Campaigning on Facebook

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

It's the latest attempt to get young voters out to the polls on election day. Dozens of candidates are now campaigning on Facebook, a networking website geared towards high school and college students.

Aaron Funfsinn is a senior at NIU and says Facebook is a swift campaigning tool.

"If candidates were able to use the site successfully they could get students to support their campaign and vote for them," Funfsinn says.

Facebook allows candidates to post pictures, bios, and memos on their homepage. In return, voters submit blogs and other candidate photos to their site. Political science experts say Facebook's interaction is a great campaign method for the 18-24 crowd.

"They're not reading the newspaper as much or watching TV but their more attracted to newer technology," says Jules Gleicher, a political science professor at Rockford College.

But there's a down-side to campaigning on Facebook. You can't control what others are posting.

"If there was something they posted that may be part of their platform but it might not be popular and if that received discussion from different people criticizing that, other people could see that and weaken support," Funfsinn says.

Funfsinn has posted comments on gubernatorial and congressional candidate sites, but says they have yet to respond. And he's had two comments deleted due to what he says is politically controversial.

Only candidates running from either the democrat or republican party have pages on Facebook. Independent or write-in candidates are not included in the latest craze.

Candidates from local races are not included either. But students have formed fan groups on Facebook in support of candidates running for state senate in our area.


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