It’s no secret that social networks like Facebook and Twitter have changed how the entire world communicates, including how we talk to our leaders. Until very recently you had to write to your MP or picket Westminster to get a point across. Now you can tweet to @David_Cameron during your lunchbreak whilst slurping a Cappuccino.  Just how did we get here? 

Well, like any big brand, every political group ranging from UKIP to the Green Party has been forced to migrate onto the internet in order to retain a voice, especially at a time where our Facebook profiles speak louder and wider than any other form of civil communication.  Furthermore, having online presence allows politicians to appeal to its most avid users- you, since 89% of 18-29 year olds have an active account on a social network [1]

However, if the medium is indeed the message, then we need to investigate what happens when that message is instantaneous.  It’s inarguable that Twitter can contribute and even instigate meaningful change- #BlackLivesMatter took    America’s racial unrest to international account. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Government could harness the hashtag to similarly beneficial effect?  On the other hand, anyone’s who has read Kanye West’s recent spat with Amber Rose will testify that that a 140-character limit doesn’t always                                 encourage thoughtful discussion.   

Besides, being online has never been a guarantee of success.  For example, when Hillary Clinton announced her presidential campaign last year, it was broadcast on YouTube to an audience of 728,509, a figure which probably quadrupled after the video was syndicated on major news channels. But did it help Clinton conquer America’s hearts and minds in the recent New Hampshire Primary, a crucial part of the presidential election which helps to determine who gets a chance to run for office?  Absolutely not, as rival candidate Bernie Sanders hoovered up 61% of the vote [2] .   

83% of Sanders’ supporters were aged 18-26 [2],  likely lured by his promises to slash student debt, and coincidentally nearly the same demographic who dominate the online boards.  Although   Clinton’s failure can be linked to her controversial past as Obama’s Secretary of State, every politician needs to learn that regardless whether you send a message by tweet or in a rousing speech , what truly matters is having something  meaningful to say.

Top 5 Political Tweeters to Follow…

  1. @BBCPolitics– Possibly the most unbiased political commentator you’ll ever find.
  2.  @POTUS– Barack Obama’s time in office may be edging to a close, but doesn’t make his feed any less informative.
  3.  @David_Cameron– Following the PM’s account is a good way to keep up to speed with Government decisions
  4.  @jeremycorbyn– Parliament is still reeling from his unprecedented rise to power.
  5.  @timfarron– The new leader of the Liberal Democrats.after their catastrophic culling at last year’s general election.

Sources:

[1]-http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

[2]-http://edition.cnn.com/election/primaries/polls/nh/Dem

 

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