Monday, 6 October 2014

Twitter politics from various perspectives



Despite the fact that I've made my social media home on Facebook, it's impossible not to recognise that Twitter is a brilliant platform for political discourse.

These days the majority of politicians have Twitter accounts, and a large proportion of politically engaged people are more likely to check the news by scrolling through their Twitter feed, than they are to obtain all of their news from a single online source.

The days of people having their political news drip-fed to them by a particular daily newspaper are gradually coming to an end, and Twitter is one of the best "new media" platforms because it allows people to aggregate political news from all kinds of sources into a concise news feed, from which the most interesting stories can be picked out and followed up.

In my view the biggest danger with Twitter is the way in which many people will follow only the Twitter accounts that they agree with, and neglect accounts that present them with information,analysis or opinion that upsets them or threatens their worldview. In effect, Twitter allows people to create their own bespoke closed ideology echo chamber. I'm not trying to be judgmental here, in fact I know perfectly well that I tend to follow people I agree with a lot more than people I don't.

On
 my own Twitter account I tend to follow Green party activists, rebellious "Old Labour" politicians, left-wing political commentators, heterodox economists, protest websites and comedians. I could never follow an obnoxious right-wing hatemonger like Katie Hopkins because she makes my blood boil with her sanctimonious and judgmental bile. Neither could I follow a dishonest-to-the-core Tory politican like Grant Shapps. This means that the right-wing accounts I do follow are generally more moderate right-wingers like Zac Goldsmith or the recent Tory-UKIP defector Mark Reckless.

The fact that my own Twitter news feed is a mirror that reflects back to me the kind of opinions I generally agree with (or at least ones that I don't find horribly offensive) got me wondering how Twitter must appear to people of different political persuasions.

In order to satisfy my own curiosity (and to make a hopefully interesting experiment for you to observe too), I decided to create five separate Twitter lists in order to estimate* what self-selected Twitter feeds might look like to people of various different political persuasions.

Simply click the five images below to see the different ways in which Twitter might appear to the supporters of the five different political persuasions. 

PLEASE SIGN IN TO TWITTER FIRST, OTHERWISE THE LINKS WON'T WORK
  






UPDATE: I have had feedback from numerous people telling me that the above buttons don't work on their Apple products. Here are the basic links.

Note: If enough people find this a useful resource and follow the various lists, I'll consider investing a bit more time in creating lists for other political persuasions too, such as a nationalist list (SNP, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein), a radical-left list (Left Unity, Socialists, communists ...) and an extreme-right list (BNP, EDL, Britain First ...)

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* This isn't intended to be a scientific experiment so these feeds are only rough estimates. I've included political representatives, self declared supporters and activists by their parties, which is quite uncontroversial. I've also included a few media outlets which align with the parties, for example I've put the Independent in the Labour and Green lists, and the Daily Express in the Tory and UKIP lists. I've also included think tanks, websites and political commentators roughly aligned by their political position.



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 ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE 
         
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Why 73% of UKIP voters should actually vote Green
                     
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The "unpatriotic left" fallacy 
                                         
The decline in political participation and the rise of the non-traditional parties
                          
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How the Lib-Dems are just as compassionless as the Tories
                      



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