Today i ran some queries through google insights to find out who was our most popular presidential candidate according to Google searches…
Nice guy stories don’t sell papers
Turns out Dana’s antics from a couple of weeks ago were great for publicity. She was searched for more than any other candidate throughout their entire campaign. All publicity is good publicity, right? Well, currently at odds of 1000/1 to become president, the bookies disagree 😉
Sean Gallagher claimed earlier in the week he was the victim of a ‘political assassination’ plot. Nice soundbite and it fuelled his sharp rise in popularity according to Google along with cheque gate & envelope gate. Again, all publicity is good publicity, right? He’s currently 9/2 having fallen from being odds on favourite just a week ago.
So it would appear that if you ‘spike’ in Google’s insight trends, you’re spiking for the wrong reasons. All publicity is not good publicity. In fact over the past 30 days or so, Gallagher has maintained a consistent lead in the ‘interest’ charts over odds on favourite Michael D Higgins.
On Facebook, Gallagher has over 41,000 fans. Michael D has over 6,800 fans. Gallagher again wins on twitter with 10,000 followers -v- the 7,600 followers Michael D has. So again, Michael D is thrashed in the popularity stakes or so it would seem. Could social media & search trends predict the wrong winner? Of course they could but it’s rare that happens. My own opinion on this election is that it’s not taking place through social media, it’s seen as just an ‘add on’ to the ‘normal’ offline campaign.
All candidates have a social media presence but only because they have to… because it’s cool. They still don’t understand why they need to use it, they still don’t ‘get’ it. Their supporters do however. For social media to work properly for any candidate, they must lead by example and that means personally using social media to connect with random strangers… answering questions, recording day to day activities & uploading videos on youtube. All candidates have had jam packed schedules travelling around the country meeting more people than they’ll have met in their lifetime and will ever meet gain… I think it was Sean Gallagher who said he travelled 60,000 km’s over the past few months… but where are the people following him around, recording his every move and uploading videos to youtube?
These guys should be fanatical youtubers but they’re not. Instead they go with the carefully edited, painfully awkward promo videos which social media viewers can see right through.
These aren’t real. This stuff isn’t what a person does on a day to day basis. They don’t talk down the lens of a camera patting themselves on the back, getting close friends to do the same and telling the world how great they are. They’re ads. They’re scripted. They’re aimed at the masses and ‘preaching’. That’s not what social media is about so I feel that’s why there’s still a very large ‘disconnect’… Sean Gallagher’s presence on social media is the best of a bad lot, he doesn’t exactly face stiff competition.
However he failed to mention anything about the fierce criticism he was under on social media. He claims he didn’t want to be drawn in to negative campaigning but from listening & watching TV, he didn’t seem to happy about being labelled a liar and having to defend himself. Naturally. But why no mention of it on twitter or Facebook? To me, that’s not being honest… if you’re unhappy about something, say it on social media. Don’t just publish all the holding hands pictures and cherry picked poll results.
From the moment Martin McGuinness mentioned the whole ‘cheque’ situation, people where asking questions. They were asking them at a rate Gallagher could not keep up with through mainstream media (Radio & TV). In my opinion, he could have cleared up a lot of questions through social media and not let them simmer. He didn’t and i think that’s partly why his chances of becoming President have evaporated – he was too slow to defend himself and didn’t use the one weapon he had to speed his responses up – social media.
Anyway, the candidates all do a better job on twitter & facebook (compared to youtube) by using them to document stuff they do on a day to day basis but it’s still all very controlled with little interaction with ‘fans’ or non fans. Most are managed by campaign ‘teams’ rather than the candidate themselves which is part of the problem.
We’ll have to wait another day or so to see whether social media & search trends have got this one wrong…