Politics and Social Media: A New Spin? - Dr Andrew Leigh MP & Thomas Tudehope
With the rise of social media, the chattering classes have become the twittering classes, and we are seeing its increasing impact on politics. Social media has been embraced by US politicians, particularly in the lead-up to the November election, but less keenly – and more awkwardly – by their Australian counterparts. Why is this? Will Twitter, Facebook and the like change the political landscape in Australia – and to what extent? Is social media making us more educated about policy matters or simply more prone to knee-jerk reactions? And how is the speed and scale of this style of communication affecting policy and party decisions?
Dr Andrew Leigh MP Before his election in 2010 as the federal Member for Fraser, Dr Andrew Leigh was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. Andrew has written extensively on a range of subjects, including education, taxation and social policy. He also writes regularly for the Australian press. Andrew holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard and graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in law and arts. He has worked as a lawyer (including a stint as associate to former High Court Justice Michael Kirby) and principal adviser to the Australian Treasury. Andrew is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences; in 2011, he received the ‘Young Economist Award’, a prize given every two years by the Economics Society of Australia to the best Australian economist under 40. Andrew has been a member of the Australian Labor Party since 1991.
Thomas Tudehope is one of Australia’s most recognised social media experts. Thomas pioneered the use of social media and online activism in Australian politics through his work with Malcolm Turnbull, Member for Wentworth. Turnbull’s online presence during his time as cabinet minister and leader of the opposition was regarded as best practice and officially recognised by the Australian Internet Industry Association. Thomas has also worked in America with Republicans and Democrats on digital outreach and online activism. Before joining SR7, Thomas was a Digital Producer at Sky News specialising in current affairs, business and technology. He has extensive experience managing small and large social media campaigns that seek to raise awareness, drive sales, and increase exposure. Thomas also conducts social media workshops to educate stakeholders on social media best practice, handling dissent, and the benefits of monitoring social media. Thomas regularly appears as a commentator across all TV networks on issues such as social networking, politics and media. He also regularly contributes to The Drum and The Punch.