Not the social media election

March 17, 2010

Social Media World ForumThe general election will not be decided by social media. And that’s official. Sort of.

At the Social Media World Forum at Olympia yesterday, Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour’s ‘Twitter tsar’) and Craig Elder (the Conservatives’ Head of Online Communities) debated the impact of social media on British politics.

These two are leading lights in social media circles, at least political ones,  and you might have expected to hear them evangelising about the significance of things like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for the coming election.

But in fact they played down their iikely impact.

I asked them to describe how the parties’ approaches to social media differ, what elements were most important, and what impact they would have on the election result. The responses to the latter struck me as notably downbeat.

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The two interviewees are right. Social media probably have some effect in galvanising existing supporters, but they are unlikely to attract new support.

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