Ahead of the general election on May the 7th, Bournemouth’s parliamentary candidates are trying to connect with voters directly through the use of social media.
Aspiring MPs have set up Facebook or Twitter accounts, with Conor Burns, the incumbent for Bournemouth West, being the most assiduous (and most followed) user. But candidates for most other parties running in the town’s two constituencies are also heavily involved on social networks, whether to express their political positions, engage with residents, or simply describe their daily errands.
The only exception seem to be the Liberal Democrats: despite the local branch having Facebook and Twitter pages, the actual PPCs (Mike Plummer and Jon Nicholas) only have a limited online presence. A surprising absence, given the party’s traditional focus on the youth electorate.
Using word clouds it is possible to clearly observe the recurring arguments of Bournemouth’s parliamentary candidates:[one_half]
Conor Burns – Conservative MP for Bournemouth West. Both Universities fall in his constituency, as does the troubled St. Aldhelm’s Academy. He’s also a staunch opponent of the Navitus Bay project and, apparently, and avid snooker fan.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
Elizabeth McManus – Green Party candidate for Bournemouth West. It’s the first time the Green Party fields a candidate in every constituency in Dorset.[/one_half_last] [one_half]
David Stokes – Labour candidate for Bournemouth West. Old school campaigning and grassroots involvement are the predominant themes.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
Martin Houlden – UKIP candidate for Bournemouth West. The targets are painted in large letters; larger still, UKIP.[/one_half_last] [one_half]
Alasdair Keddie – Green Party candidate for Bournemouth East.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
Tobias Ellwood – Conservative MP for Bournemouth East. The word cloud reflects Mr Ellwood’s portfolio as a Foreign Office Minister.[/one_half_last]
nb: these projections were compiled with Wordle from Facebook and Twitter posts, starting from November 1st 2014. Most common words were excluded, and the word clouds were curated to ensure readability and comprehension.