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Gillard: Online hero but offline zero [w/video]

Local and international social media commentary have been overwhelmingly positive about the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday attacking Tony Abbott as a misogynist.

But social media analysts say the positive tweets are unlikely to represent the views of Labor’s disenfranchised heartland voters.

John Chalmers, group communications manager at BuzzNumbers, said while the Australian public had largely lauded Ms Gillard’s attack on Twitter, Facebook and other sites, “our analysis suggests support for Gillard may change as the public connects Gillard’s contradictory stance”.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests the views espoused on Twitter do not so much reflect the views of the traditional Labor constituency, but rather that women appear the most active social media voices on this topic,” he said.

The ABC’s YouTube clip of Ms Gillard’s 15-minute-long speech to parliament “went viral” yesterday. At 6pm, it had been viewed more than 120,000 times, with likes to dislikes running at 6565/223.

The footage was picked up by blogs such as Jezebel, which tweeted: “Best Thing You’ll See All Day: Australia’s Female Prime Minister Rips Misogynist a New One in Epic Speech on Sexism”.

Even traditional print players such as The New Yorker, in one of the more detailed international accounts, applauded the speech, describing it as “fun” and “political theatre”, a performance that could provide a lesson for US President Barack Obama.

That was in stark contrast to mainstream coverage from Australian commentators, who overwhelmingly painted it as a bad day for Ms Gillard: first for supporting Mr Slipper after he was outed for sending vile misogynist texts, then for losing him as Speaker.

On social media, the details and context are often lost in translation, said Leslie Nassar, technology director at Amnesia Razorfish. “With social media, a lot of the nuance disappears in high-traffic conversations,” Mr Nassar said.

“The story is being picked up by the (websites) Gawkers and the Jezebels and the rest.

“The way they frame it is going to be about the fight because that’s what drives clicks.”

He said while “the reader in Boise Idaho will go and watch the video of a strong woman smacking down an idiot”, local voters were unlikely to change their view on Ms Gillard. “I don’t think it will make any difference whatsoever,” he said. “(Twitter) is an echo chamber for people who like yelling at the TV. Nobody has ever changed their mind.”


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11 October, 2012 - No Comments