Social media like Twitter will be also-rans in the General Election, according to a panel of experts at the Frontline Club last night.
Instead their vote went to the unprecedented television debates between the party leaders as the media most likely to make or break the fortunes of the political parties by having the biggest influence on the electorate.
Chris Condron, head of digital strategy at the Press Association, said: "Broadcast debates with the party leaders have never been seen before...it won't be Twitter wot won it."
Political blogger Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines, agreed but said social media will have a role in the "spin room" after the debates when the leaders' performances are analysed and commented on. Guido revealed that he has been signed up as a pundit by a major broadcaster to look at how the leaders had gone down in the debates.
Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy said: "Politicians have to respond quicker and be cleverer in a world of social media." But he was sceptical about social media being controlled by parties from the top down. "If you have a 'Twitter strategy' it is probably shit," he said.
Alberto Nardelli, co-founder of Tweetminster.com., claimed social media "amplifies the best and worst of human communications."
Although many have pointed to the success of the Obama campaign in using social media, panelists felt the major factor in the victory was Obama's charisma.
Guido pointed out that most of the money raised for Obama was spent on tv advertising. Of the upcoming UK election he said: "If the product is crap people won't buy it."
Guido also said the Tories were using Facebook rather thn Twitter because it had a wider audience and was seen as being less inside the politics and media bubble. Pic (left to right) Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Alberto Nardelli, moderator Sky News' Niall Paterson, Guido Fawkes, Chris Condron.
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