The Social Election isn’t intended to predict the real election – it is designed to show who would win if instead of counting crosses on ballot papers, we counted social media influence (as measured in clicks, likes, follows, retweets, favourites and views…). Individuals are elected based on who we care most about digitally.
Social media, like any medium, has some interesting biases which will have affected the results:
- the homebound now have a say,
- the interactions and views of teenagers count
- the busy and the lazy get to see their views count in the social election (simply watching a youtube video from a candidate will have scored them points)
- the views of the digitally excluded (e.g. senior citizens, those with no internet) are longer counted
Yet an interesting picture emerges, some of which mirrors what has been happening in the real life campaign trail:
- the labour social media vote dipped and then rose during the campaign – perhaps because people got to know Ed Miliband?
- the conservatives went from bad to worse – perhaps because they refused to deviate from a few campaign messages?
- the Green party and LIb Dems do much better digitally than they will in the physical election – perhaps because they mirror the concerns of the digital audience brought up with a global outlook?
Of course we’re the first to admit there will be many flaws with any digital algorithm. Also, with limited resources, we have inevitably missed a few candidates off the list and made mistakes here and there for which we apologise. Next time round we’ll make fewer mistakes.
The Social Election gives us a different way to choose who should rule us. In 100 years time we will all be digital natives. What then for politics and the way we vote? Should we stick to the vote as turnout declines and voter apathy grows or should we embrace new mediums? The choice is yours.