Well, everyone that might read this, sure. But that’s not really the issue – the question is, “Who Likes Sheldon?” More specifically, who is following his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling Facebook page?
I wondered this a while back, and wondered again once our little Coalition to Counteract the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (also known as the Coalition to Stop His Bullshit) went over 100 members. Their FB page has more than 5000 followers, or “Likes.” (5,536 as of this writing). But who are these folks?
Much has been said and written about the groups that are part of his coalition (they call ‘em “members” – the list is here). They are mostly family or faith oriented groups that are generally against ALL types of vices and sins – Internet gambling to be sure, but also LAND-BASED casinos, which makes them strange bedfellows with Adelson and his minions. Though it’s not the first time the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” factor has been a part of gambling legislation.
I made fun of some of these groups last week on our C4SIG FB page, including those groups who are NOT totally anti-gambling (Texas Association of Business is a STRONG supporter of gambling…in Texas). But now I want to look at the “common folks” who follow the CSIG Facebook page.
I was initially convinced that most of the followers weren’t “real” (we once found a post from a follower who commented positively on a post who seemed phony – their page was mostly blank and “she” listed her gender as male...hmmmm). Certainly, the majority of comments to their posts are members of our Counteract group, not Sheldon’s followers. No wonder the comments don’t automatically show.
Still, who ARE these people? I did a search on their followers (not the easiest thing to do given Facebook’s privacy issues), but, over time, I was able to look at a brief summary of about 20% of the group (1,024 to be specific - it takes forever to load it all – the 20% took about 30 minutes or so). And it was only a cursory look at who these people were (I did take an extended look at some of them – we’ll discuss this later on). But still, I learned a few things. By doing some global searches I found:
Almost 13% (131) who mentioned “The Bible” (only 19 mentioned “God” and only 4 “Jesus”). Our group only has 1 Bible, and no other mentions.
Many “Likers” also liked several other pages. I mean a LOT of pages. Hundreds. Thousands. One FBer liked 9,105 pages (Kardashians, Patrón Tequila, NBA Rumors, American Energy Alliance, and “The Wood” movie, among others). But the record holder is a guy with 276 friends and likes 13,585 groups. That has GOT to screw up his news feed.
Only one Sands Corp employee (it was Andy Abboud!). Oh, and Cheri Jacobus was in there, too.
This doesn’t tell us a lot, so I decided to open up some of the followers’ pages to learn more about them (again, Facebook has some privacy issues, but thankfully for this exercise few actually enacted those privacy controls, so I could see a lot about them without having to “friend” them).
Here’s a brief summary – those who I peeked at seem like a cross section of America. They were old, and young; married, and single;, black, and white; and many different religions were represented (and I did find one committed atheist). To be sure, there is a tilt towards the right, and many show strong family and/or religious ties. But they are also BIG sports fans – most of the pages I checked had two or more teams they follow (pro sports, mostly – football was BIG). They like music. They follow a variety of different groups.
And they play games.
Slightly more than half of the pages I looked at showed three or more games that they played, and here’s the kicker you’ve been waiting for – yup, some of them played social gambling games. Slotmania. Blackjack. Bingo. The #1 game was Candy Crush of course, but a fair number of gamers were gamblers. I failed to see a poker game in the limited time I spent with these pages, but it could be that they play poker at home, or at the club or casino (or not at all, but I’d bet otherwise, as poker is sooooo ubiquitous).
I did try to find out more about these folks – I messaged about twenty of them to ask them why they follow this coalition, and if they knew that their anti-gambling FB buddy was actually one of the richest casino owners in the world. No responses. Not surprised (I am a known commodity over on that site, y’know).
What I take away from all this is simple – the “followers” are people kinda like you and me, but most don’t seem rabid about their support. They do play games (some of them even gamble online – even if it’s just play money). Maybe somebody told them it was a good thing to join. Maybe somebody paid them. It does seem to be Sheldon’s M.O.
I don’t see much value (for them) in social networking. For us, it seems to work great. Keep following the action here, keep participating in the PPA’s advocacy action, and remain vigilant – good things can come of 2015 if we all work together to fight the rich bastard.