The Facebook Generation Of Politicians

October 22, 2010

Early last week, incriminating photos of Democratic congressional candidate Krystal Ball surfaced through Facebook - causing controversy for not only their content - but for Ball's response to the issue as well.

Most people by now have seen the controversial photos that led Ball to claim this was a blatant act of sexism against her. She argues that the photos were meant to be part of a smear campaign.

She very well may be right, but that's not the interesting part of this story.

Krystal Ball is 28 years old - she is the youngest candidate currently seeking public office.

Ball represents the first generation of politicians who grew up in the new era of social media communication - she represents the "Facebook generation."

Her college years are documented through Facebook photos simply because it existed during her college career. No other politician seeking office is involved in a similar situation largely because of timing.

Facebook has taken privacy and turned it upside down - embarrassing photos of politicians will become more prevalent in the coming years.

As a writer for the Houston Chronicle explains, "As much as I hate the fact that she has these embarrassing pictures out there, women in her generation and younger better get used to it. The sexy photos you thought were so cool in high school and college can come back to haunt you as you make our way into adulthood."

However, a writer for Death and Taxes believes the photos will not translate into poor election results. "Our political officials aren't ordained by God. We elect them. That's the whole point. But we've continued to expect them to act saintly and give credence to "embarrassing" links that have nothing to do with politics."

Ball argues that these types of pictures would not be relevant if she were a man - but a blogger for Politics Daily does not agree. "Future political office holders -- male and female -- will have to confront their texts from last night, virtual break-ups and Twitter page snapshots when they run for office.