It’s hard to argue that this year’s campaign hasn’t delivered a new dynamic. No general election before has featured social media so intensely as this year’s. Without doubt it’s meant that politicians and political parties know they have another platform in which they have to be on top of their game. And there’s the rub. While social media can be a great platform for politicians, but let’s be frank, it can also make them look a bit silly – c.f. David Cameron’s ‘phone selfie’ to Obama and Ed Balls tweeting his own name.
So without further ado, let’s celebrate the daft, the inadvertently funny and the cleverly amusing, with a look at some of the top social media moments of this campaign!
5 – Put-down of the election goes to…. Ruth Davidson!
Yes, Ruth Davidson managed to whip up another Twitter storm with this simple, disarming put-down to a serious political point that did the social media equivalent of cheekily pulling the carpet out from under her opponent’s feet. Just count the number of re-tweets, which shot up much like Davidson’s personal rating figures in this campaign, and you’ll see what benefits a fundamentally good-natured twitter presence underlying serious messages can reap.
4 – Battle of the pockets!
For me, this is probably the most memorable social media meme of the campaign.
No sooner had the Tories put out the one on the right to decry potential SNP influence over a Labour government than a meme was born and things in pockets were all the rage. Cue the PM looking like a disconsolate baby kangaroo in a Murdoch-shaped pouch, Alex Salmond eyeing up a Solero (see below for more on what that’s all about) and much else besides.
This was the election that the heady combination of Photoshop and people with too much time on their hands came into its own, with mixed consequences for all!
3 – #Milifandom vs #Cameronettes
For those unaware of the phenomenon, #Milifandom is the hashtag that Ed Miliband’s legion (we think that’s the term) fans have been using to show their support for the Labour leader. Not to be outdone, the #Cameronettes responded, though it’s probably fair to say it never really took off as much as Ed’s. With this bout, naturally a whole host of photoshopped images emerged, as did great hilarity.
Yet there was an effect that went beyond social media, with Mr Miliband thereafter able to cite the hashtag in speeches in a self-deprecating way that might just stand him in good stead with voters next week.
2 – #Dollgate
Possibly the most ridiculous and funny social media story of them all is #Dollgate. This comes from a story in The Sun referring to how Sturgeon used to pull the hair out of her dolls’ head when she was a child – supposedly an early sign of how ruthless a politician she was going to be.
It must have been a slow news day, but the ‘story’ was quickly transformed into a fun opportunity when the FM – who does all her own tweets, and does them well – responded in perfect light-touch fashion, much to her supporters’ delight.
1 – Ruth Davidson’s Solero moment
So, back to Soleros. What is so special about this re-enactment and what is so special about Soleros you might ask? Well, those who have followed #Solerogate will need no introduction, but few are as closely acquainted with its many nuances and threads as Buzzfeed’s Jamie Ross (pictured on the right) so I’ll let you read more about his legendary search here.
Got it? Ok, so for combining sheer social media chutzpah with clear ice cream-based generosity of spirit on a sunny day, my twitter moment of GE2015 goes to Ruth Davidson (and Jamie Ross) for standing on the shoulders of giants, even if it all had absolutely nothing to do with the campaign and everything to do with making their followers chuckle. We salute you!