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Encouraging the youth, Engaging the Public: Will Social Media Aid Coming Elections?

With the General elections just around the corner, the media buzz can already be felt. Static prickles spark heated debate as the familiar Party frictions force their way through the country’s conversation, animating the apathetic and dividing the undecided.

It seems that the question everyone is asking is “How will social media impact the coming elections?” Certainly the last four years have seen enormous development in the world of social networking, and the evolution of social media has probably been the most notable development in modern culture. It has hugely impacted the way we socialize and profoundly changed the way communicate, so it seems is only fitting that we acknowledge the way it is bound to change the way we vote.

It is no secret that most election campaigns aspire to attract the untapped support of the 18-24 year old demographic. They are the statistically least likely to vote of all the age groupings and it is because of this that the influence of social media so interesting; as we know, most teens and twenty-somethings’ formative years have ran parallel with the evolution of technology. And so, through teenage procrastination and exploration, much like the acquisition of language, they have unknowingly equipped themselves with the skills to navigate and understand our ever changing relationship with social media, and now politics plays a part in it, we may see an increase in the participation of young voters. 

A recent survey has suggested a third of young people think social media will influence their vote. One third of a one thousand-strong sample of 18-24 year-olds have said that social media will play a major part in influencing their voting decision. So it looks like social media will help engage what is currently the most malleable and inactive voter group.

With this in mind, and now not exclusively focused on the young, all competing parties have applied social media marketing to their respective campaigns, costs ranging from UKIP’s £100 to the Conservative’s £1,000,000, with Labour lying in the middle, spending around £10,000. The table indicates the current outreach of the Parties social networks:

The total number of politically engaged 'likers' and 'followers' indicate a huge online presence: 3,770,000! Although we must remember that this figure may include overlapping 'likes', between Party Leaders, Parties and different social networks. Also, because twitter only represents Party members, it cannot accurately indicate a party’s shared success. One may despise Cameron, yet support the conservatives, and so on. This lack of reliability also applies to Facebook likes, for example, it may seem that the green party’s leader Natalie Bennett is a relatively unpopular figure in comparison to the other party leaders, but this comes down to the fact that she has simply had less press exposure. The Green Party, however, as whole, has a following in keeping with the big boys, higher, even, than the liberal democrats.

So, in the weeks to follow we shall see who has squeezed the most success from social media.

Leo Donnelly 

Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

Encouraging the youth, Engaging the Public: Will Social Media Aid Coming Elections? Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 Rating: 5
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