Politicians turn to a familiar Facebook

You can message them, friend them and write a note about them. If you really want to get their attention, you might even want to poke them.

You may not know a thing about Facebook, but they sure do.

Eager the win the "Generation Y" vote, candidates on the national and local level are beginning to turn toward technology that even they do not fully understand, but, according to many of their campaign staffers, it is a necessity. In order to make the best use of their resources, staffers say, candidates must jump on the social networking bandwagon to stay afloat in the race for the 21st District Congressional seat.

Facebook, a social networking Web site, allows its users from around the globe to log on and search for people they know, or want to know. Once found, there are various options as far as how to get in touch with the person, including an informal attention grabber called a "poke," where Facebook simply lets the person know another user has found them.

Facebook began as a medium for college students to remain in touch with their high school friends after leaving home to attend universities and pursue careers throughout the country. Soon, the site opened up for community college users, then high school users, then adults.

Nearly five years after its introduction, Facebook has become a place not only for the average person to make friends, but also for celebrities to gain fans, and politicians to gain supporters.

Support was one of the reasons candidate Tracey Brooks got on Facebook when she began her campaign in February.

"When she launched her campaign in February, she launched her campaign in a net-roots and grassroots way," said Brooks' spokesman Kyle Kotary. "She said right off the bat, 'I'm going to combine high tech tools with grassroots [techniques].'"

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