Monday, September 1, 2008

Beyond the Palin on the Wikipedia

Official portrait of Governor Sarah Palin with white editorial changes marked, including Add flag pin!BoingBoing reports (via NPR's All Things Considered -- I missed the report, guess I was at the State Fair at the time) that a few hours before John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, someone edited Palin's entry on the Wikipedia to make it more favorable to her.

Some of the changes were puffery (suddenly she became "a politician of eye-popping integrity"), while others downplayed her history as a beauty queen or the problems that have been reported about her in-law the state trooper.

According to the Washington Post, on Thursday, August 28, Palin's entry was updated at least 68 times, with at least an additional 54 changes made to her entry over the preceding five days.

Also according to the Post:

[A company named] Cyveilliance normally trawls the Internet for data on behalf of clients seeking open source information in advance of a corporate acquisition, an important executive hire, or brand awareness. For example, an executive updating his Wikipedia page or resume on may be an indication of that person's plans to change jobs, or even that the company is in financial trouble.

[Cyveilliance] decided to monitor the veep picks on a lark to test the applicability of its open source methods in the sphere of politics. In addition to the Wiki pages, the company monitored chatter on other Internet sites that discussed the observations, movements and locations of potential VP candidates.
This reminds me of the way the number of bloggers getting press credentials at the political conventions went from four in 2004 to two-hundred in 2008 -- I guess this new method of forecasting political decision-making will be old hat by 2012.

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