A great blog from Will Sturgeon – Fascination with Twitter Storms – got me thinking about the deeper impact social media channels are having on the way we talk amongst ourselves about politics. In particular it raised the question of whether these storms amount to anything other than tea cup trouble or are they a sign of new form of political discussion?
Perhaps the biggest political conversation that was amplified by twitter was the whole debate around the ‘I love the NHS’ twibbon. In fanning a debate about ‘death panels’ that originated in the US the twibbon genuinely created a balance to some of the more outrageous claims originating from US campaigners. The fact the twitter groups are often a mix of English speakers both Americans of a liberal persuasion and otherwise meant that a broader perspective on the story was broadcast than would otherwise have been the case.
However, my thought in hindsight about the twibbon campaign is that rather than a debate, this was very much a shout or even a scream. The medium of 140 characters perhaps prevented the social media conversation from becoming a insightful debate. This debate did clearly happen in the media but this was largely a print media phenomena and was pretty limited in terms of more in depth social media comment.
This brings me to idea of life streaming as Steve Rubel has been championing and in particular the detail of how social media feeds into the print media and the national conversation. The key role that serious thought pieces in the national media play is often overlooked in this world. I would be keen to hear of other campaigns and conversations where social media and traditional media were more connected in building more insightful conversations.