Candidate Colbert gains 1 million Facebook supporters
Effort makes strong case for using social networks to promote political candidates
Computerworld - Comedian Stephen Colbert's announcement that he plans to run for president of the U.S. may have struck some as a joke, but his supporters on Facebook have taken the campaign very seriously, signing up in droves over the past 10 days to drive membership in his group past the 1 million mark on Friday.
His 1,000,000 Strong For Stephen T. Colbert group is the fastest-growing section on Facebook, according to followers of social networking sites. The group's membership grew from 5,000 on Oct. 17 to 500,000 on Oct. 23 to more than 1,015,000 at noon today.
In contrast, Sen Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) One Million Strong For Barack group has accumulated just over 380,000 members over the past nine months.
Stan Schroeder, a blogger at Mashable, a site that follows social networking developments, blogged that Colbert's Facebook effort marks the strongest example of social network usage for political promotion to date.
"By spending very little time and money, Colbert has managed to gather one million supporters," he wrote. "Whether or not they'll vote for him is another matter, but it's obvious that these (and all following) elections will largely be fought online."
Rana Sobhany, a blogger at Allfacebook, a blog that follows developments on the social networking site, blogged: "I never would have thought that in just over a week, 1 million Gen Y'ers would be able to assemble for any cause, let alone in support of a presidential candidate, and apparently neither did anyone else."
However, Sobhany noted that "Colbert's presidential aspirations will likely fizzle out by election time" and that "this politically inactive and seemingly apathetic demographic is just going through the motions of showing their support for a candidate. But then again," he added, "no one believed Colbert could muster this massive outpouring of support in a week."
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