Wozniak uses Web to woo voters

He was sight to behold making his entrance onboard a Segway in his black pants and shirt ensemble accented with a feathery pink boa.

The portly but agile Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc, then surprised everyone including himself with as he and professional dancing partner Karina Smirnoff sashayed across the set of Dancing with the Stars.

Watch him on VIDEO.

Although the performance ended to encouraging approval of the studio audience, the judges’ reactions were anything but:

“Overall it was a disaster,” said judge Len Goodman.

“I don’t know if it was hilarious or delirious,” added another judge, Bruno Tonioli. “It was a like a Teletubby going mad in a Gay Pride parade.”

The panel of three judges gave the couple a pitiful 13 out of a possible 30 points, the lowest score of the night.

But the 58-year-old Wozniak who founded Apple Computer, now Apple Inc., in 1976 with Steve Jobs, remain undeterred and cheerful. “I’m having so much fun that they’re testing me for drugs tomorrow,” he said after the dance. In fact he appears to have immediately got to work in securing his longevity on the show.

Wozniak is depending on his online fans to vote him through to the next round.

With sites like votewoz.com and woz.org supporting the Silicon Valley icon, he’s hoping that he’ll get enough viewer votes to push him past other Dancing contestants like Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, rapper Lil’ Kim and Bond girl Denise Richards. The Vote for Woz page on Facebook has more than 1,500 members and Votewoz on Twitter has more than 1,000 followers.

“Your support has made a huge difference in my outlook and transition from fear to enjoyment, at least so far,” Wozniak wrote in a post on woz.org. “So thank you very much for everything. I’d like to demonstrate, by viewers and voters, that people in the entertainment businesses (including professional sports) are not the only people in this world that count. If you think that you cannot possibly dance or that you are the world’s worst dancer, I’m going to show that it’s not true.”

He also noted in the post that an iPhone app that will make it easy for people to vote for him is slated to be in iTunes stores soon.

“This is a weapon that Wozniak is in a unique position to wield,” said Dan Olds, principle analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group. “I would hazard a guess that very few high-tech geeks actually watch Dancing with the Stars and that fewer still actually care about the outcome. Except when one of their own, Woz, is competing, and that, along with the sheer fun of pushing him over the top, is serving as motivation for them to vote for him regardless of his dancing ability.”

And Olds noted that there’s a lot of power behind social networking communities like Twitter and Facebook. That could be a huge boost for someone who has more fans than… well, dancing ability.

“If even a small portion of these folks get behind him, they might have a huge influence in the early rounds, when there are more competitors diluting the overall votes,” Olds added. “The thing about technology folks is that they are persistent and challenges greatly appeal to them.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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