The first Facebook skirmish of the 2012 election

ABC News, LA Times and other media reports show how ForAmerica FB fans crashed Obama's Facebook Townhall page today.

Not too shabby at all.  The Town Hall itself seems to have gone well (Ryan Singel’s Softball questions, familiar themes has the details in Wired, and Sharon Gaudin’s A Sign of Things to Come in Computerworld puts it in context), but there’s no question that ForAmerica showed a lot of strength on what used to be Obama’s home turf.

Linnie Rawlinson’s Will the 2008 USA election be won on Facebook? is a great portrait of where things were at this stage in the last presidential election.  Social networks played a huge role in Obama’s victory, and the One Million Strong for Barack group was the epicenter on Facebook.  There was plenty of trolling then too (like the time the Hillary Clinton group was overrun by troll mob), but most of the campaigning was positive.  Cognitive diversity and the 2008 US election discusses about some of the group’s successes — and has plenty of statistics showing how what a big advantage Obama had on social networks.

Since then, though, conservatives and tea partiers have been far more successful at organizing on social networks.  On Facebook, the energy and participation in the One Million Strong group has dwindled, and while Obama’s page has almost 20,000,000 followers it doesn’t allow for a lot of participation and discussion.  Byron Tau’s Obama Faces Brave New Web World in Politico sets the scene for the 2012 battle.*  Perhaps ForAmerica’s successful action will act as a wake-up call to the Democrats.

In the LA Times, Michael Memoli quotes ForAmerica’s chariman Brent Bozell as saying “We are only beginning to see the untapped power of this growing, formidable online army.”  It’s going to be an interesting 18 months …


* and includes the mandatory reference to Get FISA Right 🙂