Political twits on social media

Link: xmedia.ex.ac.uk

Date Published: May 25, 2015


The results of Britain’s General Election are in. The people have spoken – a Conservative government will be in power through the next four years. Political analysts will be examining every step the parties took to win or lose their seats and, as anyone with a Twitter account knows, social media is one of the most important aspects of getting a party’s message across. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all play as battlegrounds for politicians and organisations alike, as they trade blows with scathing photoshops and snide 140 character putdowns. However, while social media can connect more people together, apparently it does not have the influence to encourage votes for a political party.

Unfortunate moments get captured on camera and shared online. Image: metro.co.uk
We’ve seen the effects before. In the 2010 election, Twitter users complained about the excess of anecdotal evidence used by the candidates, with one user eventually making the ‘David Cameron Anecdote Generator’. By the time the second debate happened, anecdotal evidence was stripped from speeches. Every Facebook post, tweet and photo as as a fast forward button for politics, meaning that national issues or controversial stories can be responded to instantly; the age of command and control politics is over, and the politicians are pushing to get with the times.

Unfortunately for them, this is more difficult than it looks. Ed Miliband’s discussions with Russell Brand, which resulted in the former ballot-spoiler encouraging his YouTube viewers to vote for Labour, clearly did not have the desired effect. Brand quickly distanced himself from his connection to politics shortly after the election results, claiming he was misguided in his belief that he could “probably influence the outcome of an election”. Brand went on to say that the ‘old media’ is still a powerful influence, which raises a clear dichotomy between the powers of print and online – a battle that I’m sure still rages within the walls of the Exeposé office


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