The influence of social media in elections

There’s a fantastic article about the influence of social media on elections on Under Strict Embargo.  In it, he disputes Weber Shandwick’s (leading PR agency) assertion that social media will have minimal impact at the next general election. 

Weber Shandwick hold this opinion on account of a consumer survey which found that only 5% of voters would be influenced by things they have seen on social media sites, whilst 59% site national /regional print and broadcast media.

As Daljit rightly points out, traditional media doesn’t sit in a silo from social media.  Social media can and does have a profound impact on the news agenda.  Recent examples of social media campaigns that have picked up significant coverage in the mainstream media include the ‘We love the NHS’ campaign, the Damian McBride affair and the Cambourne / Jedward advert.

I’d be willing to bet that in the run-up to pollling day there will be many more bits of content, seeded on social media, that will end up having a significant impact on the narrative of this election.

Change We See

Greig City Academy
Greig City Academy

The Labour Party have launched a fantastic new social media campaign.  They’re inviting supporters to take photographs of local hospitals that have been rebuilt, Sure Start start centres that have been opened or local schools that have been invested in since 1997.  An example of an image from the campaign’s flickr site above.

Supporters are encouraged to upload photos to twitter and facebook, or email them in to be uploaded to their flickr page.  Once a significant volume of photos have been uploaded the Labour Party will have a resource (which can be used in campaign materials at a later date) that visually depicts in a powerful way the impact the Labour government has had in local areas across the country, and will have engaged the grass roots along the way.

This is a great response to the communication dilemma I outlined earlier in the week.