Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Politics in Facebook

When i first opened a facebook account, the first impression I had was that it was just another social network site. It's fun when you get to poke someone in cyber world, send virtual flowers to your wife, 'buy' someone as a 'pet' and get some virtual furniture for someone's virtual room. Nowadays, people take fb so seriously that it's even used for campaigning. Senator Obama has by far the largest fan base of more than 1.1M, the second closest is a group called "Apple students (those who appreciate Apple products) at close to 1/2 million members. Hilary and McCain both have 170,000 a piece. Michelle Obama seems to be more popular at 60,000 fans vs George Bush at 18,000 fans (perhaps conservatives don't surf that much). TDM has about 6,000, DSAI has 4,300, Mukhriz has 2,800 and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has 400. Numerous politicians also have accounts such as DS Khaled Nordin, TS Khalid Ibrahim, Datuk Mukhriz, KJ, DS Nizar, Tony Pua, Lim Kit Siang, etc.

The age of fb will see people declaring their interests and political affiliation openly whether they're pro or anti govt, whether they want who to step down or who to become PM. Of course, they are also impostors, i.e. if you search for some controversial figures, you'll find a few 'versions'. Some of the political groups you could find on fb:
Saiful Bukhari Azlan has a fan base of over 100 and 200 think he's a big liar. If 65,000 members are not happy with the petrol price but only 600 members want DSAI to be the next PM, does that mean people are mostly concerned about their daily lives, not so much about who runs the country?

What I find revolutionizing is that people are now becoming more expressive in the way they show their emotions and there is no longer secrecy as to whom you support or what/who you don't like. You could judge how people generally feel about issues. Of course, this only represents the internet users only but it gives you a good feel. Someone's status could read "x is unhappy with the government" or "x thinks DSAI is framed again". This is indeed a good tool to do surveys on. Good or bad in declaring how you feel, that's up to each individual.

The blog fever has flooded facebook (btw Chedet.com has more than 4m hits since May 08 and Dr Khir's blog has 770k hits since Mar 08). People want to be heard.

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