None of the following represents any other opinion than my own…
Over this past election cycle, the UK has seen no shortage of political rhetoric spread liberally across TV, radio and tabloid papers. The usual suspects write about what they’re told to write about, and the mouthpieces of British conservatism have gradually amplified as June 8th draws nearer. Spouting fear, insecurity and whataboutary every day with one goal; to keep the Theresa May in power. The grey vote is their target demographic, you see. Coffin dodgers, dinosaurs, old fogies. Whatever you call them, it doesn’t matter. They vote more than any other demographic, and this is a fact that the media will manipulate daily to see their end goal realised. Save the tories, save the editor-in-chief.
For years it’s been like this. Media titans have coerced with government to push agenda alongside profit. There’s no mystery as to why May has regular calls with Murdoch.
But things are changing.
Welcome to manipulation 2.0. Welcome to the world of web politics.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been regularly visiting reddit, Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been observing, watching, waiting, trying to figure out what the internet has to say – what the internet has to offer in terms of an agenda, in terms of political swing.
What I found won’t surprise you.
In a world where censorship is non-existent, where users comes before business, the story changes. Dissenters have a voice and that voice is LOUD. See, where traditional media pushes right wing politics, the internet pushes something different.
Any random person can post something online and within minutes it’s spreading like wildfire. Traditional media wishes it had this growth and we can see that in their awkward attempts at copycatting youtube sensations and – *shudders* – memes.
Online, the left have a voice, and that voice is amplified. Why? Because online, you choose what you see. You choose the friends you keep, and you choose the websites you access. It’s customised to your liking and leftist views perpetuate that as echo chambers emerge. It’s no wonder The Guardian, The Independent and Private Eye find more success online than they do with their papers.
But why is the internet so left leaning?
Young people are brought up in a tech savvy world. A world where the mouse has more power than the pen. Many digital natives lean left, and therefore the platform that they dominate mirrors that. The grey vote is dying out and the new, connected, digitised democrat is finally hitting voting age. A voter bread by the internet, a voter ready to let their voice be heard, a voter that traditional media has neglected.
‘Digital native’ as a term has become irrelevant. They aren’t digital natives, they’re people. More importantly – they’re people who can vote, and as polls seem to suggest, they will.
As advertisers, we need to realise this. The internet is not to be fought with. A user has more power than we ever will. One bad review, one screw up, one misplaced word and we’re f****d. Scrutinised by an audience whose home turf has been invaded by salesmen pushing their wares.
For years it’s been easy to stick an ad on TV or in a paper. But now, the dynamic has changed. Our audience has shifted and we should start appealing to it, lest we become irrelevant and disconnected like that award uncle at Christmas dinner who wants to show you his latest gadget.
This election will foreshadow either the downfall or resilience of traditional media. For our sake I hope it’s the former and that advertising begins truly embracing an audience that up until now, it has made seem secondary.
PS. Vote Labour.