Yes, it’s true. #BBCtrending has finally deigned to notice what – according to its own report – six million of us have already realised: That a hashtag campaign on Twitter called #CameronMustGo is proving very popular.
To put that in context – and because Yr Obdt Srvt has just been debating the extent of the campaign’s reach, on Twitter, with a right-wing naysayer – this means around one-third of the UK’s Twitter users are likely to have seen at least one #CameronMustGo tweet.
The naysayer was quick to point out that not all those reading the tweets will have been sympathisers – “many will be laughing at it like I am” – and this is true. But the intention was not to sway public opinion so far that it forces his resignation, according to one of the people who started it, and who is quoted saying as much in the article.
(You see, we know that Cameron is so insensitive he wouldn’t resign just because large numbers of people demanded it! We don’t even know what he’ll do when he loses next year’s election!)
“‘It’s not about forcing Cameron to resign,’ Gail, 33, told BBC Trending… Rather, she says, it’s about enabling people to talk about their views and experiences. ‘We know a lot of people who are frustrated with politics and they feel they don’t have a voice. Social media is our space.'”
The article went on to claim that “people using the slogan have also been targeting The Guardian and BBC Trending to try to get media coverage for the trend – and so boost its popularity further”. Oh, really?
You know by now that an Oh, really? on this site means somebody’s got it wrong again and this time it’s the BBC, which seems to have suddenly developed an over-inflated opinion of itself. The BBC was targeted after it failed to cover the huge popularity of the campaign at the appropriate time. The statistics in its own report show that #CameronMustGo doesn’t need the BBC to improve its popularity.
What a shame the report did not highlight some of the more off-colour reactions to the campaign – like the targeting of Jack Monroe over her tweet, by spiteful right-wingers who wanted to take a high-profile leftie scalp in revenge for the damage #CameronMustGo is causing them. The subject of her tweet had been well covered previously – by this very site, for one – proving that the targeting of Jack was strategic, and unwarranted.
But the article does ask a pertinent question about the campaign’s effect on politics: “So could this be the beginning of a new phase of British ‘hashtag politics’? No, according to Andrew Walker, co-founder of social media analytics company, Tweetminster. ‘I give it two weeks,’ he tells BBC Trending.”
What a shame Vox Political never kept the tweet that appeared within the first hour of the campaign, claiming it wouldn’t last more than a few hours. The Metro newsrag also suggested it was a mass whinge that wouldn’t last more than a few days. Both are being proved wrong – perhaps Mr Walker can make it a hat trick.
“He says hashtags can quickly become popular on Twitter, but it’s difficult to keep a campaign rolling, as new catchphrases are coined and catch on. And while social media is effective at influencing local politics, it’s less effective at making a big impact on national politics, where voting behaviour is hard to shift, he says, noting that 29.6% of seats have never changed party.”
Clearly Mr Walker hasn’t taken account of the fact that Cameron and the Coalition are making new mistakes all the time, and #CameronMustGo has become a convenient peg on which to hang tweets about them. So, for example, VP‘s tweet yesterday, combining it with Rachel Reeves’ speech: “
#CameronMustGo because he has done nothing about Iain Duncan Smith’s #ToryWelfareWaste“.
Despite what the BBC and its stooges may say, it seems likely that this phenomenon will stay with us for a few days yet. After all, if it can beat the social media juggernaut that is I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here to the top spot, it’s got legs.
Even if it doesn’t last, its effect will echo on. There will be new campaigns, and they will try to equal or beat the impact of this one.
That’s not bad going for a “mass whinge”.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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