Social media. We’ve seen its rise, we use it every day, it has become our main form of not-in-person communication. So how is it going to affect this year’s General Election and why is it important that we know who is winning the Social Election?
Social media is used by political parties for 3 main purposes:
- to communicate policies, (so much so that policies are now being formed into tweet friendly ‘pop-policies’);
- to gauge response to policies by listening to opinions;
- and most importantly to gain territory in people’s hearts. The latter is won through the battle of personalities, parties showing to be engaging with real people and using propaganda to both champion one whilst slandering another.
So why is it important to know the most influential on Social Media?
At The Social Election, we use Klout to collect stats on followers, retweets, likes, shares and other metrics. The candidate or party with more of these followers, shares, retweets move up through the ranks on our leaderboard. These are the people and parties being the most listened to across the country and world. Even if their antics are being shared in a negative fashion; their names, faces and policies are being shared to the largest audience known to humankind.
Who are they trying to reach on Social Media?
On my newsfeed, my ‘friends’ are usually split into 3 categories:
- The ‘winged’: those that usually fly left wing or right, spouting their views at any social or political event;
- the ‘disengaged:’ those who are completely nonplussed about politics, whether through lack of knowledge or fear of being shown as less educated on the matter and these tend not to vote.
- The majority of my ‘friends’ however fill the ‘tolerant’ box. These are normal people who probably do have an opinion on how the country should be run, that have either a vague or good idea of who they are going to vote for but are characteristically British in their Social Media etiquette. They do not wish to offend or push their ideas on other people, they only share when it is an important matter of the heart or a viral meme and they can be sometimes picked up by the crowd.
Although these ‘tolerants’ behave as such, they are enemies to extreme views and can sometimes be found sharing or retweeting extreme views in protest or abject horror.
It is this group who are the most important when it comes to elections. If these guys retweet, share or follow, they are to be listened to and politicians find these people the most easy to engage with. However as they are so tolerant, it is difficult to be able for them to help spread causes, unless through viral memes or matters of the heart, and this is where politicians must come into their own to really get ahead on Social Media.