It was social media that lost it for May
It’s one week since the results of the general election revealed that we’d woken up to a hung parliament.
How did Theresa May contrive to lose her majority and a huge lead in the polls and how did Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn turn it around despite getting battered by the Tory-supporting press?
The disastrous ‘dementia tax’, wafer thin manifesto and her non-appearance in the TV debate showed May to be out-of-touch while Corbyn’s impressive performances in front of big rallies added to his reputation as a man of the people.
However, the crucial difference was Corbyn won the social media battle over May hands down by galvanising millions of young voters.
I only appreciated this when I visited London on Wednesday. As I walked through the capital I was struck by all the pro-Corbyn and socialist posters that were everywhere.
Every lamp-post around Euston Station was plastered with a Labour poster.
I spotted several discarded ‘I’m voting Labour’ stickers that were stuck to the pavement. The Tories may have won in their Conservative heartlands but they got spanked in London, losing four seats to a rampant Labour.
I picked up copy of the Evening Standard (I still can’t believe George Osborne is the editor!) and sandwiched between all the photos of the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower was a fascinating story about how Corbyn won the social media battle.
Labour successfully galvanised hundreds of thousands of young voters through Facebook and Twitter to deliver the shock election result.
According to Corbyn’s official Twitter and Facebook pages posted 925 messages over the election campaign, receiving 2.8 million shares.
In contrast Mrs May’s incredibly dull pages posted just 159 times and her messages were shared just 130,000 times.
Some people have suggested that May doesn’t get the power of social media because of her age but at 60 she’s eight years younger than Corbyn.
Corbyn began the election with more than twice the number of followers as the PM on both platforms, but he also saw a huge growth in the number of supporters, which May failed to match.
According to the Evening Standard article both Mr Corbyn’s Twitter and Facebook pages grew their followers by about 45 per cent over the course of the campaign, from 850,000 each to more than 1.2 million apiece.
May’s followers grew by 20 per cent from a small base.
If you’re having problems sleeping read May’s election tweets because they’re devoid of any personality.
Labour’s posts were shared almost three times more than those of Conservatives.
Meanwhile, the Sun and Daily Mail’s ferocious anti-Corbyn coverage just inspired young voters to rally behind the underdog.
While Fleet Street’s influence has waned the rise of blogs and websites like Another Angry Voice, The London Economic, The Canary and Evolve Politics have grown among digital natives and their stories have been shared millions of times.
Politicians have to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to understanding the power of social media.
I believe the days of the Sun’s famous headline ‘It’sThe Sun Wot Won It’ headline about the 1992 general election result won’t be repeated.
Labour still lost the election but they won the social media war.