Thursday, 13 May 2010

UK election, media coverage gets social?

Just back from a long weekend in Berlin, so thankfully I've managed to miss most of the high drama of the hung parliament negotiations. The Germans did find it strange that we were making such a big issue of having a coalition government....

So now most of the dust has settled, it's been interesting to see how much, if any, digital media has managed to influence either the campaign, or actual voting.

I think the biggest impact on the whole party campaigning has been those sites that have given voters an ability to take the piss out of their politicians. One of the earliest, even before the official start of the campaign, was the "My David Cameron" fake Tory poster site where users could upload their version of Conservative party posters. This probably did more to bury Tory billboard ads than anything, particularly as the site went viral REALLY quickly, courtesy of their Facebook pages.

Sites like The Straight Choice (where people can upload local canvassing leaflets) proved a great supply of nonsense for the press to pick over. And gave all of us transparency on what out party of choice were doing at a local level - and all the major parties can hang their head!

The more mainstream, established political bloggers (Ian Dale, Guido Fawkes et al) have really become just that - mainstream. They were being covered in press and broadcast just like many of the other established media outlets, or as official outlets of one of the political parties - is this a sign that political blogging has now grown up? I do hope not, though checking sites like UK poll blogs makes for rather dull reading. I can only cling on to sites like Liberal Conspiracy or Old Holborn to restore my faith in old fashioned, nutjob political blogging....

And talking of Facebook, how many people joined any of the "I bet I can find a million people who....[fill in your hated election outcome here]" groups that were around? Or published links to various websites or news stories? I think Facebook has only just been noticed as a tool for grass roots political activism... and not necessarily by those people that really need to!

Twitter seemed to come into its own during this election, particularly during the leader debates. The number of people who felt the need to tweet every time they heard something they thought newsworthy was pretty astonishing. Quite who they thought was reading their tweets rather than watching the debates seems beyond me, but there we go.

So, now we have a coalition government, one that will need to work together in a consensus. One that could break up if enough grass roots support fails. Let's hope that they have learnt from the election, and not ignore the power of crowds.

No comments: