It was social media that would decide the election- or so they said.
The traditional right wing newspaper and other media are losing their power to the force of the new media online- is what they told us.
And yet, when the election came round the hopes and dreams of all the right wing media came joyously (for them) true.
#Milifandom was a hit!
The #GreenSurge was huge!
Where did all those hashtag users go when it came down to cold, hard crosses in the box on election day?
If we analyse Twitter- as more people than there are hashtags seem to do- we can see that some of the biggest Social Media trends have all favoured Labour or other smaller parties such as the Greens.
One of the biggest Twitter trends this year have been the double-whammy of #CameronMustGo and #GetCameronOut which dwarfed even Beyonce in sheer volume.
In response there was a meagre trend for the #Cameronettes – which it has to be said is one of the creepiest trends in the world, as surely only someone with a penchant for the type of sado-masochism that can only be delivered from the most expensive of private schools (a sort of 50 shades of boys’ shower-rooms) would use this hashtag!
If we look at the traffic we clearly see that the tories were absolutely pummelled in the social media war:
And yet here we are- the other side of May 7th with a majority Tory Government.
However this happened, as I am sure that there are innumerable reasons one thing is for sure- social media did next to nothing.
But why. Well there are a few reasons:
1. People don’t go on social media to make their voting decisions
You can make as many witty hashtags as you want but the only people listening to them are the people who already agree with you. Those who don’t, but are interested in politics will either unfollow you, block you, or laugh at you. So in short political hashtags have zero impact in changing people’s minds.
2. The majority of voters don’t use social media much
The majority of voters are old, and rich and have no need for tweeting or writing statuses or keeping up to date with the latest trends and how people are using them. Until all the young voters show out in force the oldsters will win out every time. If you could vote with an app or by pushing the red button (or green button if you’re so inclined) on your remote then elections would go in a seriously different way!
3. Old people still get their opinions from Newspapers
People are so sucked in by the media that the Sun were able to run a pro-SNP front page in Scotland and an anti-SNP front page in England on the SAME day, and clearly people were OK with that?!
Old people don’t use Twitter, they certainly don’t go there to get their opinions but they do read papers and they STILL have a huge impact on people’s opinions. Until we get a change in media coverage in this country the right wing parties will always do well.
Having criticised social media, it can be a force for good. Although it doesn’t change minds, it galvanises people, and brings them together. You can be a force for good with social media if you want, and you should.
You might not get people to change what mama and papa taught them but you might get your charities heard, you might get people to petition and give up their time for a cause that they believe in and you might make a real difference.
So use social media and wield its mighty power! There’s no point swinging it at the giant shields of ingrained belief- this will only be deflected right back at you. Instead, find the weak points, and the soft spots and attack, prevail and change the world for the better!