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What the news-makers are saying about current issues on social media…
A discussion on the media, journalism, social media, technology and modern day politics.
Jul 18
2014

The Scottish Independence Referendum – the failings of the vote yes social media campaign…

Joe Ibrahim

The referendum on Scottish independence is a huge talking point, and nowhere more so than among politicians themselves. But what effect is this political conversation having on the polls? The short answer is ‘not a lot’. While there is far more noise being generated by the yes campaign (with 70% of the posts supporting vote yes), the results from the polls show that around 60% of decided voters are still going to vote no. Could the social media campaign have been more effective? Yatterbox has had a look at the figures.

One key problem for vote yes has been the lack of individual politicians supporting their cause. Although they are creating more noise, there are fewer politicians arguing for vote yes. Of the 151 politicians posting about the referendum, only 47 are in the vote yes camp  and one third of all vote yes posts came from just two politicians – Christina McKelvie and Angus Macneil. This means that the Yes campaign is limited in terms of the breadth of its readership on social media. Sending the same message to the same group of followers over and over may have less effect than a more diverse campaign that reaches more people.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the polls match more closely with the numbers of politicians campaigning for each side than they do with the amount of noise being made by the respective camps.

pie charts

It is also interesting to look at the support bases for each side: vote no have seen posts from members of 8 different political parties (including Labour, Conservatives, Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats), whereas vote yes has only received posts from 2 (the SNP and Plaid Cymru) with 90% of posts coming from the SNP. This exacerbates the problem of a lack of breadth to yes campaign’s readership.

But this isn’t the whole story. We have seen some powerful campaigns pushed by just one politician or a small group of individuals. Stella Creasy, for example, was influential in the #banknotes and #onebillionrising campaigns. So why is it different for the yes campaign?

Compare the following campaign tweets from Angus MacNeil and Christina McKelvie with one from Stella Creasy:

combined tweets

The argument from Angus MacNeil seems only tangentially relevant to the independence debate and Christina McKelvie’s post doesn’t present any idea in the message itself. In contrast, the third post from Stella Creasy has a clear idea (we should celebrate women), a clear and simple objective (get the Prime Minister to agree with this statement) and a clear action (RT if you agree). This seems more effective.

With the yes campaign making up 70% of the social media conversation from MPs, it seems that it is putting concerted effort into using social media as a campaign tool. But achieving an impact on social media requires more than just creating a lot of noise. We are seeing more and more political and brand campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, but in this case, at least, it seems like the Yes campaign is falling short of the mark.

Posted in Political Monitoring, Scotland, Social Media |
Jul 16
2014

PMQs 16 July 2014

James Donald

This week’s reshuffle was the top issue in the final PMQs before the summer recess with questions from both Ed Miliband and the backbenches.

Miliband decided to focus on Michael Gove’s move from Education Secretary to Chief Whip but there was little reaction from MPs on Twitter to either this or women in the Cabinet.

In an exchange on the economy David Cameron accused Labour of wanting to raise taxes for middle earners. Several pundits on Twitter predicted this will be a common Conservative line in the run up to the election, unless Labour rule it out.

PMQs 16 Jul Small

Posted in Infographics, PMQs |
Jul 09
2014

PMQs 9 July 2014

James Donald

Ed Miliband returned to A&E waiting times after the House of Commons Library called David Cameron’s claims in PMQs last week ‘simplistic’. Cameron refused to admit fault, but it was widely felt by journalists that Miliband hadn’t landed the blows he might have.

Miliband also raised questions on recent alleged child abuse cases. Cameron’s view that it ‘may well be time’ to make failure to report abuse a crime drew particular attention on Twitter.

PMQs 9 Jul Small

Posted in Infographics, PMQs |
Jul 02
2014

PMQs 2 July 2014

James Donald

The NHS was the top issue in today’s PMQs with Ed Miliband particularly interested in access to cancer treatment. In response David Cameron was quick to bring up the Labour run NHS in Wales, but Miliband claimed he only wanted to talk about Wales because he didn’t want to talk about his record in England.

Several journalists saw this line of questioning as an attempt for Miliband to escape his troubles by focusing on Labour’s strongest issue.

Two questions on rent prices provoked a reaction on Twitter. Diane Abbott asked about tenants in her constituency facing steep increases and Jeremy Corbyn called for rent controls claiming “social cleansing is coming to London” because of high prices.

PMQs 2 Jul Small

Posted in Infographics, PMQs |
Jun 25
2014

PMQs 25 June 2014

James Donald

After a quiet PMQs last week MPs had more to tweet about today with Andy Coulson’s guilty verdict in the hacking trial.

Miliband used all his questions on Coulson pushing Cameron on his judgement and the vetting process at the time of the appointment. Cameron’s main defence was the findings of the Leveson Inquiry, which he repeatedly used in response to Miliband.

Towards the end of the session a question from Sir Gerald Howarth on Juncker and the European Commission presidency rallied Conservative backbenchers and ensured there were some tweets on something other than Coulson.

PMQs 25 Jun Small

Posted in Infographics, PMQs |
Jun 18
2014

PMQs 18 June 2014

James Donald

Iraq was the top issue in today’s PMQs with questions on the ongoing crisis from backbenchers as well as Ed Miliband. A range of factors in the current situation were covered including the problem of British militants, Iran’s position, and what aid is being given by Britain.

There was no shortage of tweets from journalists and commentators on Iraq, but MPs tweeted less about the issue. Labour in particular were quieter than usual especially during Cameron and Miliband’s exchange. They did however have a little more to say when Natascha Engel asked a question about NHS waiting times signalling the return of some partisan points scoring.

PMQs 18 Jun Small

Posted in Infographics, PMQs |
Jun 11
2014

PMQs 11 June 2014

James Donald

With the Queen’s Speech last week, today saw the first PMQs of this session. Ed Miliband split his questions between attacks on the Department for Education, following the row over extremism, and the Home Office after passport delays. The Labour party were clearly keen to push these issues hard in contrast to the Government whose MPs tweeted less than usual.

PMQs 11 Jun Small

Posted in Infographics, PMQs |
Jun 04
2014

Lib Dems tweet most about the Queen’s Speech

James Donald

After heavy losses in the local and European elections, and speculation about Nick Clegg’s leadership, Liberal Democrat MPs have been the most vocal on Twitter about the Queen’s Speech.

This is a reversal of what we usually see at parliamentary events, with the coalition partners tweeting the most and Labour being the quieter party. The Lib Dems seem to be making a conscious effort on Twitter today after a difficult few weeks.

The top issues in the speech were the pension bills, childcare reforms, and right of recall.

Queens Speech Small

Posted in Infographics |
May 14
2014

PMQs 14 May 2014

James Donald

PMQs 14 May Small

Posted in Infographics, PMQs |
May 14
2014

AstraZeneca / Pfizer row: a social media analysis

James Donald

The row over Pfizer’s proposed takeover of AstraZeneca shows no signs of dying down. There have been thousands of tweets from journalists covering the story, and with Pfizer and AstraZeneca bosses appearing in front of the the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee yesterday this week has seen the most tweets about the story so far.

MPs have also taken to Twitter to voice their opinions with over 500 tweets from them since this was announced. Labour have been the most vocal party in their opposition to the takeover, pointing to previous job losses in Sandwich and Sweden. Conservative MPs in contrast have accused Ed Miliband and Labour of being anti-capitalist.

Pfizer Infographic Small

Posted in Infographics |