Thursday, 6 May 2010

Voluntary voting : Election Day UK

Emmeline Pankhurst & her suffragettes fought hard for the vote for women, and personally I've voted in every election I've been able to, even if politics aren't a particular passion of mine.  If I don't exercise my right to vote, what right have I got to complain about whatever the state of things is?

In the UK voting is a privilege but not an obligation, in Australia you are fined if you don't vote. Part of me thinks that's not such a mad idea.  Young people are increasingly reported to be disinterested in politics and can't be bothered becaue they don't believe they can make a difference. 
No doubt we'll see later today / tomorrow how many people did actually vote.

However, going by what I've been following intermittently on Facebook all day, there's a healthy amount of people who have actually said they've voted.  I logged in this morning at 9.30am to find the Facebook prime real estate newsfeed 1st position asking me if I'd voted and having clicked yes (keen bean me, 0745am!) it displayed a counter....

I've been tracking the figures all day, partly out of curiosity, but also because the data shows some interesting things:

Approx 40k-ish people were standing up and saying they'd voted every half an hour this morning. One click triggered this message in the newsfeeds of people they know (and in itself I've seen lots of "Likes" of that newsfeed item).

It linked to a Democracy UK page (in case you were interested), offering simplification of who was standing for what / links to other materials to help you make up your mind. (Maybe I've just missed this in the run up to the election but as I was travelling last week I wasn't logging in as frequently).

Back to the numbers....

Predictably there was a greater jump in numbers / %'s mid-morning, over lunchtime and now towards the end of the working day, which in itself confirms the logical point that people hop in and out of Facebook for some distraction at natural punctuation points during the day. It's hardly rocket science, but now I've got numbers to back up the intuition.

So now, at 1740, beyond the end of the working day for many, the cumulative total  of those stating they have voted today stands at 939,722.  That's 771.5 more than the position at 0930 this morning.  Not bad as a reach figure.  Ok, it wasn't asking much to just ask for a click but.....

I'm sure, irrespective of the result, that there will be much debate over the coming days about the role digital / social media, televised debates etc played in the campaign period, but for now I'm going to leave the sign off of this post to my furry friend Aleksandr Orlov, who aptly summed up what so many people have really been thinking: This election turned into a reality tv contest.

But whilst I am it, let's test the new facility to "embed" a real tweet rather than clumsily having to screengrab and insert it.

Today is final chance to vote on ‘Britain has a prime minister’ final. Myself I would vote for mongoose with largest cuts on centipede tax.less than a minute ago via web

Hmm, not so sure that works so well for Blogger. Maybe it's better in Wordpress. I'll play with the html another day.

UPDATE: It's 2215, Voting at the Ballot Box has officially now closed, and the grand total of people saying they've voted on Facebook stands at....

That's 827.6k more people saying "yup, I voted" in a little over 4 hours. Close to double the number of people who voted during the previous 8 hours or so.

1.7m off a Facebook UK membership of 22m might not seem like a lot, but when you think that's just one day, and a fair few of that 22m aren't old enough to vote anyway, I reckon that's pretty respectable.

Now for results time.

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