Ferrier: Don't expect social media to be key in election

Ferrier: Don't expect social media to be key in election
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Julia Gillard’s surprise federal election announcement was designed to create pressure on opponent Tony Abbott, according to Naked Communications’ Adam Ferrier.

It is the first time in Australian political history a party has announced the date of an election so far in advance, but Gillard insisted yesterday did not mark the start of a campaign.

However, Ferrier told B&T despite what the prime minister had said, both parties would start their campaigns now.

He said: “An eight month campaign is long enough to create sustained pressure for the leaders of both parties. 

“We've seen under stress Gillard can react relatively well, whilst Abbott has a history of losing it. 

“I think the long term campaign is designed to create a situation of sustained pressure, during which Abbott will eventually 'crack', and resort to negative, grubby politics.”

However, he poured cold water on the hopes of some that social media would be effectively adopted, as it was in the US election at the end of last year.

He added: “Both parties still have a 'push' mentality in social media – using it as just another channel to get their messages out there.

“Neither has done anything dramatic in terms of galvanising their respective parties, and harnessing the collective voice of their supporting communities. 

“I'm not sure if either party will do this in 2013 but here's hoping.”

Media buyers have already highlighted the challenges the long build-up will pose to advertisers.

Leadership concerns have plagued both leaders, with opinion polls showing neither to be particularly popular among voters.

Ferrier said both parties will probably use rumours of a challenge to their advantage to galvanise supporters.

With the Liberals already committed to a “positive” campaign after releasing its new campaign message on Saturday, Ferrier predicted Labor would follow suit.

“I imagine that Labor will declare relatively early that they will not engage in negative politics, and attempt to positive themselves as the somewhat positive choice versus the negativity of Abbott,” he added.

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