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Google Reader has my vote

You may have noticed the new feature on the Google homepage. It reads: “New! Read what Barack Obama and John McCain are reading with Google Reader.”

Yes, now you too can see what Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama are reading online!

First thought: shock. McCain is using the Internet?

Second thought: interesting…

According to, the new Google project allows users to see the news stories and blog posts our candidates are reading. This is all launched with the cooperation of the campaign, of course, so I would suspect there is a bit of monitoring and “planning” surrounding which stories get read and when. Let’s face it, everything we see as the voter has been perfectly laid out for us. From what politicians say to what they wear, nothing is supposed to be random. Of course, a few things fall through the cracks… (President Bush’s comment about how “Wall Street got drunk?”)

I was so intrigued I went right over to see what the presidential hopefuls had on their reading lists. In case you haven’t already checked it out, McCain’s reading list includes the Wall Street Journal, Arizona Republic, Drudge Report, ESPN, Forbes and Fox News. Obama’s includes Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, ESPN, Talking Points Memo, Barack Obama Blog, and the Daily Show. There were also journalists’ blogs and news from both campaigns — a lot of interesting reading in one place.

What a great idea, Google. Pull in readership and get more people involved in following, what may prove to be, a history-making election. And as a user, why stop there? Add them as a Facebook friend.

In some ways, the entire campaign trail has made history already–as the most technologically-advanced campaigning ever. Google Reader has developed a feature highlighting both candidates and Obama has started text messaging his supporters.

The New York Times reported “the Obama campaign said that anyone who sent a text message of “VP” to a dedicated phone number would be among the first to learn the identity of his running mate.” Rather than announcing it at a news conference, the Obama campaign will send out the much anticipated running-mate news via text message. Not only that, NY Times also reported that a University of Michigan study done by graduate students found, “that those who received a reminder in a text message one day before an election were 4.2% more likely to vote.”

So maybe over-use of email and text messaging cuts back on human interaction. But I think this new wave of tech-campaigning will reach out to a broader audience, hopefully reminding (inspiring?) people to go out and vote.

At the very least, maybe all these tech upgrades will prevent future punch card voting problems.

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