The ultimate blind date: Oz Politics and Social Media

Two hot topics collided this week.

The Australian Federal election .. and social media. Star-crossed lovers, their eyes met across a crowded forum.

“How will social media impact the Australian federal election campaign?” was the squeal.

“Will Twitter decide any seats?” “Which pollies have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon today?” “How will political journos use Twitter during the campaign?” “Which party has the lamest YouTube video?” These are the questions swirling around the online and offline water coolers.

It’s apparent that social media and Australian federal politics have been pushed into a blind date. And the whole world is watching, like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. We want to know how the relationship will progress. Is it a match made in heaven, or will there be tears the morning after?

Of course, SocMedia and OzPolitics had heard of each other. Friends had tried to introduce them. But there’s been some hesitation. OzPolitics has been hurt before. OzPolitics is ambitious and acutely afraid of embarassment. It doesn’t have time to get to know SocMedia. It needs a relationship and it needs results – now.

Meanwhile, SocMedia suspects it’s too young and spunky for OzPolitics. SocMedia is extremely popular – it’s all about the fans. It’s already in bed with BigBusiness. It’s been taken out to glitzy places like YouTube and Facebook. It’s the centrepiece of major conferences. It’s the new subject at universities. OzPolitics could never keep up.

New relationships take time
New relationships take time
Nevertheless, SocMedia and OzPolitics have begun holding hands and tentatively stepping out together.
And, like most highly public and complicated relationships .. we all get to watch and have our say.


The TweetMP site has been set up to help us keep track of this young love: “Tweet MP documents all Federal Australian Members of Parliament on Twitter and encourages all MPs to join in order to make government more transparent. With your help, we can make Australia an even better democracy.”

This fabulous site gives you the ability to invite non-tweeting MPs to join Twitter. A form and standard note is all set up for you – and also a handy little RT option at the bottom of the page. These guys have thought of everything! You can make true love happen.

And we can follow the young couple on  Trendsmap , where it’s apparent that #ausvotes is the number one trending topic in Australia. Also, What The Hashtag logged almost 8,000 tweets using the #ausvotes hashtag on the day the election was called – 17 July –  slowing down to 4,400 the following day.  

Now, some are already calling the result of this relationship. SocMedia and OzPolitics won’t really take off – that seems to be the consensus.  Mumbrella says “This is not going to be an Obama-style social media-led uprising”. Tiphereth Gloria recently published a detailed analysis of the relationship thus far, noting that “There’s poor form overall from both Liberal and Labor”.

My relationship advice?

OzPolitics should be taking a long term view. You can’t build a relationship with SocMedia overnight. It needs to be wooed. Here’s some dating tips for OzPolitics:

– Talk to SocMedia every day; if you can’t speak, text or tweet
– When SocMedia talks to you, don’t ignore it. Respond. And respond promptly.
– Sometimes SocMedia will be grumpy. Be patient. Talk through the issues and find out what the problem is.
–Trust takes a long time to build.

And perhaps politicians could take heart from journalist Laurie Oakes, who has covered many a federal election and this year took up Twitter. Laurie has this to say: “I was a bit sceptical at first, but I quickly found myself enjoying the conversation. News travels very fast on Twitter, which is useful to someone in the news business.” His relationship seems to be a happy one.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Oli says:

    And then, there are those times in a relationship when OzPolitics gets the signs completely wrong gets a little ahead of itself and well, it can end up making a complete fool of itself in front of SocMed …

  2. Haha it wasn’t until I heard about Barrack Obama that I realised the value of social media in business and politics, I did a presentation about it back in January 2009, you can check it out here…

  3. The Australian Elections definitely is causing a major buzz, not only here in Australia but worldwide. It sure is a battle of platform for social reform, strategies, action plans, good governance and even charisma. Australians have mixed feelings about Julia Gilard and Tony Abbott. While some thinks Julia is endearing and composed during the debate on Sunday, some think she didn’t get to the specifics. Same distribution of sentiments also go out to Tony Abbott.

    What is it that Australians are looking for in their new Prime Minister? What should be focused on to determine the worthiness of the next PM? Is it their plans for climate change? Plan for controlled immigration? Focus on mental health? I’d say all of the above and much more.

    I, with my team at PeopleBrowsr conducted a study on this very momentous event. It shows how people think of each candidate and their sentiments are recorded real time. Visit for this very interesting study.

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