Can Facebook Predict Dallas's Next Mayor? A Social Media "Psychic" Works His Magic.

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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.

Johnny Campbell
Let's put Johnny Facebook to work. And remember, if Saturday's outcome turns out as he says, you heard it here first.

Campbell's predictions:

1. David Kunkle

... and no runoff.

The analysis:

"It seemed like Kunkle had a little bit more of engagement than Rawlings did on his fan page," Campbell says, adding that it was a close margin. "Him being police chief created more of a conversation." Campbell notes the "links floating around on Kunkle's about Angela Hunt," calling her an "influencer," as far as he could tell on Facebook. "And those make a difference when you're running for office."

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.

When Unfair Park asked Campbell for a professional title to sum up his emerging side-career of making Facebook predictions, he laughed at the suggestion of "social media psychic" and instead suggested "social media strategist." Either way, he's confident things will play out as he says they will.

"I'm probably 90 percent sure," he says.

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