Tag Archives: mps

Are we entering the age of the Social Media Election?

28 Mar

Caroline James @CarolineJames1

While we’re all excited about the Royal Wedding on the 29th April, it’s the 5th May I’m looking forward to.  While there’s perhaps a little less anticipation in the lead up to the AV referendum in comparison to the hysteria surrounding Kate Middleton’s dress, it marks an exciting moment for anyone looking at how journalists turn to social media to cover news stories these days.

In fact, Paul Waugh from PoliticsHome even makes a nifty comparison between past elections and the upcoming nuptials on Charlie Beckett’s POLIS blog: “It’s going to be a very social media Royal Wedding. Like the election debates, it will be TV that gets the big audiences but it will be the online networks that feel the buzz…Everyone will get a chance to have their say, regardless of the official or mass media coverage.”

So, how will coverage of the voting on the 5th May differ to what we saw last May in the General Election? We’ve already seen the BBC live blogging its election coverage and The Telegraph had an interactive election map, to name just two tools journalists have used in their past coverage.

With the arrival of the latest app – an iPhone canvassing app – this election will be what Peter Murrell, chief executive of the SNP, calls in a Caledonian Mercury article: “the first social media election”.  He claims: “the Tories spent a lot of money on social media last year but the country wasn’t quite ready. This year it is.”

And if MPs are using iPhone apps to canvas and Twitter and Facebook to connect with the electorate, you can bet your bottom dollar, the journalists won’t be far behind.  Take for example, how much discussion’s been stimulated by the referendum and, more to the point, the platforms being used on which to discuss the issues: there’s a Google groups AV debate and even a Facebook app that lets you try out AV, using polls and trivial examples:

Fun examples help the young (and typically apathetic) engage with what the referendum’s all about!

And for the journalists? Well the struggle to engage young people with politics is a subject about which the journalist typically finds much to write – even the BBC’s at it! So FB apps like this one get their own fair share of news coverage, for instance on this LSE blog post.  Social media is increasing the demographic who can follow, participate in and enjoy the upcoming election (referendum).  And the journalists have picked up on that: it’s not just straight results coverage with statistics and analysis anymore.

Twitter in Parliament

27 Mar

Ian Kearney

@iankearney

Earlier this year Twitter users were given permission to Tweet from inside the courts and now, as of yesterday, MP’s have been given the go-ahead to Tweet from inside the Chamber.

Yes I am aware that MP’s have been doing this for quite some time but the Procedure Committee have just given it the official go ahead so its safe to see we will be seeing a lot more of it now as MP’s battle it out in the obligatory popularity contest that will ensue.

Despite what the critics had to say the report dismissed them by saying:

“Banning [mobile devices] from the Chamber might make the House appear out of touch with modern life and would mean that those in the Chamber would be the last to know of breaking news widely available on the internet.”

“MPs should be allowed to use handheld electronic devices, such as iPads and smartphones, in the Chamber of the House of Commons provided that they do so with decorum and regard for others.”

All this raises a few issues. Will we see Tweet-happy MP’s spending more time hashtagging then paying attention in Commons? Will the house of Parliament look more like a classroom full of texting teens than a government? Will the public be able to sway parliamentary business by Tweeting their MP’s?

There are both positive and negative consequences of this decision and I am sure it wont be long before we start to see the results whatever they may be.