Small business owners have embraced social media as a tool to cultivate positive relationships with their customers and clients in record numbers. Political candidates have also leveraged the power of these platforms to boost their virtual reach. And today's special election in Massachusetts is no exception. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are buzzing with activity for and against the candidates competing for the U.S. senate seat left vacant after more than five decades of Kennedy family control.
But, can a correlation be drawn between the number of friends, fans, or followers a candidate attracts and the number of votes received?
Here are some numbers to consider as Massachusetts voters go to the polls today to elect a successor to the late Senator Edward Kennedy.
Democratic candidate, Attorney General Martha Coakley, has 18,319 Facebook fans as of today, up from 13,000 this past Sunday. Coakley is being followed on Twitter by 4,229 people, up from 3,200 on Sunday.
Republican candidate, state Sen. Scott Brown, has a Facebook fan base of 101,758 as of today, up from 68,000 this past Sunday. Brown's Twitter followers number 12, 949 today, up from 9,300 on Sunday.
What do these numbers reflect? Do they indicate curiosity, interest or support? Will they translate into actual votes? Later this evening we will be able to draw more thoughtful conclusions about the power of social media in this campaign.
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