Are the Greens swept up in a social media bubble?

  • 10/08/2017

A social media commentator is warning the Green Party to step back from their screens and pay attention to what the polls are telling them.

Despite leading the social media game, a new Newshub-Reid research poll is telling a different story, putting the Greens well down from previous years to a total party vote of 8.3 percent.

A shocked James Shaw fronted up to the media after Metiria Turei's resignation, after she admitting to committing benefit fraud. Since her admission, support for the Greens has dropped by 4.7 points in just eight days, down from 13 percent in the last Newshub poll on July 31.

Days before Ms Turei came clean, the political party reached the milestone of 100,000 followers on social media, well ahead of its competitors.

After coming forward, a flood of social media sympathy followed, with #IAmMetiria became the top hashtag on Twitter.

The Greens Party pitched both social media events to Three's The Project as stories - but DMR Research chief executive David Talbot says it may have blinded them to what the public really thought.

"When we polled on this we found that more than half of the people on the poll expressed disapproval of what Metiria had done."

Social media commentator Vaughan Davis says this is called the echo chamber effect: social media surrounds you with people echoing your thoughts and opinions skewing your view.

"We surround ourselves son social media for people who are like us. So it's always a big surprise the mood of the public goes against the mood of our close and similar friends."

Mr Davis says it can happen to people and it can also happen to political parties.

"Social media trends younger than the general public and social media trends more liberal. So political parties that appeal to younger, more liberal people are going to think everything's going awesomely when things might not be going so well."

Mr Davis says parties need to pay attention to social media but they need to take it with a grain of salt.

"If you confuse the mood of social media with the mood of the people, you're gonna end up with a bit of a surprise."