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Business are starting to get social media.  This is the year that the majority of businesses, even your local grocery store and insurance agent, are turning to blogging, Twitter and even Facebook. Seems like America’s hit TV show has finally jumped on the bandwagon and this season is offering online voting … via Facebook.

As an avid American Idol fan, season after season, I’ve tuned in every week for the live performances and try my hand at voting for my favorites (sometimes he even wins). Back in the day, you had to call the toll-free number hundreds of times trying to get through the busy signals to finally place one vote. Next came texting for AT&T customers.

Now, if you are an American Idol fan like me, you probably already know this.  After last night’s first top 24 performance from the guys, you can now vote online at using your Facebook account. You click your favorite Idol singers’ picture, login with your Facebook and vote up to 50 times.  I saw the posts pretty consistently in my stream during voting hours.

According to creator and Executive Producer, Simon Fuller, the idea for online voting has been in the works for years.

“We have been wanting to do online voting for several years, and now Facebook has offered us a secure solution and we are ready to go. The show has always involved a high level of engagement with its viewers through texting and phone voting, and it’s great to expand on this tradition.”

This evolution from phone calls, to texting, to Facebook is in line with our current drive for faster and easier information, but it’s more than just that—it’s good PR too. With more than 500 million active Facebook users, 50% of them logging in everyday, there is no wonder Facebook and American Idol are teaming up. This new form of voting is a great way to advertise your favorites. After voting last night for Garner’s-own Scotty McCreery, I could share my vote on my Facebook page so all my friends could vote along with me. I believe, as in any TV competition, it’s all about becoming the most popular in order to win. Facebook gives voters an easy way to market their favorites. This is a great example of how social networking done right can work for even American Idol.

So, what do you think? How did you vote last night?