Digital-Words

The AV referendum – does Twitter care?

In case you’ve missed it, a referendum with the potential to dramatically reform the British voting system is taking place tomorrow.

The vote on switching from First Past The Post to the Alternative Vote system has failed to excite the imaginations of the electorate, to put it mildly.

It’s true to say the public debate on the merits of the issue has not been especially edifying.  The mainstream media has been dominated by the disagreements within the Coalition Government and the splits in the Labour Party. Now, it seems that the voters’ apparent apathy about AV is reflected across social media.

Portland teamed up with Tweetminster to analyse how the conversations on this issue have compared to other events in the news this week.

We tracked tweets between April 27th and 30th on the Alternative Vote and compared them with other the noise around events such as the Royal Wedding, Libya, Syria and the economy. Our report also highlights Twitter activity during two news programmes (Channel4 News and Newsnight) and compares it with ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, giving an indication of how many people tweet while watching TV.

The Portland/Tweetminster analysis confirms that the AV referendum has resoundingly failed to capture the public’s imagination. Whereas events such as the Royal Wedding have stimulated lively conversations right across social media, the buzz around AV has been limited to those involved in the two campaigns.

It’s fair to say that, even William and Kate’s nuptials, would have been overwhelmed by the online chatter about the death of Osama bin Laden, which set a new Twitter record.

During President Barack Obama’s address, Twitter users posted messages at an average rate of 3,440 tweets per second, according to this data released by the company.

You can read more about our Portland/Tweetminster report on the Guardian’s data blog.

The infographic was designed by Tweetminster’s Brad Martin and Andrew Walker.

WRITTEN BY

Mark Flanagan