In America you vote for a president, in Australia you vote for your local member. So why is it when we talk about the ‘social media battle’ of this election, most people think Rudd Vs. Abbot? Do local members even have an influence on the outcome of an election or is it up to the leaders and the party brand to get the job done online?

Hootsuite has rolled out an Election Tracker keep pundits up to date

Hootsuite has rolled out an Election Tracker keep pundits up to date

But are our leaders the only ones to watch this election? Of course not! Australia is not America; we vote for candidates, not leaders.

Social media users (aka ‘people’) respond to politicians who are real, authentic and engaging. There are many ways to gauge this, and you could slice the data by looking at audience size, engagement and influence. Call me old school, but I asked Twitter …

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And my friends at @TwitterAu agreed

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The results? Malcolm Turnbull  and Scott Ludlam in a tie for first place.

Why? According to one person on Twitter, it’s because Malcolm speaks as if it were ‘real life’ and not advertising.

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But I do have to give Ed the MVT (most valuable tweeter) award for responding within hours, being authentic and making me laugh.

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And his wife got involved!

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When asked for ‘favourite politicians on Twitter’, most people responded with politicians from across parties, meaning they don’t just follow politicians or their party’s preference.

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Thinking about the Turnbull love and my own swooning for Ed Husic, I couldn’t help but ponder – would strong interactions with politicians affect voter preferences? A positive interaction with a politician could make an individual think their party is:

– Responsive – it listens to what individuals care about.

– Authentic – it speaks honestly about issues.

– Funny – it’s identifiable to the public.

So, again, I asked Twitter:

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It might be a stretch, but it’s a stretch worth testing. Especially in such a tight election.