Can we click it? (Yes, we can) – Politics and the internet

The revolution will be tweeted? Well, it was in Moldova.

Two more stories which show that politicians and the mainstream press underestimate new media at their peril:

From Jemima Kiss at the Guardian: has taken the ‘brave’ decision to publish a live Twitterfall stream of #budget tags on its Budget 2009 homepage.

Sounds simple enough, but, as some of Twitter’s more mischievous users have demonstrated, it does rather leave the Telegraph website open to editorial sabotage. Anything with a budget hashtag makes the page. Some moderation required, me thinks.

The Telegraph has now removed Twitterfall from its Budget 2009 homepage, but only after plenty of irreverent Tweeps had had their say, including:

worldsmycountry: Breaking news: Barclay Brothers to pick up your tax bill in unprecedented act of philanthropy. #Budget

natmandu: Can anyone offer any tips? I have parked my Range Rover in my hallway by accident and now I can’t #budget.

natmandu: Subliminal message: b u y a d i f f e r e n t n e w s p a p e r #budget

I don’t know whether to be annoyed or relieved that James Graham wasn’t in there, hashjacking* with the rest of ’em – but why not – media should be democratic, for and by individuals who can define the terms of the debate.

And from Pew Internet in the US, thoughts on the internet’s role in Campaign 2008:

Some 74% of internet users–representing 55% of the entire adult population–went online in 2008 to get involved in the political process or to get news and information about the election. This marks the first time that a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey has found that more than half of the voting-age population used the internet to get involved in the political process during an election year.

Several online activities rose to prominence in 2008. In particular, Americans were eager to share their views on the race with others and to take part in the online debate on social media sites such as blogs and social networking sites. Among the key findings of our survey:

Nearly one in five (18%) internet users posted their thoughts, comments or questions about the campaign on an online forum such as a blog or social networking site.
Fully 45% of internet users went online to watch a video related to the campaign.

One in three internet users forwarded political content to others. Indeed, the sharing of political content (whether writing and commentary or audio and video clips) increased notably over the course of the 2008 election cycle. While young adults led the way in many political activities, seniors were highly engaged in forwarding political content to their friends and family members.

Young voters continued to engage heavily in the political debate on social networking sites. Fully 83% of those age 18-24 have a social networking profile, and two-thirds of young profile owners took part in some form of political activity on these sites in 2008.

The relative importance of the internet also continued to grow within the overall political media ecosystem. Among the entire population (internet users and non-users alike) the internet is now equal to newspapers and roughly twice as important as radio as a source of election news and information. Among internet users and young adults, these differences are even more magnified.

(Hat-tip: tweetminster)

*I can’t believe I typed “hashjacking”, either. With a straight face. It’s not even on Urban Dictionary. Off to scrub myself clean with a wire brush now…

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This entry was posted in News and Online politics.


  • Chris Keating 20th Apr '09 - 7:28pm

    One of the problems with Twitter. There is no mechanism (yet) to filter out unconstructive contributions. While that’s fine when it’s you twittering to your friends, it does mean that making Twitter your front page is asking for trouble.

    Open projects which have no mechanism to validate contributions can often degenerate – just look at Usenet.

  • “Hashjacking” is an excellent word and I shall now be using it daily! Even if that means engaging in hashjacking myself so that I can use it to explain what I’m up to.

  • Twitter is SO annoying. Will it die already?

    And there are like 200 people who Twitter in Moldova and none of them are representative. Such lazy journalism.

  • Helen Duffett Helen Duffett 10th Jul '12 - 1:13pm

    So helpful 😉

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