The General Election Of 2015 – Social Media’s Role To Play
As we reach the pinnacle of this year’s General Election, all fingers point to no one party winning a majority outright, yet almost everyone seems to agree that come the 8th May either Ed or David will be in number 10.
The television debates have drawn to a close, there is still an aura of indecision looming over the country. What happens between now and the day we all put our little cross in the box could prove detrimental.
So where now for these politicians and their parties? Like the much ostracised Farage, do they take to the This Morning sofa to answer disgruntled phone calls from strongly opposed punters? Or do they optimise that which claims to have significantly helped Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012? Of course I am referring to Social Media. Twitter took a large slice of responsibility for Obama’s success and may well do the same for the UK election.
Social Media Influence
He can’t eat a bacon sandwich in a particularly suave manner (but then again, who can?!), yet his party’s social media campaigns could prove vital for the election this Thursday. Ed Miliband’s Labour Party is using Twitter to really get amongst the “working man”, regularly updating the status of the party as well as the individual politicians who are desperate to gain those seats. With over 213,000 followers of the Labour Party, and over 471,000 for Ed Miliband, their Twitter pages are consistently updating the country of their progress, policies and promises.
The Conservatives Twitter statistics read slightly differently, with David Cameron having over 999,000 followers (which is somewhat expected given he is the current PM!). However, the Conservative Party’s page only has 156,000, a considerable difference from what Labour has achieved. Of course we must not be as complacent to presume each follower is a guaranteed vote, far from it. Within a plethora of reasons why, one does not have to be from the UK to follow an overseas politician or political party, neither should we presume that every follower intends to vote at all!
For current and future politics, social media is proving itself to be a strong ally. Obama proved it, and so did the Scottish Independence Referendum. The latter saw the highest ever percentage of turnout, with a significant increase among young voters in particular.
Social media, in the likes of Twitter and Facebook, are encouraging younger voters to become more involved in politics. No longer is the sound of knocking on our front door troubling or disrupting. Politics can be engaged with at one’s own pace from the comfort of one’s bedroom. There is significantly less pressure and considerably more information through social media.
Could this be the reason for more Labour Party followers on Twitter? Given that their manifesto and subsequent commentary regularly suggests they are standing for the working man and the younger generations, is it much of a surprise that the demographic of social media (the younger generations) present their support by clicking ‘Follow’. Updates and news from Labour are subsequently re-tweeted, favourited, replied too, and generally spread across the Internet and onto other media platforms. If Labour and Ed do manage to get into number 10, the work their followers do on Twitter (and other social media) can take a huge amount of responsibility.
Credit Where Credit’s Due
Credit can duly be issued to the Labour Party for their attempt to engage with the younger voters. With a strong social media presence being one main approach, Ed being interviewed by Russell Brand was clearly another attempt at this (heavily edited footage aside).
Of course all this is mere speculation for now, as only the statistics that arise during the aftermath of the election results can confirm a higher percentage turnout among younger voters. What we must consider and praise is the social media platforms themselves, as they are offering the chance for people from any walk of life to become a part of politics, where one opinion becomes as important as the next in a new world of endless information.
Social Media and the wider digital spectrum is an ever expanding industry, offering fantastic opportunities and creative ideas that fuel the rest of the world, not just within politics! From the perspective of a Digital Marketing Recruitment Specialist, we are seeing first-hand how the world is rapidly becoming revolutionised by this highly innovative and exciting phenomenon. Twitter’s integration and influence on modern politics is just one of the many examples of how digital is assisting in all aspects of society.
Whatever the result of the General Election may be, social media gets my vote!