Social-networking site MySpace has launched a politics channel called Impact, which highlights political candidates, offers opinions on current news topics, and has videos on issues such as global warming and poverty.
Impact's page (located at www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=impact) is similar to other portals, with several different sections that bring together a news feed, interactive content, and links to other political sites.
MySpace is considered the largest network of its kind, and attracted about 90 million worldwide users in December, according to comScore MediaMetrix.
The page is designed to bring together users, political community groups, candidates, and nonprofit organizations. The channel even has job postings related to social organizing work.
The most prominent part of the new MySpace section is devoted to the presidential race, with both Republicans and Democrats represented equally. One person is highlighted at the top of the section, but that candidate changes with every page refresh.
Users can click on a candidate's image to learn more about his or her positions on key issues, but those pages still keep the look of a personal MySpace page.
For example, Mitt Romney's page displays videos of his appearances, lists friends -- as of this writing, Romney has 1,762 pals -- and has a comments section leaning heavily toward notes like "atta boy, Mitt!"
In terms of popularity, Barack Obama is far and away the leader in terms of friends, with over 73,000 at this point. Hillary Clinton is a distant second, with about 2,500 friends.
Nestled just next to the presidential lineup is a voter registration section, encouraging users to sign up for voting, and providing a link to voting requirements by state.
New Play for MySpace
The transition into providing more content rather than simply being a user-driven site is not a surprising move for MySpace, noted Jupiter Research analyst David Card.
"We've been predicting for some time that MySpace is turning itself into a portal," he said. "As its audience has broadened, its agenda has broadened as well, and it's starting to add more sections within the site, including more features."
It is a logical progression for MySpace to expand its content and service offerings in an attempt to win new users, and keep current users on the site for longer periods, he added.
However, the inclusion of a political section is a less anticipated move because it makes more sense to include entertainment-related content, Card said.
"It's obvious why they beefed up video and comedy and books, because those draw a big audience," he noted. "Politics seems more likely to draw smaller pockets of people. But overall, it's a smart play for them to expand in this way."