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Email Tries to Undermine Social Networking in Politics

As the 2008 presidential primaries come to a close, the remaining candidates' staffers are making a mad rush to expand their social networking presence.  Any medium to reach voters who were previously an afterthought in the last election has become the mantra amongst Clinton and Obama supporters in a tight Democratic primary.  However no matter how much effort goes into harnessing the power of social networking in the name of politics, email is right around the corner as an opposition's counter-measure to undermine such efforts.

One of the more popular smear campaigns this election has come in the form of an email claiming that Barak Obama is a Muslim.  This viral email attempted to establish a link of faith between Barak Obama and his paternal ancestry.  It was so successful that it garnered mainstream media attention forcing the up and coming presidential candidate to fight back and clarify false accusations.  Another email aimed at African American voters claimed to be from NAACP Chairman Julian Bond entitled "10 Reasons Not to Vote for Hillary Clinton."  The Obama campaign picked up on the hoax's momentum posting the email on the candidate's website only to quickly remove it when alerted to its true origin.

Email smear tactics are nothing new in politics but in this election it sheds light on the staying power email has as a viral tool.  As other Internet mediums such as social networking have gained popularity over the past couple of years, email marketers are failing to recognize email as a viable social medium.  This is not to say that one should ignore the social networking revolution but to find new ways to leverage the two mediums in tandem to create the ultimate viral marketing tool.

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