PoliticsOnline.com reports that the Barack Obama campaign has "taken control of the volunteer created MySpace page listed under his name." Apparently 29-year-old Joe Anthony created the MySpace page a few years ago after hearing Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention. Since then, it has unofficially hosted news and information about Obama and his campaign, outside of his presidential campaign communications structure. Negotiations to put Anthony on the official Obama campaign staff apparently were not successful, and MySpace ruled that Obama should have control over his own page.
It is interesting to see how politicians respond to grassroots, supportive initiatives like this. On the one hand, these are free publicity tools that multiply the message to a broad audience. On the other hand, these tools are not directly controlled by the politician’s staff, and thus are subject to possible gaffs and miscommunications that create risks that most politician’s aren’t willing to take.
I reported previously that Obama’s appearance in Second Life in March was not initiated or sponsored by the grassroots in-world "Obama08" network run by SL volunteers. As the presidential race heats up, we will likely see more presidential campaigns step in to curtail and takeover spontaneous grassroots efforts in Second Life, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking spaces.