t ya think?

When I signed up, this is what Facebook said:

add Obama?Add friends in early states

So immediately it leverages the main currency of Facebook: your friends. I had no idea I had a friend in an early state – turns out Michael Faris, whom I know from his blog Farism, is in an early state. [Note for non-Americans: early states are the first states to vote in the primaries, where everyone registered as a Democrat gets to vote about whether Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards or someone else gets to be the Democrat’s presidential candidate. And the same for the Republicans. The early states pretty much decide the whole primaries as other tend to follow their lead.] Poor Michael, I bet he’ll be getting lots of nagging comments from people who want him to vote Obama…

My friend in an early state

There’s a prewritten message for me that’s all ready to go if I click the “Message Michael about Obama” button:


Since you’re from Iowa, you’re probably hearing a lot about the presidential race these days. But I just wanted to tell you how much I support Barack Obama. You should take a second to check out the Iowa campaign’s website: http://iowa.barackobama.com

I also just added the Obama application to my Facebook profile. If you want, you can add it to your profile too by clicking here: http://facebook.barackobama.com

Talk to you soon,


What else does the application do? Well, my friends will all see that I added “Obama”. I see Obama added to my “Applications” menu, and if I click that link, I get a page telling me about my one friend in an early state and showing recent news and videos from the campaign.And reading about it, it looks as though it might automatically post news about Obama to my profile, which all my friends would then see in their feeds from all their friends.

I’m going to leave the application in for a few days to see what it does before maybe removing it. It’s an interesting concept – and it’ll be interesting to see whether this works because it’s first and therefore cool. I’m thinking that Facebook could easily become sort of littered by way too many such applications.

25. May 2007 by Jill

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