Monday, September 1, 2008

MySpace Muckraking

Yesterday, when rumors began to swirl that all may not be as it seems with GOP VP pick Sarah Palin's family, I said the first thing I'd do if I was investigating the story was to find the MySpace and Facebook pages of daughter Bristol's friends. While you can scrub your family's past to a certain degree, the social graph is too deep to clean completely. If there were secrets to be found, they'd be lurking in teenage exhibitionism. All it would take is someone to look.

Well, someone(s) did.

If you expect it to help clear things up, it only makes things more confusing. But it does show the power of an individual blogger to do an end-run around much larger news organizations and discover some hidden truths about a family that gets more complicated by the day.

Four years ago, that wouldn't have been possible. Four years ago, it wouldn't have even been thinkable.

But today, it's clear that a run for higher office holds any number of web 2.0 pitfalls--including your kid's boyfriends sister's MySpace page. And that you're facing not just oppositional researchers and well-funded news organizations, but also anyone who wants to ask why.