Thursday, 3 May 2012

Why social media is key to who wins - London Election

While most polls point to a straight fight between current Mayor of London Boris Johnson and former Mayor Ken Livingstone, floating Facebook and torn Twitter voters could tip the balance of power in the race for City Hall.

The possibilities of social media are being explored in this year's elections (Copyright: Rex)

In the four years since the last 2008 Mayoral campaign, social networking use has exploded across Britain and digital campaigning has been at the heart of much of the fight between the Conservative and Labour candidates this time around.

From Twitter feeds to YouTube videos, interactive maps and Facebook groups, both Boris and Ken have used cyberspace to target younger voters and raise awareness of specific local issues.

The other five London Mayor candidates too have taken to the online world to spread their messages.

But it’s not just the City Hall race that is benefiting from a digital push. Politics in general has recently experienced a resurgence in engagement thanks to tweets and status updates and it's hope this will give local elections - also taking place today - an extra boost.

The Electoral Commission believes technology is now playing a key part in shaping British democracy, reducing apathy among voters and ensuring people sign up to mark their "X".

During the run-up to the local elections, the Electoral Commission has worked with Facebook's Democracy UK page to push people to its website and encouraged users to pass the message on through their wall posts and statuses. (read more)

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