There’s been a lot of talk about what Twitter and other social media platforms can do for politicians – especially in Australia where the federal election will be held tomorrow.
Stephen Collins pointed out (quite rightly) that “the average punter is still relying on the tabloids, commercial radio and mainstream evening news and current affairs for their political information”. News Limited said (probably with relief) that “it was touted as the Twitter election, but two-and-a-half weeks in it has become clear the new media is far from usurping the mainstream outlets for the political parties.”
Even more analysis was given to politician’s use of social media, particularly Twitter, where not surprisingly MPs were given a resounding #fail.
But what about the so-called “traditional media”? What has social media done for the press pack following the election campaign?
During this election period, journalists have taken to Twitter like a toddler discovering their first lollipop. They’ve been using the power of the platform to quickly share election campaign insights – everything from doorstop announcements through to behind-the-scenes fun on the tour bus (remember Latika Bourke’s great piece on John Faulkner’s discovery of Twitter? )
The election was called on 17 July but speculation started weeks before when Julia Gillard became the Prime Minister. On that day – 24 June – the Twitter follow numbers for key media tweeters jumped dramatically. Tweet accounts for @abcthedrum @samanthamaiden @annabelcrabb @latikambourke and @laurieoakes all began to rocket on that day. Previously, their numbers were quite static.
Twitter ‘quality assessment’ tools like Klout provide more insights.
Annabel Crabb has a good Klout score of 41, and Latika Bourke has a whopping 67. Both are called ‘personas’ that have built a brand around their identity. Laurie Oakes a more modest Klout of 22, though he’s been categorised as a ‘broadcaster’ (very apt). Klout tells Laurie: “You broadcast great content that spreads like wildfire. You are an essential information source in your industry. You have a large and diverse audience that values your content.”
(I’d love to know how much traffic the Twitter account @abcthedrum drives to the Drum website. Anyone got any insights?).
Social media has helped Australian political journalists to build their own personal profiles and also the profiles of their media outlets. They’ve been able to tweet links to their articles and position themselves as the people to follow for news updates. Isn’t that the ideal position for a journalist to be in?
Have you been following more media Twitter accounts? Are you following #ausvotes? Tell me about your experience …