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Politicians turn to a familiar Facebook

Kotary credited the Brooks campaign with being one of the first to focus on online campaigning in an aggressive manner. Brooks is featured not only on Facebook, but also MySpace, Flickr, YouTube and Partybuilder.

Brooks is not the only candidate using various social networking Web sites.

Fellow Democrat Darius Shahinfar can be found on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Linkedin; Republican candidate Steven Vasquez is on Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, Break the Matrix and Meetup; and Democrat Phil Steck is on both Facebook and Linkedin.

Vasquez is the only candidate to have a personal page, along with his political page. On it, Vasquez writes messages to friends, updates them as to what he is doing (about which he wrote, "Steven Vasquez is campaigning until he turns red, white and blue") and has taken advantage of a feature called "super poke" in which it appears that he has thrown a fictional gummy bear at a friend.

While he has campaign staffers maintaining his political page, Vasquez said that with his personal page he is able to reach voters in a different way.

"It makes it so that I appear to be more approachable," he said.

Democratic candidate Joe Sullivan said he is limiting his online presence to his campaign Web site.

"I'm just not familiar with them [social networking sites], so that's primarily it," he said. "Hopefully, you will look at my [Web] site, and you will see that there's a lot of substance there."

Sullivan is not the only candidate who is not on Facebook. Also forgoing a Facebook presence is Republican candidate Jim Buhrmaster, though he does have a MySpace page.

According to Buhrmaster's campaign spokesman Josh Hills, the candidate wanted to "keep it simple" on the Internet.

"In political campaigns, the Internet is getting much more credibility as a voter contact tool than it really is," he said.

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