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Facebook Election – Manx facts and figures

Mobile data. On Android, of course.

Mobile data. On Android, of course.

September’s polls are being called the Facebook election  by some, but is the Isle of Man really using social media for political discourse and debate?

I’ve been researching which candidates use Facebook, and how well they’re managing to connect with online constituents.

First let me tell you how I collated all this data. It’s simply a Facebook search for each candidate’s name. It was collected in the early hours of Thursday, September 15 – one week before the Isle of Man goes to the polls.

What I was looking for was a candidate’s Facebook page, as opposed to a personal profile. I don’t want to be friends with a candidate to see their message, and having a Facebook page shows a certain level of proficiency and awareness on the platform.

I counted their total posts manually, in every case except one. Sorry, Chris Thomas, but you broke my browser as I tried to scroll back through five years of posts. In that case, I took an average of four months of posts and extrapolated a five-year total from there.

Facebook “likes” were taken from the pages themselves and may already be slightly inaccurate – this is a snapshot taken at a particular time rather than ongoing monitoring.

Each page tells you the date it was founded, so the length of time they’ve operated is fairly easy to work out.

Facebook findings

What can I tell you about the general situation? Out of 63 candidates:

  • 40 Political Facebook Pages for candidates in September’s general election
  • 10 MHKs defending their seats have no Facebook Page
  • 6 MHKs defending their seats have a Facebook Page
  • 23 candidates have personal profiles, but no page
  • 1 didn’t seem to have any Facebook presence at all
  • On average, each page has 199 likes
  • A total of 3,393 posts have been made to candidates’ Facebook pages
  • On average, each candidate has made 85 posts
  • The average Facebook page has been running for 6.8 months
  • On average, candidates make 7.9 posts per month

It’s worth noting some candidates are returning after previous attempts at election and have reused their old page, so some have run for considerably longer than others.

Also interesting are the candidates who’ve maintained an active Facebook page after they were elected or not – they begin with “elect me” posts and then move on to become debating places afterwards.

Facebooked all over, couldn’t find ’em

Let’s deal with those who don’t have Facebook pages first. I couldn’t unearth pages for:

Amanda Walker (Douglas East), Juan Watterson (Rushen), Louise Whitelegg (Ayre & Michael), Andrew Barton (Garff), Kate Beecroft (Douglas South), Laurence Skelly (Rushen), Andrew Smith (Garff), Leonard Singer (Ramsey), David Quirk (Onchan), Chris Robertshaw (Douglas East), Martyn Perkins (Garff ), Geoffrey Boot (Glenfaba & Peel), Bill Malarkey (Douglas South), Phil Gawne (Arbory, Casteltown & Malew), Quintin Gill (Douglas East), Sara Hackman (Douglas Central), Stephen Crowther (Arbory, Castletown & Malew), Leo Cussons (Rushen), Nigel Dobson (Garff ), Julie Edge (Onchan), Ann Corlett (Douglas Central), Graham Cregeen (Arbory, Castletown & Malew), Tim Craig (Onchan)

They all have personal profiles on Facebook. But I couldn’t find anything (even a personal profile) for John Houghton (Douglas North).

Let’s be fair here, though. I searched for a name and checked “pages” in the search tab. If I missed you, click here to go to my contact page and send me a message. I’ll update this with new information when it’s received.

Thumbs up and thumbs down

First things first. If someone likes your page, will that translate into votes? Here are the top 10 most-liked candidate pages:

  1. Nick Crowe (Ramsey): 944
  2. Chris Thomas (Douglas Central): 749
  3. Mark Kemp (Rushen): 522
  4. Ray Harmer (Glenfaba & Peel): 412
  5. Carl Parker (Arbory, Castletown & Malew): 358
  6. Alex Allinson (Ramsey): 357
  7. Carlos Phillips (Ayre & Michael): 356
  8. Clare Bettison (Douglas East): 318
  9. Tim Baker (Ayre & Michael): 313
  10. Rob Callister (Onchan): 277

And at the other end of the table, the least-liked:

  1. Alan Kermode (Ayre & Michael): 2
  2. David Fowler (Douglas South): 7
  3. Pat Ayres (Ayre & Michael): 9
  4. Kurt Buchholz (Douglas Central): 14
  5. Leslie Hanson (Glenfaba & Peel): 20
  6. Carol Quine (Arbory, Castletown & Malew): 25
  7. Karen Angela (Douglas North): 35
  8. Michelle Inglis (Douglas North): 38
  9. John McDonough (Ramsey): 42
  10. Anthony Allen (Onchan): 46

That’s enough number-crunching for this post. You want more top and bottom 10s? Tomorrow I’ll post more about the findings of this very informal survey, on the last Saturday before you go to cast your votes.

And please, if you do have a Facebook Page and I’ve lumped you in the “none found” list, let me know!

UPDATE!

Pat Ayres has contacted me about his Facebook page – quite right, as he does have one under “Patrick Ayres” and it had escaped detection because I searched for “Pat” as he’s widely known.

The post’s been updated to include the new data point, which makes little difference to any of the averages, but has meant I’ve had to update the least-liked pages list.

I’ve also been contacted by a couple of candidates about party pages and personal profiles. This research is strictly only about solo Facebook pages for candidates. It would be impossible to fairly compare a party page to an individual – and personal profiles don’t have “Likes” to post to people’s timelines.

As ever, I’m happy to correct any omissions or errors – get in touch if you know of any.

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4 Responses so far.

  1. Pat Ayres says:

    Surprised you couldn’t find my FB page at ‘Patrick Ayres’ Been there for a couple of years.

    • Jason says:

      One year; your first post was August 2015. I’d missed it because everywhere lists you as Pat rather than Patrick so you were missing in Facebook’s search. All included and updated now though – thanks for letting me know!

  2. Charles Buster Lewin says:

    Very interesting thank you

  3. wilfred tomlinson says:

    Facebook page: Daphne Caine for Garff

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