Both candidates and voters have increased their use of the Internet for political campaigns. Candidates have adopted many internet tools, including social networking websites, for the purposes of communicating with constituents and voters, collecting donations, fostering community, and organizing events. On the other side, voters have adopted Internet tools such as blogs and social networking sites to relate to candidates, engage in political dialogue, pursue activist causes, and share information. In this paper we examine two years of posts on the Facebook walls of the three major contenders for the U.S. Presidency in 2008: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. We analyze participation patterns of usage along dimensions of breadth and frequency, and interpret them in terms of the concept of the “public sphere”.
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