Home Is That Barack Obama in Your FriendFeed?

Is That Barack Obama in Your FriendFeed?

There’s no denying that the campaign of Barack Obama has embraced social networking and new media like no campaign in history. Obama has accounts on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg, Flickr — even on niche social networks AsianAve, MiGente, and Faithbase. And Obama, or someone in his campaign, actually uses the accounts and keeps them up-to-date. Could it be that likely Democratic nominee for president is actually using bleeding edge, early adopter-friendly lifestream aggregator FriendFeed? Actually, uh, no. That’s not him.

The “Obama” account on FriendFeed is following some of the biggest tech movers and shakers — including our own Marshall Kirkpatrick, but according to Micah Sifry at TechPresident, who is also being followed, that’s not actually Obama. “Someone is ‘squatting’ on the Obama name on Friendfeed, apparently–though they don’t appear to be using it in a malicious way,” says Sifry via a source in the Obama campaign.

Who would do such a thing? It would appear to be conservative political blogger Patrick Ruffini, who last month wrote that he was squatting on both the Obama and McCain names on names via a Twitter update. Last night he cheekily wondered who the mystery squatter could be.

Ruffini is one of the most web-savvy people in politics (with people like him on the right, it is a wonder that they haven’t yet figured out how to tap into the power of the web the way Obama or massive groups like MoveOn.org and blogs like HuffingtonPost have). During the Iowa caucuses earlier this year, Ruffini was the first to know about Obama’s surprising victory. How? An ingenious use of Twitter. Ruffini used Facebook to recruit caucus goers and then had them tweet results from inside the caucus sites to a special Twitter feed that he watched for trends.

“Twitter is revolutionizing newsgathering and real citizen journalism. The crowd will know about it before the media knows about it,” Ruffini told PBS MediaShift in March — that’s a sentiment we’ve echoed on RWW in the past. So it’s not surprising that he would embrace FriendFeed as a way to easily aggregate all the data points from the various campaigns. With such an unprecedented use of social media going on during this election cycle, Ruffini’s FriendFeed accounts will alert him of new media from the campaigns as soon as it’s out there. Smart.

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