Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Facebook Experiment

There is a David Cameron fansite on Facebook, it is bland, non-interactive and I am surprised to say that it managed 710 fans, I was also a little surprised the party, or Cameron had bothered, given their use of other websites. Actually they had not. Mike Rouse came clean admitting it was "an exercise in proving that Facebook is a place that Cameron and his office and the wider Conservative Party (and politicians of other persuasions too for that matter) could come to engage with people" and he says he has "deliberately not advertised the group or added many applications to the page, just to show that 100 people could be reached just simply by having this page". It worked, his task is now to lobby Conservative Central office to get approval.

One problem though, why do people become fans of David Cameron or any politician? Not, as in the case of Adrian Sanders who I blogged about on Sunday, to get in contact with him or to interact; none of that goes on via his fansite. So a word of caution with this, Facebook is about social networking not promotion. There is already a backlash among members against the amount of applications that are really nothing more than advertising. Politicians should join if they want to network and use the network, but not just to have a profile sat there to say 'I'm here'. If you cant throw sheep at or play scrabble with them (metaphors for various applications), they are not real members.

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