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Palin on Facebook: But Do You Like Her, Like Her?

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, July 16 2010

Ari Melber continues his welcomed deeper look at Sarah Palin's Facebook achievements. He notes in this piece that for some of Palin's followers on Facebook, it's a relationship "more complicated than exclusive." To put it another way, we know from the data that just because someone clicks the "Like" button on Sarah Palin's Facebook page doesn't mean that they aren't also busy liking other potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates. And that leads us into the idea that we can't assume that, should the time come, those Facebook followers would line up in the polling booth for Sarah Palin.

Okay, so what does it mean? Ari's certainly onto something in his efforts to parse the true meaning of the whole "Sarah Palin online" thing. It's very meta, the whole thing: What, in the end, are Twitter followers good for? What are Facebook friends worth? Is it more important, one wonders, to be liked or retweeted? Those are open questions, questions of our times. But they're not, for sure, exclusive to Sarah Palin. In fact, they're the exact questions that are driving the "The Influence Project" effort that Fast Company launched a short while back. Here's how the magazine put it:

Influence is not only about having the most friends or followers. Real influence is about being able to affect the behavior of those you interact with, to get others in your social network to act on a suggestion or recommendation.

"Being able to affect the behavior of those you interact with," though, might not be the right metric for Sarah Palin, or other politicians. Instead of applying the frame of political primary to Facebook, it seems like it might make more sense to think of it as a bully pulpit. Or maybe just a pulpit, minus the bully. What we do know is that some number of people -- 1.9 million on Facebook, just fewer than 200,000 on Twitter -- are willing to listen to what Sarah Palin has to say, for whatever reason. For a sub-one-term former Alaska governor, that might just look like an opening.

Read Ari's piece here.