If it isn’t mentioned on social platforms the next morning, did the debate really happen?
One of my absolute favourite things about political campaigning is the series of debates between the candidates.
In the States, these events have really evolved over the past decade into a quite a spectacle. News channels plan day-long debate coverage that offers the most seasoned pundits and political junkies alike an opportunity to get in their debating fix.
Over the past few years in particular, participation via social media has exploded to the point where the debates themselves have a dedicated hashtag (ie. #CNNDebate) and moderators pause to source questions from cyberspace.
To show the depth of social media’s spillover into the American political system I can point to the fact that this past cycle saw questions submitted from YouTube, instant polling on Twitter, and even one debate that was co-sponsored between NBC News and Facebook.
What I’ve witnessed in Australia over the past few weeks feels very much like a shift toward an even more US-centric debate model where the stakes are bigger, the spotlights are brighter, and the social media amplification machine is ready to activate at a moment’s notice.
Now, more than ever, social media plays a role prior, during, and after each event as the debaters try to leverage their most fervent supporters to paint themselves as the victors of the evening. I believe that victory can now happen on the debate floor itself, or in the digital halo that is created around the debates and in the social wake that is left at their conclusion.
To me, the intersection of social media and political campaigning has fundamentally prolonged the avenue where the candidates (and their virtual armies of supporters) can throw one-liners, land (and get hit by) political punches, or make that campaign-ending gaffe.
So in spite of the fact that Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott will actually only debate each other three times in a short four-week period, it feels like if you’re seeking a debate fix for political or entertainment purposes, you can certainly find it.
Last Wednesday’s performance was no different – and was thoroughly entertaining to this political outsider.
I’m not sure if it was merely watching Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott circle each other like boxers while addressing each other much more directly, or if it is the fact that there was no podium or notes to hide behind, but of all the possible debate formats, the quasi-formal, smaller, ‘let’s have the audience ask the questions’ spectacle that we witness earlier is my favorite.
Direct audience participation notwithstanding, I have a feeling that if all debates were structured like Wednesday’s, viewership and engagement levels would certainly increase – and so would the use of a host of conversations that I was monitoring during the debate.
But what I am most looking forward to in the next few days is seeing how much traction Abbott’s “Jeez, does this guy ever shut up?” comment gets in cyberspace. Because it if doesn’t really get mentioned, it will be like it really never happened.
Yianni Konstantopoulos is group managing director of Social@Ogilvy.
Please login with linkedin to comment
The Real Media Collective (TRMC), the Australian industry association representing the interests of companies in the paper, print, publishing/media and related distribution sectors across Australia, has challenged Coles Supermarkets for using the environment as a reason in its announcement today outlining its plans to cease sending catalogues to Australian homes from September. In the announcement, […]
Network 10 is set to undergo a massive restructure, leaving a number of high-profile journalists out of a job, including Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling and Tim Bailey, B&T understands. As first reported on The Sydney Morning Herald, the restructure was announced to staff on Tuesday. As part of the restructuring, the presentation of the weekday […]
Alcohol & Drug Foundation (ADF) has launched a new national health campaign with Campaign Edge aiming to tackle COVID-19 drinking. Funded by the Australian Government, Break the Habit reveals that it takes only around 66 days to form a habit – roughly the same amount of time many Australians spent in lockdown. It’s a fact most Aussies are […]
Paul Roach (pictured below) is a business strategist and coach who has worked with hundreds of SMEs across many industries to supercharge their cashflow. Roach is also author of the book Smarter Business Stronger Cashflow. In this guest post, Roach gives his top tips when the cash taps start to be turned off… Cashflow is like […]
Sydney and Melbourne based PR, Talent & Digital agency One Daydream has extended its client portfolio to include alcohol. The category expansion comes as One Daydream joins the agency roster of Pernod Ricard, working on a project basis to manage strategic PR and digital campaigns. The global drinks group boasts one of the most comprehensive and prestigious […]
Commtract today expanded its marketing, advertising and digital offering in response to a growing number of CEOs outsourcing to ‘gig-workers’ amid COVID-19. According to new research, 40 per cent of Australian CEOs are planning on outsourcing to freelancers in the contingent workforce. Commtract, which launched in 2016, has more than 4,000 communications experts on its platform, and has already placed over 800 roles. […]