The line squeaks down and to the right, down and to the right, steady and unyielding. Mitt Romney now hovers just above 12 million “likes” on Facebook. A “reappearing Obama” page would be its inverse — slowly ascending up and to the right, as every refresh of his Facebook page reveals fresh “likes,” adding to the 33.2 million he already has.
If a campaign — a man, really — is increasingly measured by the size of its presence on social networks, what are we watching, really, as we witness Mitt Romney’s “like” count on Facebook trickle away? This must be a new and special kind of pain, particularly for a man not regarded by the press as particularly likable. A news cycle now is measured in minutes, a day or two at the most. Then it’s done. And social media, by design, explodes exponentially. A million followers today, two million tomorrow, four million the next. It’s quick, when it’s on your side. But the fade-out is creeping attrition, the next “unlike” a little slower than the last. Undoing may well be the hardest thing to do on the Internet, unfortunately for Romney.