Could Social Media be the Key to Politics?
MAXX has recently shared quite a few extracts from our favourite blogs and publications about how social media has been used in the US Republican and Democrat nomination campaigns, particularly a certain Donald Trump. But could social media be set to influence one of the biggest votes in British politics: the EU Referendum.
In the lead up to elections, alongside ‘the polls’, social media sentiment is now used as a barometer as to which way the voters are leaning. Of course, it might not always be accurate, as the story of Labour's performance in the 2015 General Election clearly demonstrated.
There is always the argument that social media posts do not give a fair reflection of the mood of the nation at large. To many, their politics and allegiance are a secretive matter. It is generally the most strongly opinionated that share online, particularly with the growing trend of people castigating the opposing side in long-winded Facebook tirades (we’ve all seen one). Many could see these posts as ineffectual, and there is a degree of truth in that. People often pick their political party based on their family’s preference, and are well rehearsed in general elections. They know what to listen out for and what policies matter to them.
This is where the EU Referendum is different. Voters haven’t done this before. They can’t just do the same as last time, or follow the same priorities as a General Election. Voters need information from both camps, to make an informed decision. And where do people in 2016 get information, the news? Social media!
Provided they don’t post a Trump-esque stance on immigration and national security, the long-winded Facebook posts may actually hold some influence. Social media, essentially the opinions of others, might not make voters change which camp they're in, but could help them find one.
A quick search of #EUReferendum on Twitter provides some great insight into the different opinions of the Public, and how many contradictory ‘facts’ you can read. For everyone who sees "Vote Leave" as uncertain, there’s someone ready to say there isn’t uncertainty, just control. The same goes for the Economy and our trading future. If social media is currently showing us one thing, it’s indecision. Maybe there are extreme views on each side with these social posts, but there’s still a clear split; with those in the middle open for persuasion.
How much will social media dictate Britain’s position in the European Union? It’s hard to say, but it will be fascinating to find out.