The charge of the like brigade

In my particular position as a journalism professor who studies and consumes a lot of political media, I’ve been hearing from many corners that social networking is vital to political campaigning and the future of the news industry. No one ever seems to be able to tell me why, and I remain extremely skeptical. I consider this new Trilogy Interactive report a bit of vindication:

[Trilogy] found only a slight correlation between social media popularity and success in the Senate. That correlation “effectively disappeared” in House and gubernatorial races. … Trilogy says the Facebook margin of victory only explained about 13% of voting results. For gubernatorial races, that correlation is even lower, with the strength of a candidate’s Facebook presence only explaining about 0.8% of the vote margin. And for House races, there was actually a slight negative correlation, meaning a stronger Facebook popularity was associated with a smaller margin of victory.

And the visuals — first Senate, then House:

Senate/Facebook chart

House/Facebook chart

On a semi-related note, I’m presenting a paper called “Sarah Palin Likes This: Discussion of the ‘Death Panel’ Note in Social Media” at the annual MAPOR conference this weekend.

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