One Man & His Blog

The social media election that wasn't

The social media election that wasn't

Dr Bart Cammaerts of the LSE:

What is clear, however, is that social media have had no or very little impact at all. The hashtag #Milifans and the nearly 10 million followers of comedian Russell Brand did not make a difference, except then that they made many commentators, myself included, believe that a Miliband government belonged to the possibilities.

That’s the interesting lesson of last week – but I’m not sure I completely agree with the way it was expressed. Social media clearly didn’t swing it for the left, but many people – including Dr Cammaerts’ colleague Charlie Beckett – have openly theorised that the echo-chamber effect of social media may have given Labour activists a false sense of how likely victory was – and disincentives them from compaigning amongst swing voters.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the “filter bubble” effect more viscerally demonstrated than in the social media chatter around the election. I suspect that a great many people who were unaware of the idea were completely caught out when the results didn’t match their ambient online social spaces.

It’s something I’ve made a point of teaching the Interactive Journalism students about, but I’m giving serious thought to making it more important in the teaching next year.


Written by

Adam Tinworth   Adam Tinworth

Adam has been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 25. He currently works as a consultant and trainer, helping people do better, more engaged online journalism.


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