Friday, March 30, 2007

Why We Are Time Magazine's Person of the Year

While the idea of "You" being Time Magazine's "person of the year" (received not a dime from it) is laughable, if not comedic, the other day marked a fine example of why "We" have earned that title.

John McCain's Myspace page - I should note here that yes, the 70 year old senator who hates bloggers has a myspace page - was "hacked" the other day, with a blurb placed under his photo that said:

"Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage... particularly marriage between passionate females."

While a 70 year old man enjoying the idea of lesbians is not surprising, nor is the idea of someone hacking into John McCain's myspace a tremendous shock, the real story is how the message got on his myspace page at all. Contrary to what was announced in the media, John McCain's myspace page was not hacked at all. What had in fact occurred was that the people who programmed his profile broke one of the most common rules of internet etiquette or "netiquette." The programmers (perhaps John McCain himself? Not likely) stole the image from without either giving him credit (which, in general, is all the website owner asks) or hosting it on his own server. So Mike, from Newsvine, changed the file and it showed up on John Mccain's web page.

"Numerous people have written me over the last few weeks to tell me that McCain has been using my code, but up until I realized he was pulling images from my server, I didn't really care. A lot of celebrities including Ryan "Van Wilder" Reynolds and the beautiful Nelly Furtado use my code and I'm totally cool with it.

But then I read the article in today's Newsweek about how politicians are all setting up MySpace pages in order to "connect" with younger audiences. McCain's MySpace page is listed, as are the pages from several other candidates. I think the idea of politicians setting up MySpace pages and pretending to actually use them is a bit disingenuous...

So, the only thing necessary to effectively commandeer McCain's page with my own messaging was to simply replace my own sample image on my server with a newly created sample on my server. No server but my own was touched and no laws were broken.

Abortion? The Iraq War? Probably too heavy to joke about. Gay marriage seemed like a more of a non-lethal subject to center the prank around."

Not long ago, McCain tried to get a bill passed that would make bloggers liable for the comments on their page. It seems the internet has not been friendly to the "Straight Talk" candidate. In the words of Mike from Newsvine:

So with a few minutes in Photoshop and a quick FTP, a new John McCain was born...

...and The Straight-Talk Express isn't just for straight people anymore.

Click here for more on the story.


EQ said...

Yay! You got the story right when so many others didn't. Good job. :)

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