Response to @TonyLbxl’s "Will 2014 be Europe’s Twitter election?"

 

breaking-free- with stars-with EP2014

Tony Lockett asked the question will Twitter play a similar role to the one it played in the US 2012 presidential elections during the 2014 European elections?

As a hyper-active Twitter user both personally and professionally, this has been a question I have been asking myself when trying to plan my election campaign and been asked by a number of  friends. I even participated in a debate at Europe House in London about the question in November.

I wonder if an increase in broadcasters and celebrities on Twitter as well as Twitter is becoming more mainstream and advertisement driven will reduce the importance of Twitter in the elections. Twitter will be an important media for the election, but perhaps the invasion of mainstream-mediatypes to Twitter means that the prediction that “tweeters, not bloggers or pundits, will decide debate winners as politics shifts from a 24-hour news cycle to a 140-character one” no longer is valid for the overall twittersphere, but may still be in certain circles as Twittersphere becomes more fragmented with more users and more different types of users.

At least in Denmark, I haven’t seen signs of a full use of “online outreach, social media mobilization, and data mining” in the election campaign. It feels a bit more haphazard and instinctive rather than fact based.

There definitely is a Europe debate going on via Twitter and the internet, I think this will slowly but surely build up the missing European debate even if the traditional national mono-lingual media may not be willing to accept this as it is a threat to their business models. Trans-European media seem to still have a rough time and may never really work. Perhaps the network of http://www.thelocal.com/ may work even if this only is in English but so are the main EU-media such as FT.com, TheEconomist and EUobserver.

Twitter is very important for me in the election campaign just as it is for the rest of my life and communication. However, I don’t think that Twitter on its own will be a determining factor for my result in the election, it will need to be supplemented by other ways of interacting and getting to know the voters. Being in an EU-country that has an open list system however gives me the possibility in the first place of making a difference by drawing attention to myself as voters can make a difference in the election result via personal votes.

For the municipal elections in Denmark, Twitter and social media did not have as large an impact as the social media pundits had predicted though the pundit will never admit. Perhaps the European Elections will be different because the electoral district is so much larger. Denmark is one district for the EP elections. But I guess time will tell.

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Karen Melchior

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