Editorial: This election will NOT be decided on Facebook

Editorial: This election will NOT be decided on Facebook

So just who is going to decide the October 20 municipal election?

It’s okay – relax folks – it’s not going to be Facebook.

That’s a bold statement, and one that could be construed as arrogance on the part of a professional print and web-based news organization.

But numbers don’t lie.

Top sheet facts: the majority of people who vote are old, and the majority of people who use Facebook are young.

A 2009 study published by BCstats reported that – in the general election of the same year – 74 per cent of registered voters aged 70-74 cast a ballot. Each successively younger age group had fewer people voting, with the anomaly of people ages 18 and 19.

Residents under the age of 40 accounted for less than a quarter of all registered voters who turned out at the polls.

Next let’s click on Facebook. Roughly two thirds of Canadians use Facebook once a month.

According to statista.com, as of January 2018, only nine percent of people 65 and older, and only 12 per cent of people between the ages of 55 and 64, used Facebook. (These are US numbers.)

The largest age demographic on Facebook was between the ages of 25 and 34 – accounting for 25 per cent of users.

Here is more fun information.

The 2016 census indicates 2,745 human souls dwell in Princeton.

Only 305 of them are between the ages of 25 and 34 – that’s the category with the highest Facebook use and they don’t vote that much.

However, 735 of people in Princeton are over 65. Those are eligible voters who statistically aren’t so good with Facebook, but they sure turn out to exercise the franchise.

Just do your own math.

There are several local Facebook pages and in the past few weeks they have floated some good discussion, also mis-information, false narratives, bickering, and even personal attacks against candidates, as well as people who are not running for anything but somehow managed to get in the way.

That is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Age aside, there are many factors that influence voter turnout. For example, more people vote in municipal elections when there is a mayor’s race, and they also turn out more for hotly contested seats. This should figure heavily in Princeton this year as a reporter can’t swing a dead marmot without hitting someone standing for office.

But nothing will be decided on Facebook.

That’s just the observation of the community’s professional print and web-based news organization. And we bow deeply in the direction of the remarkable late Marshall McLuhan. He was the first person (a Canadian, by the way) to articulate, in 1964, that the medium is the message.

And indeed it is

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