Rupert Murdoch famously bollocked Kelvin MacKenzie for the Sun’s searing headline “It was the Sun what won it”. As with many things to do with Kelvin, Rupert completely misunderstood his mercurial Editor’s thought process. The headline caught the mood of the nation, other people were saying it, not Kelvin.
What the Sun had done so brilliantly was smash Neil Kinnock with ridicule right on the eve of the election with the headline “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights.” It was stunning, he came up with it before he left home. He phoned me to ask my opinion.
However, that was then. This is the first UK Election that can be said to be truly fought primarily on social media. It will be the power of Twitter and Facebook – the soundbites and lobbying – that is more likely to swing an electorate than the millions of words written by our newspapers.
The spin-doctors and media experts in each camp have poured over the Obama 2012 campaign. When he announced his candidacy in 2007, Twitter had only just started and there wasn’t even an iPhone. Facebook was the preserve of needy, over-sharers.
Four years later the media landscape looked a lot different. The number of social media tools has exploded as has the user base across all demographics. Obama nailed it.
Young people who are politically active online are twice more likely to vote than those who are not.
If JFK was the first President who really understood television, Obama was the first social media politician. In 2012, he not only had the expertise on his team, he had an established digital media machine up and running. Building relationships, building connections.
No sooner had David Cameron been to see The Queen, Martin “Bilbo Baggins” Freeman fired the first online shot with a Labour supporting video on YouTube. Within 24 hours, it got 80,000 hits, complete with the killer line “The Tories will offer you sod all.”
And that’s where this election will play out. Online, soundbites stars of all shades lining up their video message for their Party. Will it alter our opinion or how we vote? I very much doubt it.
Steve Sampson – Media ■ Innovator ■ Journalist ■ Broadcaster ■ Venturist ■ Founder and CEO Various Digital Companies