This week in the United Kingdom, the voting public go to the polls to elect their new government and local representatives in the 2010 General Election. This is one of the closest races in generations, and students nationwide will play an integral part to play, with Web and social media availability never seen before in a UK election.
Twitter has, especially over the last year or so, been a major source for breaking news and up to the minute information. It has in some cases surpassed the capabilities of news organisations which spend millions in funding correspondents around the world.
With an election bringing breaking news almost every minute for the duration - especially with the last 72 hours to go before the public go to the polling stations - social networking has taken a major stake in spreading the message.
Let us not forget not only the high demographics of Facebook users being today's youth, but also how important their vote is to swing the balance. This said, a poll last month suggested that the vast majority of the Generation Y see politicians as out of touch, not focused on key issues to the youth demographic and that only a third of student-aged people will even vote.
In my opinion, though social networking has had a developed role to play during this election, with many of its users probably not voting for the aforementioned reasons, it may not have the necessary impact to make a difference. On the other hand in this election, the possibility of a hung parliament and no overall majority could result in social media having a major difference. Then again, it wouldn't be any different to say, print media or television broadcasts.
One thing is for sure is that social networking as far as Twitter and Facebook are concerned, will have a major effect on the correlations between the Generation Y and trends in voting.