Facebook Friends Back the Candidates (Mostly)

Thursday, 04 Nov 2010 02:54 PM

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Twitter this: Time was, politicians who put their best foot forward had an odds-on chance of winning. As the new social media evolves, they may have to put their best face forward, as in Facebook. At least, that’s the case if you put a lot of political capital in an analysis of the 2010 election results by — get this — none other than Facebook. The stats lend credence to the argument, as does the fact that political figures have linked to social media, including former Gov. Sarah Palin and President Barack Obama, who many say surfed the Web into his Oval Office job.

Facebook, politicians, elections, GOP, DemocratsPoliticians have seen the potential for the social media as the messenger for the message for years. As long ago as August 2006, U.S. Sen. John Kerry dropped in at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., because he figured the medium would be a pipeline to the youth vote.

Now that the election is over, these figures are in: Facebook’s analysis found that, in three-quarters of the 98 contests tracked, 69 politicians with the most Facebook fans won their respective races for seats in the House or Senate, or to set up housekeeping in governors mansions. Meanwhile, 24 lost, and five were too close to call at the time.

But not everybody’s convinced that the numbers prove that Facebook is the wave of the future political tide — at least the Los Angeles Times’ Top of the Ticket political blogger voices skepticism.

Odds are, though, that politicians will heed the numbers as they tap into every resource available, including Facebook, Twitter, and whatever technological marvels are out there in 2012.

Facebook, politicians, friendsFacebook seems so ubiquitous these days that someday, maybe everybody except God will be on that social network. Along those lines, just to have fun with such an idea, the Sacred Space blog team in Dublin, Ireland, tweaked a Gary Larson cartoon to portray God at a computer. If only Moses had had a Twitter account, he wouldn’t have had to climb the mountain to get the 10 Commandments, and he could have used another tech marvel, GPS, to get out of the desert.

But for now, one of the Creator’s dignitaries, Pope Benedict XVI, beat him to the punch. The Pope noted in January 2009 that Facebook can nurture friendship and understanding, although he cautioned at the time that it can marginalize and isolate people. Five months later, he threw caution to the wind and launched his own page.

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