Here’s an interesting tidbit from BlueMassGroup:
David reported about a year ago, and again in February, that Obama’s FaceBook organizing efforts dwarfed those of his competitors. I think we can all agree that most FaceBook users are under 44. By May, the largest Obama group on Facebook had 323,899 members, compared with 2,089 for the largest Clinton group (and 58,982 for the largest anti-Clinton group). The Obama group has now grown to 411,631 members. Indeed, the Obama campaign even has its own application on FaceBook that keeps supporters constantly updated with news and events related to the candidate. Several thousand people have installed it in their accounts.
Is this the first Facebook election (just as, perhaps, 2004 was the first MeetUp election — that functionality now subsumed into most campaign websites)? Perhaps Saturday’s Facebook/ABC News debate will tell us more.
I don’t want to take anything away from Obama, but given the unprecedented turnout of young voters–turnout that U.S. Democrats have tried to achieve election after election with significantly less success–it’s worth looking around to see what factors in addition to the candidate himself might be driving the change. I’d be really interested to hear first-hand accounts by young Iowa caucus-goers about what role Facebook and similar social networking sites may have played in helping them to become more politically invested.