Voting Over – Is Social Media Politics Over Too?

David Dimblebly hasn’t really caught on to the social media thing during this General Election. Watching the TV coverage it’s clear he’s not convinced by Twitter. But I am. I have never been so engaged before in an election or politics in general. I feel more informed and more involved and it’s all been delivered to me via the web and my phone. And I’m obviously not the only one.

Facebook users registered over a million votes last night and the trending topics on Twitter in the UK have been predominantly election focussed (loving today’s Long Legged Cleggy Weggy topic). @Tweetminster reported a maximum rate of 51.7 tweets per second during the final leaders debate (41.05 in the first, 33.18 in the second). A total of 154,342 tweets were registered from 33,095 tweeters. I’m sure not all were serious but still it indicates the interest in the subject matter.  How reliable the trends are remain to be seen. The Facebook blog reports that from a mock vote turnout of 463,000, Nick Clegg received a majority with 42% of the vote. Were the trends correct, we would not be sitting under a hung parliament today.

So we are where we are…but the question is whether the social media will continue to be a platform for political debate now that the frenzy is over. I’m not expecting the intensity of the last few weeks to remain, but how useful to have that contact with your MP via Facebook, Twitter, Web, Apps and all other media. I wouldn’t call myself totally ignorant, but I do only really get involved at election times when I have a decision to make. Thanks to my apps, I now actually have a decent knowledge of the main party manifestos and my local MP. The Conservative app also actually helped me understand how the results could work using it’s own Swingometer (so for those of you who have seen me sitting tilting my phone around that’s what I was doing!). I’d love to see more events like the YouTube and Facebook’s Digital Debate to interact with politicians and get to grips with the issues people face. It actually makes you feel involved and is so accessible with so little effort! The politicians must see some value in investing in these ways to communicate to constituents.

No one would have thought at  the last General Election that YouTube and Facebook would become the focus for advertising and information sharing. Twitter was just a twinkle in the politician’s eye. How much will social media change by the next General Election (providing we aren’t called to another imminent one!)? One day we may be using it to cast our vote.

So politicians…please…for people like me, keep on blogging and tweeting and keep us in touch. It’s been a good’un!

p.s. For the twitterers among you – @Tweetminster have published a list of all MPs which can be found at @Tweetmninster/ukmps. I’m wondering if any of those who lost seats have suddenly changed their mind about having an account?!

3 Responses to “Voting Over – Is Social Media Politics Over Too?”
  1. chasingvenus says:

    I really enjoyed my Facebook news feed being crowded with political statements and rants for a while. Now it’s back to the usual the trivial updates and complaints about hangovers. Though I award serious bonus points to the guy who said he was “hanging like the government”.

  2. I think the BBC had the best TV coverage on election night, and I really rate David Dimbleby.
    I do agree – more mention should have been made of social media. My suggestion is that instead of those boring views of cars and airplanes we could have had ‘whats happening on Twitter’.

    • geekmissy says:

      Yeah I agree – I was watching BBC, though I’m not sure what Bruce Forsyth on the boat had to do with anything?! I think I’ve come to appreciate Dimbleby far more after seeing his counterparts on the other stations during the Leaders Debates.

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