Laura Oppenheimer
Laura Oppenheimer
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Networking McCain to the Whitehouse

With the presidential election just a day away, there’s no time like the present to get involved. If Sen. John McCain is your candidate of choice, then join John McCain 2008 to help network him and Sarah Palin all the way to Washington.

The more than 300 members are using the network to connect with McCain-Palin supporters with similar interests. There are groups for veterans and those who are intent on helping the GOP pick up those crucial battleground states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Not surprisingly, the economic issues at hand — and which candidate might best resolve them — dominate the forum section. To demonstrate the new places concerned citizens are getting their news and opinions, members have used the forum to publish op-eds about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or spread the word about McCain’s life story.

Members are active bloggers as well, filling up the network’s blog section with hundreds of posts. And even though there are just days left until Election Day, members are using the blog to remind fellow members how much impact they can still have or discuss McCain’s plan to revive the American economy.

Online elephants can make themselves heard by joining the John McCain 2008 network and getting the word out about their favorite candidate. As part of today’s political series, we spoke with the creator of the John McCain 2008 network. Check out the full interview after the jump.

Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Bill Keeshen, from Northern California.

What made you decide to create this network?
I feel it is more participatory than traditional social networks … I set up the LinkedIn sites for the campaign, but found it a bit one-way.

What’s its goal or purpose?
To create a an environment where McCain supporters can share their thoughts without the filters of traditional media.

Describe the most surprising thing that has happened on the network.
The collection of hundreds of people who would otherwise never meet is fascinating. Hearing new ideas and “Joe Six Packs” gives you an appreciation of the democratic underpinnings behind the Ning environment.

What makes the Ning platform well-suited for political networks?
Again, it is the ultimate in democratization. Everyone contributes.

How has your network allowed your members to rally and connect in ways that wouldn’t be possible without the network?
Sharing of ideas, how to get involved, link up to other web resources.

How can political movements, causes and candidates better use technology and the Internet?
Donation widgets would be useful, but they would also have to provide auditing of who is donating and how much.

Any advice for aspiring Network Creators who want to use Ning for a political cause?
Get in touch with their local communications office to augment the content with breaking news.  Use the RSS feed from the campaign. Monitor and bring others on board to monitor against nefarious contributors.

What will happen to the network after Election Day?
Well, we have a re-election coming up in 2012!!!