Steve Walker

Some less or more well-organised thoughts

with one comment

I’ve just come across the website which is monitoring the use of ‘social media’ in the US elections. They have a fascinating counter of the number of ‘friends’ each of the candidates has in myspace. As soon as these start being counted and presented in league tables, I suppose they inevitably become some sort of indicator (though of what, precisely, is a little unclear).

Late last year, while preparing for a lecture on politics & online communities for a 3rd-year module Communities On-line (which I taught on with Janet Finlay) I had a look in MySpace and did some searches on political terms. I searched for the major UK parties and found a small number of Lib Dem and New Labour MPs, all with derisory numbers of ‘friends’. I don’t think I found any Tories. There was also a spoof page on the New Labour ‘fundraiser’ David Levy, which verged on the anti-semitic. I did a search on the BNP, and while there were no specific BNP pages, there were a disturbing number of young people who included support for the BNP in their profiles, alongside their football teams and musical tastes. The term ‘socialist’ was a cracker, though, turning up the Socialist Standard page with around 13,000 friends (as of today, ranking it behind only Obama and Clinton on the technpresident table). Socialist Standard is the organ of the rather wonderful Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) who, as well as arguing for the abolition of money, only have one form of political intevention – the debate. (I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since one of their number engaged in a year-long correspondence with a rather spotty 16 year old who had written a letter to the local newspaper in the 1970s. The letters I received weren’t formulaic, but long, detailed responses to the points I had raised in my letters. ) This raises the question though: what is it about the SPGB and MySpace that generated this number of ‘friends’, and what might it signify?


Written by Steve

February 17, 2007 at 4:28 pm

Posted in social media

One Response

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  1. More importantly , why haven’t you joined us .
    We need more than just friends , becoming a comrade would be nicer


    February 17, 2007 at 6:58 pm

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