General Election will be UK's first 'Twitter election' reckons Twitter head of government

Twitter: May's General Election will be 'the Twitter election' says Twitter
Twitter: May's General Election will be 'the Twitter election' says Twitter

2015 will be the UK's first ever "Twitter election here in the UK," according to Adam Sharp, Twitter's head of news, government and elections, with three-quarters of 18-34 year-old users planning on turning up at polling stations in May.

Sharp was speaking at The Guardian Changing Media Summit today (19 March). While focusing much of his speech on political campaigning in his native US, he cited various UK statistics, such as that 78% of MPs are on the platform.

He discussed a recent poll of 18-34 year-old Twitter users - a demographic that the survey revealed are more undecided than the rest of the population. Some 20% are yet to make a choice as to which party they will vote for come May, and yet with three out of four users said they intend to turn up to the polling stations and vote.

Nearly half said they joined a political or social cause because of exposure on Twitter. According to Twitter, 26% are perusing Twitter to look for meaningful information, and more than a third have changed their party affiliation because of content they have seen on Twitter.

Sharp said that Twitter would help fuel election debate for various reasons, such as providing a platform for a return to "one-on-one campaigning, or retail politics".

He also touched on the "concept of the town hall in your pocket", which he said would allow the electorate  to "connect to the process and political debate with the device you carry"; and he highlighted the ability of Twitter to gauge reaction as soon as something happen in politics, even tracing the words that are driving conversations.

"These all reflect the four cornerstones of what Twitter is - a distributive platform, driving public, real time conversations," he said. "What is [political] campaigning if not a massive public conversation."


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