Expect Candidates to Covet “Friends” in 2012

The 2012 presidential campaign is heating up with a major GOP candidate debate and straw poll in Iowa, which holds its nominating caucuses next February.The presidential campaign entered a new phase last week with eight GOP candidates participating in a debate in Iowa. As the campaign season continues expect one thing to happen, candidates will embrace vigorously social media as a key campaign tool.

A recent Pew Research survey found Internet users in general and Facebook users particularly more politically active than the average American. In the Social Networking Sites and Our Lives article released June 16, 2011 Pew Research wrote:

Internet users in general were more than twice as likely to attend a political meeting, 78% more likely to try and influence someone's vote, and 53% more likely to have voted or intended to vote. Compared with other internet users, and users of other SNS platforms, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day was an additional two and half times more likely to attend a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to persuade someone on their vote, and an additional 43% more likely to have said they would vote.

Politically speaking, the Pew Research study highlights other advantages to using Facebook relationships as a campaign tool:

  • Facebook users are more trusting
  • Facebook users have more close relationships; and
  • Facebook users get more social support.

Finally, the average Facebook user has 229 Facebook friends, a potentially powerful network of trusted relationship that campaigns will endeavor to turn into contributions and votes.

It is already evident the power of Facebook has been recognized by GOP presidential candidates.