Thursday, May 6, 2010

MAXUS: Election for a new age

With the election underway, and lots of conflicting views on the role of social media in politics we thought we’d share the Maxus view!
Following on from Obama’s strong use of social media in his campaign for presidency, the UK election has tried to follow suit with parties setting up Twitter feeds and Facebook pages to encourage the masses to vote for them. But have they had an effect..?
While social media is still only reaching a smaller percentage of the population, rather than the millions reached by traditional media, it has still been testament to drawing in a younger demographic – bringing it into their social media networks on a daily basis and getting them to engage with it and form opinions of their own, a problem which has long been faced by parties previously.
While there is no doubt that social media is still becoming more relevant within our day to day life, traditional media still influences the wider population with the live TV debates drawing in approx 9 million viewers in the first airing. Work’s leading research panel found that TV registered highly at 87% with social media lagging far behind with only 7% on Twitter, 13% on Facebook and 9% on Blogs.
But social media helps create word of mouth, and influence is one of the most important factors for brands when trying to increase awareness and likeability. Friends discuss what they have seen on Facebook or comments favourite stars have made on their Twitter feed bringing the subject to the forefront of their minds and encouraging opinion forming.
Social media has certainly added a new dimension to the way political parties are campaigning and has drawn in the younger population to the debate which can only be a good thing. However, the election hasn’t been the social media election that was promised with many mistakes being made. I think political parties have a lot to learn for next time as its very difficult to control this form of communication.

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