Grandpa Grady's Facebook Nation?
What is an 82-year old man doing on a college networking site whose primary functions seem to be rehashing the lastest episode of the O.C. and giving directions to the next frat house kegger?
Well, if your name is Grady Patterson, the answer currently amounts to little more than showing off your grandkids ...
We're sure Acting Treasurer Trav Robertson will tell us Patterson is just taking advantage of "a unique opportunity to reach the younger generation" or something like that, but based on a FITS review of the "Grady Patterson for State Treasurer" fan club on Facebook, it looks like the only younger generation Patterson is reaching via this particular "netroots campaign" is his own family.
That's right. As of this writing, Grandpa Grady's Facebook Fan Club includes a whopping five - count 'em five - members. And of those five members, three (including the Club's founder) have the last name Patterson.
The ringleader appears to be Clemson University Senior Jonathan Patterson, who is listed as the club's "creator," but also pledging allegiance to their grandfather's campaign are Spring Valley High School Senior Sarah Patterson and Orangeburg Prep Senior Cally Patterson.
The fourth member of the "Grady Facebook Nation" is none other than South Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Patrick Norton (USC '05).
The remaining 20% of the Greater Grady Facebook Universe is comprised entirely in the person of Duke University sophomore Frank Holleman, who has the distinction of being the only member of the club who isn't either related to Patterson or employed by the Democratic Party.
Grady's group has no pictures, no discussions, no recent news ... basically nothing except pictures of his three grandkids, Norton and Holleman.
By contrast, the Facebook Club "Students for Robert Barber" has 87 members (including Norton and Holleman), 42 pictures, quotes from the candidate, a link to his website and a recap of the Democratic Lt. Governor nominee's recent Conservation Voters' endorsement.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tommy Moore's Facebook group "Tommy Moore for Governor," boasts 55 members (including Norton and Holleman), 2 photos, quotes from the candidate, a link to his website and a recap of Time Magazine's article calling Gov. Mark Sanford one of the nation's worst governors.
Moore's page also includes numerous comments, including one girl who talks about meeting U.S. Sen. John Kerry at a Democratic Party event advertised on Moore's Facebook site (of course, we all know by now that Moore himself declined to be seen publicly with Kerry during his visit).
Recent national and local coverage has highlighted the importance of groups like Facebook and MySpace in the political process, particularly in the emerging world of the "netroots" - political-speak for web-based grassroots campaigning.
Sadly, we can't link you directly to Grady's Facebook page from FITS, but for those of you with Facebook accounts, simply log onto www.facebook.com and type "Grady Patterson" into the site's internal search engine.