Is 2015 the year for a Social Media Election? In just under a year’s time the nation will be getting ready to cast their vote for the 2015 UK General Election. Parties are already discussing battle tactics to make sure they win over the youths vote. In this election political parties will take to social media to articulate there polices, instead of going about it the ‘old fashioned’ way, by putting leaflets through the postbox and having large posters at the roadside. Social media is shaping the political debate and could be the key way to encourage youths to have a say in the public sphere. Will the youth of the day sway the political vote if they are opened up to more political knowledge via social networking sites?
It is evident that voting has changed in the last few of decades. Sixty years ago we saw the first television election, with Anthony Eden’s Government using the exciting new medium to reach the BBC’s 12 million viewers. Since social media has taken the world by storm, why shouldn’t the medium be used in the election? Will society see the first “genuine social media election” in 2015, with online platforms having a deciding effect on voting day.
According to voting campaigners, it is said that this election will be about capturing ‘the hearts and minds of Britain’s youth’. Politicians are aware that they’re missing the youth’s vote. Young people are literally glued to their smartphones and referring to a recent study youths are on social media sites from up to a shocking 44.5 hours a week. Youths are social media machines; their lives basically depend on it. With over 15 million people in the UK now on Twitter, political parties need to recognize the importance of it at a time when the influence of print and broadcast journalism is in decline.
Society should definitely admire Barak Obama’s PR and marketing strategies. His campaigns have captivated the globe and got the whole world talking. He inspired people to vote and was so determined to change the future a
ll through the medium of social media.
It is essential for politicians to follow in Obama’s footsteps and adopt his ‘online style and approach’ if they want to be successful in this election. They need to embrace social media to communicate their principles and promises.
Obama is a keen social media user and is followed on Twitter by one in five of the nation’s youth. In the UK, David Cameron is followed by 13%, Ed Miliband by 8%, Nick Clegg by 6% and Nigel Farage by 5.4%. Politicians will now be trying to communicate their policies in just 140 characters. This will make it easier for youths to digest their strategies. In the 2010 General Election, the youth turnout was 44%, and only 32% of 18-24 year olds said that they’re absolutely certain to vote in 2015, compared with 74% of those over 65.
If any political party is serious about winning, they should definitely think about how to master social media, especially when it comes to targeting the votes of youths. 18-24 year olds are more likely to go on social media for their political knowledge than to any other media platform.