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Now that he's elected, Barack Obama's online social networking vanishes

November 26, 2008 |  4:00 pm

At some point in your virtual travels around online comment boards, you may have seen someone utter the phrase, "You win the Internet."

Often a sarcastic quip, it's used as a commendation for doing something particularly well on the Web -- whether it be an amusing remark, a well-made website or an outstanding contribution.

Without derision, I would like to congratulate the president-elect: You, sir, won the Internet.

Of course, I'm not the first to notice such an achievement. Throughout his campaign, Barack Obama's crowd was lauded for its extraordinary (for a politician) use of well-designed websites and participation in social media dens, like MySpace, Facebook and Digg, to leverage an increasingly tech-savvy populace of voters.

Barack Obama Blackberry

Blogs discussed "Obama's social media advantage" -- not a huge shocker considering his opponent, Sen. John McCain, with his tortured fingers, was a self-confessed computer illiterate.

The Times Technology Blog published a post titled "Obama, the first social media president." Marketing professionals took notice, creating websites like TechPresident and Barack 2.0, to track Obama's use of social media.

Barring maybe long-shot Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul, Obama's campaign put together the most plugged-in presidential run of any candidate in history. He Twittered his heart out; he was LinkedIn; it was Eventful.

And then election day rolled around, and the flame began to Flickr.

Now, the profiles have gone dark. The houses are....

still there, but nobody seems to be home. Hello?

Obama's 137,573 followers on Twitter haven't heard a peep since his "thanks" the day after the election. (BTW, you can get Ticket tweets by registering here.)

His 1 million MySpace friends haven't gotten a blog update since Nov. 5 (though, according to his page, he last logged in to his profile today).

Obama's 3 million Facebook supporters continue to write on his Wall, without reciprocation. None.

He hasn't been on Digg since he was elected, despite the luxury that one out of every four links he submits to the site lands on the homepage (each front page story nets tens of thousands of hits).

The press wrote about how Obama "got" technology, how he engaged young people. Were they really engaged, or were they being merely marketed?

"Obama has authored the most successful Internet marketing campaign ever," Brent Leary writes on a Barack 2.0 blog post. "He and his campaign have gone from the longest of longshots, to the presidency in less than two years. And his campaign's embrace of technology has played a key role in spreading his message."

To be fair, Obama hasn't disappeared entirely. His blog at is still updated regularly. He's posting videos on YouTube just about every week, which helps him build his first impressions, as The Ticket noted here earlier today.

Obama's still around. But he's narrowed his number of hangouts.

There's no telling whether this is just a lull. Maybe he'll kick it back into overdrive once he's in office. (After all, he's hoping to be the first president with a computer in the Oval Office.)

We might see him submitting White House press releases to Digg, Twittering about his daily luncheons and uploading photos of the new dog to Flickr.

But for now, it's all quiet on the social front.

-- Mark Milian

Speaking of plugged-in, get automatic alerts of each Ticket item as Obama constructs his new administration by registering here.

Photo credit: Associated Press