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Social Media Is Changing the Face of Politics

IT professionals are using both traditional and online mediums to follow the 2010 election

A new survey of IT professionals by The IT Job Board revealed that while political parties are attracting younger voters using social networking and online media sites, the majority of IT professionals are relying on the mainstream media to follow the election campaign.

Seventy-percent of respondents said all political parties have become more web savvy and used Twitter and Facebook effectively to engage a younger audience. However, while they advocate a greater use of these sites by the Parties, the majority of respondents prefer to read newspapers and online news and follow the debates on TV (68%).

While they recognized that there were clear advantages to using social networking including gaining instant news updates, reading diverse viewpoints and interacting in live discussion, 80% said they did not believe what they were reading on Twitter and in online forums. The consensus was that news sites written by a third party are not subject to any direct agenda from the main political parties.

When asked if the General Election will have a positive effect on the IT and technology industry, views were mixed. Almost one-third (32%) said that the elected party kept the promises made in their election manifestos, it would boost the IT industry, 24% said it wouldn't make any difference to the industry and 34% were unsure. Equally, just under half (45%) said the election wouldn't necessarily have a positive impact on the number of jobs available for IT professionals.

Alex Farrell, managing director of The IT Job Board said: "Although IT professionals are users of social networking sites, they still prefer to engage in a combination of online and more traditional offline mediums to follow the election campaign. However, online mediums are growing fast in popularity and social networking sites are playing an important role in information gathering".

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