Mapping the Political Twittersphere

Demos' Centre for the Analysis of Social Media has developed a galaxy map of the political Twittersphere, ahead of the 2015 General Election.

Our Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM), a collaboration between Demos and the University of Sussex, is exploring the role of Twitter and other social media in the British General Election. As part of this project, CASM has mapped the political Twittersphere of the United Kingdom, capturing the different voices in the conversation - including MPs and the media - and how they are interacting between their various groups.  In doing so, the 'galaxy' map reveals an increa...

Posted by Alex Krasodomski-Jones on 20 Apr 2015
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How Twitter Judged the Challengers' Debate

A wrap-up of the key findings from Demos' Twitter sentiment tracker during the televised Challengers' Election Debate.

As part of our ongoing project analysing the role that social media is playing in the 2015 General Election, Demos – alongside Qlik, the University of Sussex and Ipsos MORI – have been working to build new tools to measure real-time reactions on Twitter to the Election Debate series. Our sentiment tracking during the Challengers’ Debate captured a total of 239,000 tweets sent during the course of the Debate, which references the candidates or key hashtags. This is somewhat ...

Posted by Carl Miller on 17 Apr 2015
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Behind the Demons of the Digital Underworld

On 15 April 2015, Jamie Bartlett - the Director of Demos' Centre for the Analysis of Social Media - delivered the Four Thought lecture on BBC Radio 4. Read the full lecture online here.

My heart was pounding as I waited for Paul to arrive at the train station where we’d agreed to meet. I’d been communicating with him for some time, all via the internet. Paul was a vitriolic, aggressive neo-Nazi who spent his life online producing and sharing White Pride propaganda. He was one of several people that I spent much of the last year meeting researching my book. I’d gone in search of shocking and hidden internet subcultures, immersing myself in digital worlds of...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 16 Apr 2015
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Are These the Manifestos Voters Deserve?

Demos Researcher Louis Reynolds assesses the 2015 Election Manifestos, and proposes how they could be reformed to better serve voters and enrich democracy.

Today’s manifesto launches from UKIP and the Liberal Democrats means all the main parties’ wares are finally on display. But as the dust begins to settle on these documents, after so much fanfare, it is worth pausing to reflect on what on earth they have actually achieved. The parties have used their manifestos for a huge range of purposes. They have been ‘weaponised’ to address enduring weaknesses, they have been employed as a desperate last-minute offering to the el...

Posted by Louis Reynolds on 15 Apr 2015
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Cameron Takes Tories Back to the Future

Our Research Director, Duncan O'Leary, weighs in on the Conservative Party's 2015 Election Manifesto.

Yesterday’s big launch went well, with 1.6 million viewers excitedly tuning in to watch on television. But enough about Game of Thrones – this is manifesto week. Today saw the Conservatives take their turn, following Labour’s safety-first effort yesterday. As expected, there was a big new policy announcement at its heart, designed to offer a sense of David Cameron’s vision for Britain.  The promise to extend the Right to Buy to housing associa...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 14 Apr 2015
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Not Quite New, Not Quite Blue

Our Research Director, Duncan O'Leary reflects on Labour's 2015 Election Manifesto.

Much has been made of the similarity in language between Labour’s Manifesto today and Hilary Clinton’s campaign launch last night – but there is good a dose of Bill in there too. America’s 42nd president used to talk of being ‘in the future business’; Ed Miliband made his speech today with FUTURE emblazoned in capital letters behind him. He wants to focus on the next five years rather than get stuck debating New Labour’s record in government.  So...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 13 Apr 2015
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Young People, Political Participation and the 2015 General Election

James Sloam, reader in politics and co-coordinator of the Youth Politics Unit at Royal Holloway University, on how to engage young people with the General Election.

Young people in the UK are increasingly disillusioned with electoral politics. Over the past three General Elections, an average of 40 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds voted, while 60 percent of this age group turned out to vote in the 1992 General Election. My research finds that the youth turnout rate in the United Kingdom is the lowest of all the 15 members of the old European Union; 18 to 24-year-olds in Sweden turn out to vote at double the rate of their peers in the UK.   So, there ...

Posted by on 13 Apr 2015
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Social Media Carves out a Fifth Estate

As Demos launches its report on how immigration is spoken about on Twitter, Sophie Gaston explores the changing role of social media in the UK's political sphere.

The increasing integration of new media technologies, and particularly social media, into our personal and working lives has heralded an enormous amount of debate and discussion about their transformative potential. In politics, this has centred on the capacity for social media to bring political leaders closer to their constituents – but it has also inspired a great deal of commentary around how the demands of the social media age are changing the scope and scale of leaders’ resp...

Posted by Sophie Gaston on 10 Apr 2015
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Food for thought

Following the first election debate, Ally Paget proposes a way forward on food poverty.

It’s little surprise that it was a question about food banks that kicked off last night’s leaders’ debate. The ‘food bank question’ has become a litmus test for a number of issues which occupy the top spots in the pre-election agenda: the impact of welfare reform (particularly benefit sanctions), the cost of living, widening inequality, and – in its more personal form (expressed in terms of the price of a loaf of bread, a pint of milk, the ideal number of k...

Posted by Ally Paget on 27 Mar 2015
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Method in the madness

Duncan O’Leary sees an ulterior motive in David Cameron’s apparent gaffe.

David Cameron is a more skilful politician than most people seem to think. His statement this week that he would not seek a third term in office has been framed as a 'gaffe', but this assumes he hadn't planned to say what he did.  As James Forsyth points out, the analogy Cameron used looked a little too carefully chosen to be spontaneous. Watch the interview back and you also see that he answered the question instantly and emphatically – not the behaviour of a pol...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 25 Mar 2015
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