Anybody know the difference between a “political” Facebook page and a “personal” one? Apparently the Globe, in today’s (7/19) piece on the Boston mayor’s race, shows it does not. The premise of the article is that candidates Flaherty and Yoon are using new technologies to motivate new voters in this year’s race. However, the Globe runs this line:
The mayor – whose past campaign websites were of the static, storefront variety – now has 2,400 supporters on Facebook, one-third more than Yoon, but 600 fewer than Flaherty.
But let’s look at the record:
Councilor Flaherty has done a good job attracting “friends” to his personal site, which totals about 3,000 members, as it says above. But it is NOT his campaign site. It’s been up for a while and contains a number of people who may have been “friended” before the race, and are either supporting other candidates now or are not involved. (for example, a number of the “One in Three” sites originated by the Menino Administration to reach young people in Boston have been “friended”).
If one compares apples to apples rather than to oranges, one gets these numbers as of 8:30 p.m., 7/19/09 for their “official” campaign pages
Tom Menino – 2,399
Michael Flaherty -1,187
Sam Yoon – 781 (Yoon has about 1,800 friends on his “personal” page, which is where, again, the Globe makes an error in comparison. It is not an active campaign site in terms of news and information, which the site with 781 members is)
In my opinion (granted as a long time Menino supporter), commitment to be a “friend” on the political campaign page of a candidate is a far more indicative commitment of support, rather than a general “friending”.
Caveat A – all the candidates have adjunct pages, Dorchester for X; Cape Verdeans for Y, and there is some overlap naturally, but again, focusing on the core pages and the content provided within gives you a better sense of who is best utilizing this social media function, and right now, it’s the incumbent. (there are also a few “unofficial” candidate support pages by people who’ve taken their own initiative, some of which, for example, predated the Menino announcement and later linked to the official page that rolled out about 3 months ago.)
Caveat B – the Globe may have interpreted the Flaherty “friend” page as a “political” page due to the “Good/Better” symbol that was recently placed on the site (I like the Classic Coke/New Coke parody of it myself, lol).
Thanks for reading