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Social media fails to fire up Australian election

August 26, 2013

By Paul Smith

The much-vaunted Australian social media election campaign has failed to materialise as both major parties’ attempts to land knockout online blows have fizzled, according to strategists, election experts and analysis by The Australian Financial Review.

Social media was tipped to play a bigger role than ever before in the 2013 election campaign, but with the official run up more than halfway through, only a handful of politicians have had discernible impact online and experts are questioning the wisdom of flying in overseas experts to run social operations.

Analysis conducted by the Financial Review showed Labor has so-far engaged more social media users than the Coalition, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Finance Minister Penny Wong its star performers, but the numbers are far too low to have a discernable impact.

On Twitter the individual posts that have received most attention were from Mr Rudd and Ms Wong about marriage equality, which were shared or retweeted by 1964 and 746 people respectively. On the Coalition side a post by leader Tony Abbott simply asking for retweets has been its best performer after it was retweeted 1167 times.

Prior to the election campaign, Labor had upped the ante in the social media war by hiring key members of Barack Obama’s campaign team, including “digital attack dog” Matthew McGregor.

Mr McGregor gained his reputation as a fast thinking campaigner during the last US Presidential campaign when he used social media to fan the flames of British outrage about comments made by Mitt Romney when he questioned the prowess of London’s Olympics preparations.He also marshalled a social media response unit, which seized upon gaffes and failings of Mitt Romney’s campaign and made sure as many people as possible heard about them.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said the ensuing campaign demonstrated social media remained on the margins of local politics, due the differences in voting rules.

Whereas a big social focus in US and British elections is on getting people out to vote, that is rendered irrelevant by compulsory voting in Australia.

“We have been hearing about the so-called social media election for election after election and it never really happens,” Mr Green said.

“Most of the young people targeted already vote so social media is not much use as a mobiliser and becomes an advertising medium instead, which makes it less effective.” Read more in the Financial Review.

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From → Analysis

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on SoshiTech.

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