Not surprisingly, all four of Dallas's mayoral candidates have Facebook fan pages, some (David Kunkle) more active than others (Edward Okpa). But what, if anything, do Facebook numbers mean? Are they indicators of electoral momentum or of quick-thumbed interns?
A Chicago-based social media guru says Facebook numbers, when viewed in the context of overall page activity, are very telling. In fact, he says, he predicted Chicago's mayoral election based on semi-scientific analysis of candidates' pages. And he happily analyzed our local would-bes' pages to make a prediction about tomorrow's election.
Johnny Campbell, The Transition Man (who has nearly 500 Facebook fans and a social media training business in Chicago), tells Unfair Park that a candidate's Facebook fan numbers are an important indicator election success, along with what he calls "engagement" -- the amount of social media interaction between a candidate and his fan base.
"I'm looking at their number of fans, the amount of engagement, the amount of responses on their walls by other people than themselves, as well as events and discussions," Campbell says. "I'm just using my own gut instinct to a degree."
The night before the Chicago mayoral election, he correctly predicted that Rahm Emanuel would win and accurately predicted the standings of the candidates behind him. We know: Emanuel killed it in Chicago, raking in well over the majority of the vote he needed, so that prediction doesn't mean much.
So: Is his "science" legit, just fun or somewhere in between? There's only one way to find out.
1. David Kunkle
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Hedging his bets, Campbell adds that campaign finances are not clear on Facebook, but can heavily influence an election's outcome. With that major caveat, Rawlings could be the man to unhinge the Facebook activity/election day correlation. Tomorrow will tell.
"I'm probably 90 percent sure," he says.