US presidential candidate Senator John McCain, whose campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its effort to better embrace Web 2.0 tools, this week relaunched the McCainSpace social network.
The newly designed site provides a hub for supporters to post blogs, add comments to forums and post videos related to McCain's run for the presidency. McCain himself welcomes users to the site in an online video where he explains the importance of the Internet in this election cycle.
"Social networking has given people from every corner of the world the ability to connect and share ideas," McCain notes in the video. "Sign up, check back every day, and meet up with other supporters just like you."
Reaction to the redesigned social network was mixed. Nick O'Neill, a blogger for Social Times, for example, noted that while McCain has taken some jabs in the press for his lack of Internet savvy, the updated social network shows that his campaign has a strong understanding of the new technologies.
"The new portal provides a much needed upgrade to what previously existed," O'Neill noted. "As the campaign heats up, it appears that both candidates are taking it to the Web. While it's one area that Obama used to dominate, it appears that the McCain campaign is trying to shake things up a little. It will definitely be interesting to watch how the next few months play out."
However, TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld questioned why both presidential campaigns feel like they need to create separate social networks with MySpace and Facebook available for their use.
"The site is aimed at 'Generation08,' presumably the young'uns that the campaign is having a hard time reaching," he added. "The new McCainSpace design itself is functional enough, giving McCain supporters a central place to discuss election issues via blogs, forums, videos, and photos. But I'm not sure who the site is supposed to appeal to other than lonely Young Republicans who don't have any friends on Facebook."