General Election 2019 and the role of social media

As the UK gears up for an election on 12th December, there is no doubt you will have noticed that your social media accounts are being flooded with screenshots of political tweets alongside other posts, ads and conversations. Social media is now a BIG media platform for the political parties and politicians and it is no surprise when you consider the two together.

The relationship between politics and social media

Social media was conceived and created to connect people together. Over time, this has evolved so you aren’t just connecting with your friends and family but also connecting with people and brands via common interests, causes and conversations.

Which means that very quickly social media and politics have now begun to co-exist; political conversations are triggered and opinions are shared and discussed on social media.

And when you look at the number of people on social…

There are now a staggering 3.48 billion social media users. And while not all of these users are eligible to vote in a UK election, the interconnected world of social media means that political opinions spread like wildfire. 

After all, politics is a passionate subject indeed and social media is ably placed to facilitate the rapid spread of shared passion to many other followers.

And it’s happening NOW!

Social media delivers real-time views to the wider world vs times past. Look back 20 years and candidate speeches that were televised might be discussed at work and in the newspaper the next day. 

But in today’s world of social media, people are reacting and sharing to thousands of people within minutes (seconds even!) as the live speeches are made.

What does this mean for the political parties?

Whilst we as voters are busy discussing points made, this real-time, evolving conversation provides Party policymakers and key political advisers an idea of how their message is being received. By employing social listening, political parties are able to adapt their campaigns within hours instead of weeks or months.

But everything they post on social media needs to be considered and fact-checked several times before it goes live. One small mistake can quickly become viral.

And don’t forget that personalised contact

With very focused social media advertising options available on some platforms for political advertising, parties can now take advantage of speaking to the exact audience they are trying to reach with a targeted message based on who they are and where they are. (Though social media giants and internet companies are under growing pressure to curb the spread of misinformation around political campaign – for instance, Twitter has now banned all political advertising globally).

Our final word

So it’s no surprise then that the two – politics and social media – are so entwined as they both ladder back to real-world and often real-time conversations and community.

But our true final word is that, on 12th December, make sure you go out and VOTE!

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