Nov. 2, 2010 at 1:18 PM ET
Some social-networking revolution we're having. I mean, it's all well and good that Facebook is trying to stir up the electorate (and more ad-friendly data) by pushing users into declaring "I Voted" in a prominent, albeit virtual, place. It sure beats those stickers that they used to hand out back when blue-haired ladies made you sign a book and then hide behind some kind of 1950s peep-show curtain, pulling enough mechanical levers to intimidate the Wizard of Oz. But this morning, when I tried to be a part of it, I was denied. For, like, five minutes.
Here in the great state of Washington we're super high tech: We mail our ballots in, after we've checked all the appropriate boxes and committed our autograph in ink. As a matter of fact, I could have announced my voter status nine days ago, when my ballot went into the mail, hopefully not bound for some partisan shredder. But Facebook made me wait until Election Day.
And so it was that I rose this morning, a happy member of the "I Voted" clan and ready to say so. I pulled out my iPhone, launched the Facebook app, and immediately saw that the party had already begun. Beautiful people with their beautiful badges declaring that they had indeed voted! By 7 a.m., the tally itself was already over 2 million. What joy! I could hardly wait to join them.
But I sensed trouble: I didn't see Facebook's promised "I Voted" promo on my Wall or my News Feed. How could it not be there? I asked, possibly out loud. Facebook promised! I clicked around the mobile app a bit, pulling up the U.S. Politics section that hosts the "I Voted" initiative. I could "like" a lot, even comment on other's voter badges, but I couldn't say I voted. Nowhere in the mobile app was this a possibility. (Even when I went to extreme lengths, pulling up the "full" version of Facebook in the iPhone's mobile browser, I did not see the promised promo.)
I eyed my laptop, sleeping peacefully across the room. Seriously, Facebook? You are going to take us back at least three years to a time when all of this stuff was only computer-browser friendly? Way to go, Facebook. Way to look forward, on this of all days! Progress, my ear.
So I opened my laptop, pulled up Facebook on my browser, saw the promo at the top of my news feed, and clicked the "I Voted" button. As you can see above, I even made a sarcastic comment about the sheer quantity of referenda added to the Washington ballot. It was over pretty quickly, I'll admit.
But this is not about me, Facebook. Think of all the people — worker bees, pimple-faced students, unwashed library denizens — who are yearning to click "I Vote." These are the masses who huddle with their iPhones and Android phones, sneaking peeks at their feeds, pictures of that one guy's party from last weekend, and that other couple's smug baby gallery. So much for all those mobile plebeians, who don't have the luxury of just "opening a laptop" like I did. I hate you Facebook. You have set back mobile democracy by at least two years. (OK, at most two years.)
You can catch up with Wilson on Twitter at @wjrothman to share in his righteous indignation. Or you can bring your own rant to the source itself, by visiting Technolog's FB page. And don't forget to keep checking msnbc.com's Decision 2010 for up-to-the-minute election coverage.