Making Facebook a Better Political Tool

Michael Bassik reports today in techPrez about some changes to Facebook that should make it a much better platform for political organizing. Specifically, by January, the “success penalty” for building a large Facebook Group should disappear, since group administrators will no longer be blocked from messaging the group once it exceeds 1000 people. Also, changes to a group such as new videos or photos or a new event will automatically show up in members’ newsfeeds.

Michael is very bullish on the improvements, saying that “by changing the messaging policy, Facebook will soon find itself the center of online activism.” Hmmmm, let me quibble with “the” center — how about “a” center instead? I know that social networking enthusiasts often believe that we’ll all soon be running our online lives through some site or another, but I’m more skeptical (as usual). Absolutely, plenty of people will spend hours and hours a week on Facebook — and plenty won’t. Question for the soc net enthusiasts: how much will an average Facebook supporter donate per ask, compared with an average email list member? I don’t know the answer, but I bet we’ll be looking for it soon.

Another Bassik prediction: “companies like Convio and Democracy in Action will find new sources of revenue in building ‘message your member of Congress’ applications and licensing them to groups for use within Facebook.” That’s a good trend to watch — and the more vendors who get in on the deal, the better off the users will be.


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Colin Delany
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