At the moment the UK is in the middle of a general election, which will select the government for the next four or five years. Last night in the UK the leaders of the three main parties held a televised debate, which, amazingly, was the first time a televised debate had been held in the UK.
The Twitter back-channel last night really came of age, with over 184,000 tweets being sent, using the hashtag #leadersdebate. The question that the volume of Twitter raises in my mind is whether it was simply a bunch of voyeurs, a new version of the ‘chattering classes’, or were the people Tweeting the avant guarde, i.e. shock troops who will initiate change, perhaps by contributing to momentum?
This article from the Telegraph (a pro-Conservative newspaper) has a good analysis of the different media (traditional and social) and they way they interacted with the debate.
Between now and May 6 (election day) the UK is likely to conduct an enormous experiment in the role of Twitter and social media in elections, along with extensive use of traditional routes such as billboards, phone, and mail. Note, the UK does not permit TV advertising for political parties.