Wow. There’s popularity and then there’s Michael Phelps. The world’s greatest Olympian now has well over a million “fans” on his Facebook page. In fact, at the time of writing he has precisely 1,179,702 fans.
The human torpedo is still in second place for most popular fan page, behind US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who currently has 1,354,892 fans on the popular social networking site. Rates of growth, however, suggest that Phelpsy might pass Obama as soon as the next few hours – he only has 170,000 to go, and he’s gained a hundred since I started writing this post!
Facebook has been giving him a helping hand, linking US users to his profile via their news feeds, but Phelps himself does actually use Facebook to keep in touch with his friends back home. In an interview over the weekend he alluded to the enormous growth in friend requests he’s been getting on the site.
Phelps isn’t without controversy however – the top posts on the message board on his Facebook page are currently “IS MICHAEL PHELPS A DRUG CHEAT? I THINK SO!” and “Phelps Criminal Records overshadows his World Records”, and one of the biggest topics on Digg right now is “JUST ASKING: Is Michael Phelps a douche?”
UPDATE: Michael Phelps has overtaken Obama – he currently has 1,450,784 fans, and Obama has 1,397,791. Whether that continues now that the Olympics is over and the DNC has started remains to be seen!