With the groundswell of fear and concern surrounding Facebook and other social networking sites, many critics lose sight of its raison d'etre—networking. But students involved in campus organizations are using Facebook, not only for finding out where the next party is but in political organizing as well, reports Inside Higher Ed.
Facebook is quickly becoming an important campus resource for students to list meetings, events, recruit new members and general grass roots organizing. Groups look for new members by finding users who indicate their political preferences on their profiles. Then they can target these people through an online direct mail campaign. It is also used for keeping track of alumni and past memebers.
“It’s a way to be more personal,” said Liz Morgan, president of the Smith College Republicans. “If you see a message, you feel like you might be the only one getting it.”
Since one can search Facebook by entering keywords such as "liberal" or "illegal immigration," it is relatively easy to find like-minded individuals. Not only can groups find people on their campus but through a new feature called “global groups” students can organize at other universities as well.
“We didn’t know who other chapter presidents were across the state and region,” said Alex Youn, vice president of the Tennessee Federation of College Democrats about the global group function. “We needed support from Mississippi, Alabama and other states. Those are people we wouldn’t normally have gotten.”