950,000 versus 150,000 Has Got to Give You Some Kind of Advantage, Right?

Politico’s Been Adler has an interesting post asking whether or not McCain can compete with Obama online.

I’m not really fixated on McCain’s admission that he is computer illiterate – like many things he says, it probably would have been better left unsaid but he is who he is and the benefits he derives from speaking so freely outweigh the costs. What continues to interest me is the impact that exponential diffusion will have on this race and the world in general.

The speed with which the technology behind social media applications allows users to share and discuss information is a huge leap forward from where we were prior to the development of these tools. Yes, the internet itself and things like email and chat rooms provided a massive launching pad but just stop for a second and think about the difference in scale.

I can’t think of anyone who, upon finding a story that interests them, copies the link, opens a new email message, populates it with 100 email addresses, adds a short comment and then sends it out. Even if someone were to do that one a regular basis (we are making believe that his nickname would not become “unsubscribe”), hardly anyone he emailed would reply all to add in their comments. And yet every day on applications like FriendFeed that is essentially what is happening – hell I probably have over 100 people following me and I have zero to do with the industry most all of them work in and didn’t even know 99% of them existed a few months ago. Even more (relatively) static applications like Facebook provide an incredible platform to quickly and easily communicate with hug swaths of people.

There is obviously an eternity between here and November so the outcome is by no means set in stone. That said, one has to wonder what kind of advantage the ability to communicate with 950,000 people on Facebook gives a candidate over someone who is only able to use that medium to communicate with an audience 1/9th of the size.

One Response to “950,000 versus 150,000 Has Got to Give You Some Kind of Advantage, Right?”

  1. Mark Dykeman Says:

    For a minute there I thought you were comparing Twitter’s user base to FriendFeed’s… 😉

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