The left wing loves social media. Mainly because some tool claimed it was how Barack Obama won in the US.
They of course have tried themselves and failed using the same techniques so we can safely assume it wasn’t social media.
Helen Lewis at the New Statesman explains why this is.
Here’s my melodramatic theory: social media lost Labour the last election and it’s going to lose Labour the next one, too.
It sounds bonkers, doesn’t it? But look at it like this: “political Twitter”, the small subset of the social network that isn’t tweeting about One Direction or surfers being attacked by sharks, is undeniably skewed to the left. Twitter probably evolved into lefty heaven as a reaction to the right-wing dominance of the printed press, and because of the many arts and comedy bigwigs who imported their existing followings on to the platform. Most progressive commentators and columnists are on there, tweeting away several times a day, while their right-wing equivalents avoid the service altogether, or venture on very occasionally to share a link to their piece.
Then there’s Facebook, a much bigger fish, which ought to be more reflective of the wider population because it’s made of networks of schoolfriends, former colleagues, and parents and children. But news on Facebook travels through “Likes” and shares, and people won’t Like a crackdown on benefits, even if they secretly support it. A lot of what happens on Facebook, as with Twitter, is “virtue signalling” – showing off to your friends about how right on you are.
It was this “Tyranny of the Like” that had many social media users convinced that Ed Miliband could squeak the election; after all, their friends seemed to be lapping up the mansion tax and the action against non-doms. No one seemed enthused about taking £12bn off the benefit bill, or reducing the help given to disabled people.
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