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On Facebook, Diesel Waves Backwards at Obama

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, November 12 2009

One is the leader of the free world. The other is the often-shirtless star of such films as "The Fast and the Furious" and "xXx." But on Facebook, Vin Diesel is the top dog. Until this week, President of the United States Barack Obama had been holding the title of the living person who had accumulated the most admirers on Facebook, but Diesel asserted his dominance this week, breaking the 7 million fan mark and besting Obama by a few hundred thousand folks. (Michael Jackson and his 10 million fans, many of them posthumously acquired, hold the title for most Facebook fans of a human over all.)

Diesel uses his Facebook page -- or "OUR page," in Diesel parlance, of which he is "proud" -- to mix it up with his friends and admirers. It's intensely personal, and imbued with a collaborative spirit. Vin asked for comments on the latest draft of a script in the Fast an Furious franchise. He got 22,000. Diesel isn't afraid to mix whatever the pleasures of Facebook might be with business. "Recognizing the power of your voice," he posted to his own wall, "I have invited the studio to visit our page over the weekend... to hear for themselves."

Careful not to disrespect the page of the president, Facebook sees room for improvement in Obama and his team's less personality-driven postings and engagement on the site. "More than anything, authenticity matters," says Adam Conner*, whose work as part of Facebook's DC team covers engagement with elected officials and their staff. "It is clear that Vin Diesel or someone very close to him manages his page. His fans feel like their participation in the page is like having a conversation with him, delivering the true promise of this new medium. Content and interactivity matter... These are all great lessons for anyone who manages a high profile page on Facebook."


(Disclosure: Adam and I worked together back in 2006.)

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