I, like many other ‘Gen Y-can’t-I-do-everything-on-my-iPhone?’, first heard about the political events of last week while browsing my iphone for twitter, news feeds and facebook status updates, in front of the slower to react television on Wednesday night.
And feed we did.
As soon as the door shut on the then Prime Minister’s office, social networks were abuzz with the thought of a coup, thousands of tweeps all across Australia were glued to their 140 character evening dinner, with each and all sharing their pointed opinion on the ensuing #spill.
24hr news was being fed from all of this online action, with sky news reporters constantly taking advice and proclaiming news from their iphone instant news features, SMS and Twitter.
Pass the buttered corn.
Fake Julia Gillard and exPMKrudd accounts popped up like wildfire, with comical tweets like, “I’ll be your friendly and smug-free PM. The death penalty will be reintroduced for anyone who has a go at my red hair.” And from the fake exPM “How do I tell Thérèse I’m really not in the mood tonight?”.
Facebook groups, keyword and political titled domain name registration, and even a hilarious version of the Downfall bunker scene, were surfacing from all over Australia and the world. The whole online community in Australia seemed to care only about one topic, a hard ask considering England was about to play in the World Cup, and that the other users of twitter were trying to remember how to spell Beiber now that he wasn’t trending in the number 1 or 2 position.
Not only did Gillard-fever blow away Justin Beiber, but Fairfax Digital reported that the evenings traffic blew away both the Black Saturday Bushfires and Michael Jackson’s death.
Smh.com.au saw 46% higher page impressions and 66% higher hourly unique browsers than on Black Saturday. Comparatively, TheAge.com.au saw 8% higher page impressions and 61% higher hourly unique browsers.
So did the speed by which the public was reacting to the #spill bring about a quicker response to the situation? No longer did print media or radio provide the platform for public opinion, the death warrant was signed with a blue birdy, live blogging, opinion sites and one gigantic hashtag.
Political news cycles will never be the same again, Australia has shown that the major users of social media sites are news hungry, opinionated individuals who want to be part of the process, heard, and responded to at record time.
The major political parties had better dramatically increase their social media resources and responses, or risk being thrown in the bin with the leftovers at the coming last supper.
Stuart Gillies, Digital and Production Manager, EMC