Debates and Twitter

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Prior to this weeks ‘leaders debate’ there was much discussion about how the effect of it would be defined by modern social media site – and in particular Twitter. I blogged about it here.

In the run up to the debate I joined the Democracy UK Facebook page which was keeping people up to date with election issues, and was going to have a live ‘swingometer’ for people to pass judgement on the politicians performance during the debate. It also sounded fun and would give an instant feedback from people.

However, like the actual debate, was the end result from social sites perhaps a bit of a disappointment?

Certainly as far as Twitter was concerned, the debate went to the top of the trending lists and was the most-tweeted political event ever. Over 180,000 tweets in 90 minutes by more than 38,000 Twitterers.

Compared to this nearly 10 million people watched the debate on television (it will be interesting to see if this is repeated for the next one), so the Twitter numbers look pretty insignificant. Although there may well have been far more people watching Twitter (as is very common) than the numbers who actually tweeted.

An analysis of Tweets by the BBC, looking at positive or negative comments over the 90 minutes about each leader, actually follow the other commentators views – Nick Clegg coming out on top at the end, and the Prime Minister having a positive spike after his joke about airbrushed posters. Perhaps Twitter does represent the countries views!

The Twitter 'debatecomment' data

On Facebook the voting system for the ‘swingometer’ crashed their server. Consequently no data came out of that, which is a shame as it would be interesting to compare with the Twitter result!

The off shoot of all this was that social media had little different to say and was therefore not in the news the next day as expected (although a certain volcano may also have influenced this!).

Facebook users are now hitting back with a campaign page that states:

We got rage against the machine to No1, we can get the Lib Dems into office!

Perhaps social media has found its true level within politics – or perhaps this is the average UK voters view of politics?

Roll on May 6th!

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