At 12:01 am on election day, thousands of younger voters and activists will simultaneously reset their Facebook pages to display a get-out-the-vote message–using a new application that allows users to “donate” their status lines to a third party.
The application allows users to specify whether they want to get out the vote for a particular candidate or on a non-partisan basis. With a single click, users can solicit all of their friends to donate their status lines as well.
When I started writing this post, the number of users “donating” their status lines to the message was 45,304. By the time I posted, the number had risen to 47,108.
Given the historic level of interest in this election–interest in bringing to an end the three-decade Era of Reaction–the only limit to the spread of this particular application is that only Facebook users signed up for causes can use it.
This may or may not have an impact on the election–it’s just one strand in a vast web of social media and other new-media contributions to this campaign season, including the Democratic candidate’s Obama Girl on YouTube and some spectacular small-donor fundraising.
I suppose this particular app could be a social-media version of a yellow “Live Strong” wrist band, a fashion statement without any real impact on youth turnout. (Some of the reports on early voting in Florida suggests that nursing-home voters in wheelchairs are more likely to endure long lines at the polls than college students.)
On the other hand, the University of Minnesota nearly quadrupled the world record for single-day flu shots by using a similar Facebook invitation. So I guess we’ll see.
By the way, one of my recent posts (Ink for Obama) was probably fairly criticized for a version of early celebration–what Michael Moore is calling “dancing on the 5-yard line.” For the record: get thee to the polls!
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