Home “Facebook Helped Me Win,” Claims Politician

“Facebook Helped Me Win,” Claims Politician

In Tampa, Florida, one of the cities that comprises the megalopolis known as the Tampa Bay area, home to Busch Gardens, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and only minutes from beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida (oh, and this author’s stomping grounds, too), a local politician is giving credit to Facebook for his recent win in the primaries for the local County Commission.

On Facebook, the crowd is still very young, with an average age of 22.96 as of this February. Typically, the youth vote, although coveted, could not be counted on thanks to low turnout of young voters at the polls. However, this small time local election may prove to be one of the first examples of the huge impact Gen Y can have on the political process.

Now that many members of Gen Y are of voting age, their sheer numbers can no longer be ignored by politicians. The biggest generation since the baby boomers, Gen Y has been poorly characterized by some as lazy, unfocused, and self-centered – a generation that would just as soon stay home with mom and dad than go out and climb the corporate ladder. While it may be true that Gen Y has the good financial sense to maximize their time in rent-free accommodations, they are certainly proving themselves the opposite of lazy when it comes to involvement, be it social involvement, community involvement, or political involvement. Considering this recent “Facebook-powered” win, it could be that this generation is all talk and all action, too.

According to Rearden Killion Communications, the St. Petersburg advertising firm that handled the campaign of Kevin Beckner in the District Six democratic primary for the Hillsborough County Commission, the Facebook effort comprised of content, video production, and media buying valued at around $7000. There was also a Facebook app which let supporters put a campaign button on their own pages and provided a link to Beckner’s page. The overall effort increased Beckner’s Facebook group membership by 50 percent.

In this local election of this County Commissioner, you have to wonder if this is a hint of things to come in the upcoming presidential election here in the U.S. The Obama campaign has defined themselves by the way they have embraced technology. From blogs to social networks to even SMS text messages announcing the VP, the campaign is “a revolutionary shift in our country’s political media ecology,” says Andrew Rasiej over on techPresident. Although it has yet to be seen whether or not the use of technology will propel Obama into the Oval Office, the results of this local election prove that there is merit to targeting the online crowd and asking for their vote.

(Image credit: Zappowbang)

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