FIRST PAST THE (TWITTER) POST?

FIRST PAST THE (TWITTER) POST?

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Cast your mind back to 2010 – a year that saw pop sweetheart Cheryl split from hubby, Ashley Cole; fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead at home; and presenter Adrian Chiles ditched the Beeb to join ITV. Of course, it was also the year that David Cameron became Prime Minister following a much-publicised battle with Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown.

And, as the nation’s political heavyweights gear up for another general election, we should probably prepare ourselves for five months of promises, pledges and policies. However, it’ll be interesting to see how the key players in the battle for number 10 try to appeal to the younger end of the electorate.

This week, controversial leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, has been named as the top tweeter among the country’s senior politicians.

Farage sent 258 tweets last month, beating rival Ed Milliband, who totalled 173 tweets. According to Talkwalker – the social media monitoring service behind the study – a number of senior politicians were more active on Twitter than the majority of the FTSE100 CEOs.

With Labour leader Ed Milliband recently pledging to speak to more than four million people during the course of his election campaign, it raises the question of what role social media will play in the fight for votes. Last time we headed to the polls, Twitter existed, of course, but it seemed reserved for celebrities and sales-hungry bars and restaurants.

Now, it seems that David Cameron and co may have to take to their tablets to engage with the ever-elusive young voter. While door-to-door canvassing is still the traditional method of choice for rallying supporters, it may be prudent for candidates to think about how they can form a strong following (both literally and via social media) ahead of May.

It will be interesting – and possibly entertaining – to see how those gunning for the top spot use their social media personas to their advantage. I’m sure that hacks up and down the country will have their eyes peeled for any social slip-ups along the way – watch this space!