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Six Degrees of Dean

Dean's campaign seems to be learning to take advantage of social networking. Last night's meetup included a directive from the official campaign to "bring a friend" to the meeting on November 5th. Coincidentally, I read "Emergence" this week; it seems as though the campaign is taking a leaf from emergent network theory to build a base of voters.

There's currently more than 100,000 people (120,167, right now) participating in the Meetup system; by asking each of them to bring a friend to the next meeting, there's huge potential for growth. If 15% of the people bring one friend to each meetup, each month, the population of the meetup could more than double. If 30% bring one friend, the population reaches close to 500,000 people. If 50% bring one friend, the population grows to a million people in six months, in meetup alone.

Maciej Ceglowski's girlfriend had dinner with Dean earlier this week, and seems to be heavily involved in Meetup. Maciej's been working with directed networks and search technology; it's eerie that a week later, Dean's campaign introduced activities evidencing a clear knowledge of network theory.

One of the videos shown at the meeting was Dean with a group of GenDean members, asking them to get people involved to vote; not for him, necessarily, but simply to get them on the rolls and in the booths.

First he stumps for participation, then he taps the Internet with meetup, and now he taps social networks. Dean's tapping the power of people to take action, when guided; at this rate of growth, he could very well develop a force to contend with the entrenched lobbyists, businesses, and religious conservatives.

Comments

That would explain why I 'lost' six hours that night. Woke up lying in a field with one hell of a headache, all I can remember is a bright light...

:-)

My girlfriend scored the dinner slot because our landlady's husband took ill - they had made a contribution, and got an invitation. K says that it was an 'in-and-out' event for Dean, so no one had a chance to talk to him very much. But just about the next day, I found out another friend of mine is heavily involved in the Dean campaign in Philadelphia. So the contagion seems to be spreading.

I suspect Howard Dean remembers how the McCain campaign caught fire back in the 2000 primaries - he was the first real candidate to make use of the Internet, and plugged into a huge grass roots effort, destroying Bush in the N.H. primary. There's a lot about Dean's campaign that suggests he paid attention to John McCain.

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