Some politicians slow to use social media

  • Digital
  • December 2, 2011
  • StopPress Team
Some politicians slow to use social media

New Zealand social media agency Catalyst90’s post-election Twitter analysis reveals that some MPs missed the boat by ignoring social media as a platform for strategic campaigning and positioning.

“Catalyst90’s Twitter Worm provided a good reflection of the mood and feeling of the population over the course of the election campaign,” says the managing director of Catalyst90 Tom Reidy.

“People were happy to discuss key topics, campaign faux pas and successes via social media – however, that online activity and support didn’t necessarily translate to a vote at the polling booth and represents a missed opportunity for all political parties.”

“New Zealand’s Twitter community has more than 120,000 active users. These people are generally market-savvy, well-informed and typically quite vocal.  We had expected this election to take a lead in social media based campaigning but instead saw a fall back to grassroots campaign tactics. Given the low voter turnout, you have to wonder whether tapping into social media could have attracted further votes on the day.  I would have thought this would have been a great way to reach the off-shore special vote.”

The Twitter Worm also tracked issues such as the Teacup Tapes furore, which saw a combination of both positive and negative responses to ACT, and a spike in negative discussion around National.

“We had a few interesting outcomes from the Worm that weren’t reflected in the polls. For example, in the two days before polling, Labour and ACT enjoyed a significant increase in Twitter activity, which didn’t follow through on Election Day,” says Reidy.

“At the next election, I’d  expect  to see less people waving billboards on streets and more politicians inspiring the population via social media, and ultimately winning votes that way,” says Reidy.

To view the Twitter Worm guide, visit:

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