Tuesday, May 13

Social Networking Sites Help Candidates Build Support

Although I have a Facebook account, I have yet to find the worth in this popular social networking site. Maybe you need to be under 25 to clearly understand its allure and power, or maybe you need to be a presidential candidate and find that through this viral network you can harness over half a million millenial voters in a matter of hours if you use it correctly.

Here's an interesting article from Reader's Digest on how Sen. Obama used Facebook to build momentum and support for his campaign in the early months of 2007.

In January 2007 Farouk Olu Aregbe, a student government coordinator at the University of Missouri, launched a Facebook group, "One Million Strong for Barack." A year later, the group had signed up half a million "friends" (in Facebook lingo) as Obama supporters.

This knack for pairing technology and activism is only one way the Millennials differ from their baby boomer and me generation parents. Encompassing 47 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 29, the Millennials constitute the first generation to come of age in the 21st century. Ambitious, civic-minded, and socially engaged, they may well decide the next President of the United States.

And the candidates know it. Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy by video on her website. Obama's site went interactive so that supporters could "talk" to each other without a filter. Last March, John McCain invited his website visitors to challenge his NCAA basketball tournament picks on MySpace, another youth-networking site.

All the candidates realize the power of Facebook and MySpace and have set up a presence on each of those sites hoping to draw in a demographic that may well help put them in the White House.



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