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Does Social Networking = Effective Presidential Campaigning?

November 28th, 2007 by flanews

Republican presidential hopefuls will face off in a debate Wednesday night featuring the YouTube website, which didnít exist until two years ago.† And every major presidential candidate has a Facebook or MySpace page.† The sites have more than 160 million users combined.† As Chris Casquejo tells us, some college students are skeptical, but others are using the pages to learn more about the candidates.

Does Social Networking = Effective Presidential Campaigning?

110 million users log on to MySpace.† Another 56 million use Facebook, which until earlier this year, was only open to college students.

In 2004, voters under 30 cast 20 million ballots for president, a 9 percent increase over 2000.† Every major presidential candidate has a presence on Facebook or MySpace.† Students are taking note.

ďI definitely havenít made up my mind,” said Wes Schaffer, a Florida State student from Lee County.† “I guess if one of them were to message me, Iíd take a closer look at them.Ē

But others arenít impressed.

ďI just wasnít really interested,” said one FSU student.

One sure way to reach the younger crowd is to send them a text message.† In 2006, a study found that 4 percent of younger voters were more likely to vote if they received a text reminder.

But experts say the audience on social networking sites wants more than slogans and pretty pictures.† Lance Dehaven-Smith teaches political science at Florida State.

ďIf you spin and just put a surface site up thatís not credible, that can backfire on you,” Dehaven-Smith said.

Political scientists say itís too early to tell which candidatees are effectively using social networking to campaign.† The proof will come next November.

Facebook was launched in 2004.† MySpace went online in August 2003.

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