Friday, October 13, 2006

Facebook Profile Candidates

Now that it's a little chillier here in D.C. (if the low 50s can really be referred to as chilly), it is most decidedly election season. In this city, everyone seems to know the latest in election-related news, but with such wacky and bizarre incidents as the Foley Scandal and the Allen Gaffes, the rest of the nation seems to have become interested as well. However, it should be noted that with many voters saying Iraq is one of the most important issues to them in the upcoming elections, it appears that people aren't simply paying attention due to a salacious (and also troubling) scandal.

With this in mind, I have to give Facebook a thumbs up for having candidate profiles. It really augments their Web 2.0 cred, allowing Facebook users--mostly college students, recent college grads, and high school students--to connect with their favored candidated. Some candidates have taken advantage of this platform to come off as personable and relatable. Democratic Senatorial Candidate Jim Webb of Virginia actually lists his favorite music--Johnny Cash and Tom Petty--and favorite movies--Cool Hand Luke and Year of Living Dangerously. Perhaps Webb's tastes are too well matched with the campaign persona--or maybe the campaign persona comes from the rugged tastes. Webb also has updated his Facebook status, a feature that was introduced earlier this year that resembles an away message. Currently "Jim is very disappointed, but supportive of Mark Warner’s decision not to run in 2008."

The candidates who are actively participating with Facebook are reaching out to younger voters, an often ignored constituency because of their perceived and real apathy. The activity on many of the candidates' message boards suggest that us young people are interested--as we should be--and that reaching out through Web 2.0 technology is a great way to harness that interest. I'll be interested to see if it results in an increase in 18-24 year olds' voting.

No comments: