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What happens on the Internet in 60 seconds?

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Clegg: Tweeting his way to victory?

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I’ve caught the election bug.

When I heard there was to be a general election next month, I immediately buried my head in Wikipedia, and various other web pages, teaching myself the basics of politics. I decided I wanted to grab hold of my first opportunity to vote – and make sure I used it wisely.

After finally managing to understand (well, kind of) the whole left-right-centre thing, as well as the main ideologies of the three leading parties.

'X' marks the spot.

I’ve never before been interested in politics (I’ve always shared the popular opinion: ‘it’s boring, and they’re all liars and cheats anyway, so what’s the point?’). However, I’ve suddenly grown a slight addiction to watching, reading and listening to politics news coverage, checking policies against each other and watching and reading manifestos as they come out. I wasn’t brought up with a particular political stance – my parents pretty much have the same opinion that I did, so it’s completely up to me to decide, from scratch, where I put the ‘X’ on May 6.

I think the most important thing we need is change, to get us out of this economical mess and move forward as a country. So for real change – parliamentary change for starters – many people believe that Labour should be out of power. Then there’s their main competitor, the Tories. Conservatives are all about traditionalism, and seems to favour the upper classes by ways of hierarchy. The recent proposal the Conservative Party has put forward (£150 tax break for married and civil partnered couples) to me, seems a massive step backward for our society. This favours traditional 2.4 families over single-parent families as well as modern couples who feel they don’t need or want to wed to lead a happy life. So can we really expect to move forward with Tories in power? For me, that’s them out. That leaves the Liberal Democrats, who don’t really have a chance anyway.

At least that’s what everyone thought.

Nick Clegg was adamant from the beginning that this election was not going to be a two-man race, and it seems that since the very first TV election debate between the three leaders, Lib Dems may actually have a chance. Opinion polls show closing gaps between the parties, some even placing Clegg on top. While watching the Leaders’ Debate, I was following reactions through the masses of tweets flooding with the hashtag #leadersdebate. A recurring opinion is that Clegg came across as the most genuine and calm out of the three (it seems Cameron and Brown would rather directly insult each other than discuss policies).

'Facebookers': Campaigning for the impossible?

10 Downing Tweets provides a snapshot of Twitter’s party preferences, currently showing Clegg as leading with 39% of the vote. Following the success of getting Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name to Christmas No. 1, Facebook users are attempting a similar campaign attempting to win Lib Dems power this year.

Social networking and microblogging seem to be playing a big part in this year’s election. An increasing amount of political organisations, politicians and local MPs (and even Nick Clegg himself) having Twitter and Facebook accounts, ‘keeping up with the times’, communicating with many first-time voters, and fighting for the most fans and followers.

So can we expect a huge change in parliament? Or even a hung parliament? Who knows… but I do believe social networking may well be very influential in the outcome.

Tweeting?

Some suggestions of accounts to follow

in the run-up to the elections:

@tweetminster

@10DowningTweets

@BBCElection

@GdnPolitics

@UKLabourParty

@Conservatives

@libdems

@nick_clegg

Q&A: Geo Willis on blogging, Twitter and squishing raspberries!

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Geo, a fellow student of mine, has also recently started a blog and has succumbed to the hype that is Twitter.

In the style of Times Online’s ‘Witter’, I asked her a few questions allowing only 140 characters for each answer. She may be able to tweet in under 140 characters, but how easy is it to talk about that world with a limit?

Geo Willis, BA (Hons) Communication and Media second year at Bournemouth University

Q: How are you finding the concept of blogging? Do you enjoy it or find it a bore?

A: Surprisingly addictive. I actually find that I’m blogging every other day. Well, at the moment I am anyway!

Q: Do you prefer to blog or tweet? Why?

A: I’m getting stuck into both but I prefer blogging. While vox pops have their place, I think with a blog you have the ability to really expand on an argument.

Q: What do you find useful about Twitter?

A: Being on the pulse, constantly up-to-date with friends and also organisations.

Q: How would you feel if you found you were cut off from access to any social media for any length of time?

A: Somewhat adrift. I’m used to moving between tabs of various social media sites for a large part of the day. I live on my computer!

Q: What do you think will be the next step in computer technology?

A: From what I can tell, we will have 3D representations, like in Snow Crash, The Matrix, Hackers, Minority Report and Neuromancer.

(Geo showed me this article which outlines her thoughts above)

Q: Why do you think social media is important?

A: Global interconnectivity, it enables you to keep up with friends and change.

Q: If you were a fruit, what fruit do you think you’d be?

A: Dragonfruit, because they’re fiery coloured! Ooh, or a raspberry because they’re sharp… and when you squish them red stuff comes out!

Web Surfery

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Let’s start this thing off.

I’m a student, therefore I spend a lot of time aimlessly surfing the web.

The internet is huge, but I always find myself on the same sites time and time again.

I know I’m not alone when I say that my browsing history is filled by Facebook. I’m no sure I’d say it’s the most entertaining site, although it’s definitely where I spend most of my time! It’s a simple communication tool, a good way of keeping up to date with friends’ news, and great for just being nosey!

I’ve recently got myself stuck into Twitter, I feel that it’s such a good way of networking, and becoming an active part of the social media world. I have already found myself some contacts from the world of PR and social media, which may come in handy when it comes to finding a career after Uni! I also love getting real time news feeds from Twitter, mainly from Bournemouth Echo and the BBC.

Real news can be boring. When I feel the world needs spicing up a bit, I visit The Onion. A satire news site featuring articles on real and not-so-real events – never failing to produce a few laughs. I also get updates by following them on Twitter.

Currently living in a house which only receives 4 fuzzy analogue channels, TVCatchup is a little bit of a life saver! How else would I keep up to date with useless daytime TV shows and my daily dose of Deal or No Deal!? Finding this site saved me from the withdrawal symptoms I experienced when I realised there I had no e4!

Last but definitely not least – Google! I really don’t know where I’d be without it, whether it’s work related searches or just to find an answer to a random thought that pops in my head throughout the day. Now that I have myself a BlackBerry means that I’m constantly ‘Googling’ pretty much everything.