There are 20 million Australians aged 15 and over, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And there are 15 million Australians on Facebook. Yet the social media behemoth is not for everyone, and there are a few WA sitting politicians who resist.
Perhaps it says something about the internet connection in WA’s South West but try as we might, we can’t track down South West MLCs Barry House and Robyn McSweeney, for the Liberal Party, Nigel Hallett, for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and Adele Farina, for Labor. They are not the only hold-outs, however. A few others have had automated political pages kindly generated for them by Facebook — Jim Chown, Liberal MLC for the Agricultural Region, for example.
Why does it matter?
Facebook matters for politicians. In 2016 we saw Malcolm Turnbull successfully embrace the “Facebook election campaign”, and he’s known for his public transport selfies as well as use of multiple social apps. Between 2007 and 2013, there has been a 243% increase in MPs using digital tools including Facebook, Twitter, direct mail and politicians’ personal websites. Clearly, though, not everyone feels the love.
Why be engaged on the platform? Dr Andrea Carson, a lecturer in politics and media at the University of Melbourne said Facebook is a great way for politicians to reach difficult voters, particularly young voters, who are not all that engaged with the day-to-day political cycle.
Research has also revealed that 49 per cent of users like a Facebook page to support brands they like, and 41 per cent of users are willing to sign up to receive regular updates from brands. That beats putting a canvassing mail-out in a letterbox and hoping for the best. So come on South West Metropolitan members — we will be your friends!