Bigot-gate and the role of social networks in the election

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Gordon Brown’s unfortunate gaff yesterday – already inevitably christened ‘Bigot-gate’ – was the big political story yesterday, and probably the second major event of the election (after Nick Clegg’s success in the first leadership debate). Accordng to our daily search data we tracked 400 distinct search terms containing the word ‘bigot’ yesterday; the day before there were just seven. As the chart below illustrates, UK Internet visits to political websites achieved a new high yesterday, increasing 20% on the previous day.

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The fast moving nature of the story yesterday made it ideal Twitter-fodder, and it was a top trending topic. Social media is playing a significant role in the election; from increasing voter registration rates amongst the young, to driving traffic to the party homepages. As the chart below illustrates, the amount of upstream traffic that the main party homepages have been receiving from social networks has more than trebled as the election campaign has progressed.

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But which social networks are sending the traffic? Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the three largest traffic sources, but the importance of the smaller sites varies by party. As the tables below illustrates, Issuu is a big source for all of the parties (traffic to the site has increased by 60% over the last fortnight). Other social networks having an impact include The Student Room (for the Liberal democrats and Conservatives) and Mumsnet (Labour).

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April 29th 2010 News

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