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Social media marvels

For long pages, try War and Peace!

For long pages, try War and Peace!

Yes, it’s the last part of our look at how candidates in the Isle of Man 2016 general election (taking place on Thursday) use Facebook.

In this instalment, I’ll take a look at how long politicians have been running their Facebook pages (not personal profiles!).

The average candidate’s page has been running for just short of seven months. That data’s skewed one end by Chris Thomas, who’s had his page running for more than five years.

A number of candidates who ran before unsuccessfully have had pages running for some time: there’s a long gap from when John McBride set his up in November 2015 before the current crop of Keys hopefuls began setting up theirs, with Anthony Allen starting his in March 2016.

So who’s been operating a Facebook page longest? Time for a top 10!

  1. Chris Thomas (Douglas Central), August 2011
  2. Ralph Peake (Douglas North) / Keith Fitton (Douglas South), April 2015
  3. Ray Harmer (Glenfaba and Peel), July 2015
  4. Cat Turner (Douglas East) Pat Ayres (Ayre & Michael), August 2015
  5. Clare Bettison (Douglas East), September 2015
  6. Richard Falk (Douglas Central), October 2015
  7. John McBride (Douglas East), November 2015
  8. Anthony Allen (Onchan), March 2016
  9. Carol Quine (Arbory, Castletown and Malew), May 2016
  10. Lynn Sirdefield (Douglas North) / Bill Shimmins (Middle) / Mark Kemp (Rushen) / Richard Halsall (Douglas East) / David Fowler (Douglas South) / Paul Craine (Middle) / Rob Callister (Onchan), June 2016

Quite the draw for tenth place – a number setting up pages a few months before the election.

Graphic content

So what does the growth in pages look like? Fairly dramatic towards the end of the campaign…

Candidates' Facebook pages over time

Candidates’ Facebook pages over time

Again, it’ll be impossible to say with any certainty whether those who left it late would suffer in the polls, but it will be interesting to see how many people with long-running pages have managed to persuade people to vote for them.

Whats, whys and wherefores

Why do I personally think it’s important that candidates have Facebook pages?

First and foremost: because it’s a great way to get your message out. Your manifesto. Your interview links. Your thoughts on current local issues. Your opinions on things that matter to people.

And second? I don’t really trust someone that can’t or won’t use social media. I’ve said it before: 78 per cent of the adult population is on Facebook. That may not translate directly into votes, but as Facebook is now the number one way people get their news (and there’s plenty of research to back that up), you can’t possibly ignore it.

I also had candidates contact me since I started these posts pointing out they have Facebook profiles. There’s a danger of repeating myself, but I don’t want to be your Facebook¬†friend to see your posts.

And one last point

One candidate said “but I have my privacy settings turned right down”. Not only do I not advise that under pretty much any circumstances, but that misses the point. I still have to come to your personal profile to see information that can be shared more easily and effectively.

And as for the candidate who, when I explained it to them, said “that’s too technical for me”…

That doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence you’ll understand the legislation you want to vote on in Tynwald.

A Facebook page is one button on the left-hand side of your profile, followed by a short form. If you can’t manage that… well, that’s not where my vote’s going!

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Pat Ayres says:

    Yet again you don’t mention me, even after I prompted you.

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