Take a look round Facebook, and you’ll find multiple examples of all the main political parties, and their MPs, making use of it to promote their wares and network with supporters. However, look at other social networking sites such as Bebo or Myspace and you’ll find only a relatively sparse party presence, with very few MPs around.
Is this concentration on Facebook justified? After all, it is only one of several social networking sites, and as recently as June last year it only got 16% of the UK social networking site traffic, lagging behind Myspace on 29% and Bebo on 34% according to the data from Hitwise.
However, Facebook has see its share of traffic grow very quickly, with the latest figures giving it 45%, well ahead of Bebo on 25% and Myspace on 15%. No-one else breaks 2%.
Conclusion? Whether or not the heavy concentration on Facebook was right in the past,* it is increasingly looking like the right decision, particularly when you factor in the higher proportion of much younger users on Bebo and the number of conflicting demands on politicians’ time, which usually means having one active social networking presence is the most they can squeeze in.
* Of course, in the case of the Liberal Democrats, I put that past decision down to quality forecasting of future trends…