Monday, August 2, 2010

The Entertainment Election

This was first posted on my company's blog.

In the opening line of Mark Kenny’s post “The election about nothing“ on The Punch, he comments that Election 2010 has been dubbed the Seinfeld election and adds that at least Seinfeld was entertaining.

Well with a wink and a smile Mr. Kenny, I beg to differ. The actual political game may be about nothing, but the goings on in the wider community have made participating in the election a leisure activity. The magic combinations of TV, Twitter and other useful platforms on the internet have created a community that doesn’t want to just observe what’s happening in the current political climate. They want to partake in the great Australian tradition of the pisstake.

Picture my house on Monday night. I have QandA on the TV with producer-selected #qanda tagged tweets flashing on screen, I have my Twitter on ready to observe the complete flow of #qanda tweets and I include Gchat into the mix to corroborate and share any good calls beyond my 140 character limit. It’s a media deluge combining the one-to-many with the one-to-one, and it’s a lot to keep up with.

Gruen Nation and Yes We Canberra don't have tweets on screen, but they aren’t left out of this strategy either.

As a viewer, the focus of the show is not that one can be swayed from one political view to another. It is merely the ability to find the best jokes regarding our politicians. And it’s all facilitated via Twitter. Some of the best ones to watch include @Fakefielding, @FakePaulKeating, @GodwinGretch, @the_Chaser_, and the Chaser Boys, @craigreucassel, @andrewjhansen and @Chaslicc.

It’s changing the way we watch live TV, it’s adding another dimension and it’s creating a community of connected Australians who just want to have a laugh.

And we aren’t talking a couple of tweets, we’re talking at least 8,000 tweets on #qanda relating to Monday night’s show . Since July 19, day 2 of the campaign, we’ve logged 40,000 tweets mentioning #ausvotes (we’re testing some new tech at Media Monitors so I can’t share any more).Those numbers aren't anything to frown at.

Twitter in this country is allowing for new ways to connect with people. I’ve made a handful of new online friends and it’s nothing to be scared about. It’s just another access point to get more funny stuff about the election. It’s created an election about something, something entertaining, something to talk about and share with your friends. Social currency has gone through the roof and everyone wants to be that person who gets their RT shot into the limelight.

This is a winning social media activation and a key insight into a proportion of the Australian population who want to connect around topics of interest. For the first time in my life I’m enjoying an election, not for the politics, but for the way people are connecting with each other. I only have 2 questions, will this excitement die post the election and will it impact other mainstream media events?