Being active on Twitter or Facebook made a “significant difference” to a candidate’s chances of being elected, says a new study.
The paper, presented by Dr Ciarán McMahon, a lecturer in psychology at Dublin Business School, examined the impact of social media on the Irish general election back in February. McMahon’s report suggested that candidates with Twitter accounts received 46% more votes than those who did not.
Candidates with Facebook accounts fared even better, receiving 53% more votes than those who were not active on the platform.
78% of the candidates polled had Facebook accounts, compared to 57% on Twitter. Moreover, while those active on either platform received a significant boost in their vote tally, no additional benefit was realized by candidates who used both Twitter and Facebook collectively.
“The interesting thing is that if you had a Facebook account, you were probably going to get more votes than the law of averages, and if you had a Twitter account, you were going to get more votes.”, said Dr McMahon. “But if you had the two of them there was no bounce – there was no interaction effect. Which kind of stands to reason – but there wasn’t really much point in having both.”
Additionally, Facebook and Twitter also appeared to work better for different parties, with Sinn Féin “well out in front” of the Green Party and the Socialist Party on Facebook, but lagging behind both on Twitter.
Social networking is hugely popular in Ireland, and Dr McMahon concluded that the figures in his study suggested there was “no escape” for candidates when it came to using Twitter and Facebook in future elections.
(Source: Irish Times.)