From crowdsourcing ideas to quizzes that match your views to the parties, technology could play a key role in deciding the outcome of this year’s election. So what’s on the market this year and how could it disrupt the ‘Election of a Generation’?
Voter Advice Applications or VAA’s are basically quizzes that take points from party manifestos and present them to voters. Voters then agree or disagree with these points and are shown their ‘top matches’. Examples include Vote for Policies and Vote Match.
– They are tried and tested, having been in used in places like Germany from the mid 90’s and are viewed as the entry point for politics and in some countries over 50% of the electorate rely on a VAA to make a choice on who to vote for.
- It makes the policy points of each of the parties far easier to understand, saving the voter time and effort.
– Simplification - Can the vast complexities of politics be simplified into a series of sentences that the voter then votes on Tinder style (considering the very real impact of a vote)?
– They don’t include everyone. No advice application has ever listed all candidates/parties standing in an election. This is a problem when voters have the right to information on all those who are after their vote.
- Too academic – almost all VAA’s are written by academics primarily for academic research and analysis. The language is often dry, boring and uninspiring.
Crowdsourcing platforms ‘obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.’
Crowdsourcing is already widely used across the internet with the most well known example being Wikipedia. However could the democratisation of the creation of information lead to crowdsourced manifestos whereby party members and voters decide what a candidate should stand for? The Green Party of England and Wales is already known to let its members decide what policies the party should run for in an election, but could this become the norm?
Groups like the Democracy Club – staffed by volunteers – think so and are trying to bring together information on every candidate in the General election 2015. Describing themselves as “a group of volunteers that aims to increase the quantity, quality and accessibility of information on election candidates” they believe that the internet will change the way the voter views and interacts with the election.
3. Video content
YouTube, Vimeo and Vine are all MASSIVE when it comes to engaging vast audiences with video content. It makes sense then that its easier and more effective to show someone a 30 second video than making them read a 4 page document. Reaching over 32.1 million adults each week in the UK alone, YouTube is considered the king of video content.
With national parties taking to the platform to share their message it seems only the candidates are left not realising the true potential power of online video media. David Cameron, PM, creates a video message every week or so in attempt to engage with voters but even he is an anomaly. In the age of 24 hr media, politics is often viewed as ‘noisy’ and ‘confusing’ to the voter so perhaps a short 90 second video explaining to voters exactly what it is the candidate stands for could go a long way.