Sarah Palin, Facebook and Insurgent Jujitsu

Check out Jose Antonio Vargas’s HuffPo piece on Sarah Palin from last week when you get a chance — he’s got some great numbers on the kind of online attention she’s generating, currently more than Obama.

Of course it makes sense that she’s creating buzz on the ‘net; not only does she has a book out that plenty of people are talking about, but she also manages to create conflict or controversy just about every time she opens her mouth or writes a paragraph. If it bleeds, it leads, and neither bloggers nor journalists are going to start ignoring her any time soon. The result? Lots and lots of searches for information about her and her book, plus plenty of new followers for her social media channels.

The Facebook angle particularly catches Jose’s attention, and for good reason, since Palin’s basically turned her Facebook Notes into the equivalent of a blog. E.politics gets a solid quote into Jose’s piece, pointing out that her taking on the mainstream media is classic “insurgent jujitsu,” in that every criticism the “media elites” level at her only boosts her credibility with her core audience.

In the same paragraph of Jose’s piece, Palin advocate Adam Brickley makes a great observation about her use of Facebook: “She has over a million followers and she’s the only person that I know of who regularly has their Facebook postings treated by the media as if they were columns in major publications. That’s really a breakthrough not just for Palin, but for Facebook as a communication medium.”

Here in the E.pol bunker, we’re so embedded in the online communications world that it can hard to see the proverbial forest for the trees — of course someone like Palin will turn to an unfiltered space like Facebook to get her message out, so why should that even be noteworthy? But Brickley rightly observes that the significant point is that she’s made the mainstream media take notice this time. I.e., not only is she using Facebook, but her use of it has gotten so much attention that it’s a story in itself. Meaning that other communicators may take more notice of the potential of social media for advocacy as well, and that those waters will get more and more crowded as they do.

Fine, fine, come on in folks — and maybe The Facebook hasn’t quite jumped the shark as a political tool after all…


Written by
Colin Delany
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