More than three in four (77%) of the public would vote via the internet in the general election if given the choice, according to a survey. Some 1,000 people were asked for their views on the use of social media in politics.
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- 24% thought Twitter was an essential communication tool in a democracy
- 27% would be encouraged to vote for an MP if contacted by one on social networking sites although 48% who would not
- 30% would go online if they wanted to donate cash to a political party while 12% would use the phone
- One in six thought Moe Szyslak, the grumpy barman from The Simpsons, was a political blogger
- 27% successfully identified Guido Fawkes
- 13% admitted having an MP as a friend on Facebook
Eb Adeyeri, digital PR director at Lewis Communications, which carried out the survey, said, "Many commentators believe this will be the UK's first internet election with politicians exploiting channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, to convey their message.
"Online campaigns are measurable; are a great way to engage people in real-time; and are clearly going to feature prominently in this election. With more than half of respondents visiting political websites and three-quarters expressing an interest in voting online, it is imperative that parties recognise and build on this interest.
"However, there are rules that the parties need to follow if they are to successfully engage with the electorate using social media. A badly-focused social media campaign could do more harm than good as Gordon Brown discovered with his infamous YouTube appearance."