Saturday 8 February 2014

Wreck-It Rudd

During the 2013 election, whenever I logged on to Facebook or Instagram, I was bombarded with statuses, photos and memes of everyone’s political opinions. People were absently mindedly contributing to the election campaigns by either agreeing or disagreeing (generally the latter) with the candidates.

Entertainment was a major part of Kevin Rudd’s 2013 election campaign. By adopting words such as ‘selfie’ (self-photo) and ‘quiche’ (from Chris Lilley’s J’Amie Private School Girl), Kevin Rudd’s popularity with young people skyrocketed because he was so entertaining. However, during his election campaign Kevin Rudd posted a new photo on instagram every day, if not twice a day, however since the election, 22 weeks ago, he has only posted twice. He has since closed his twitter account ( 2013), creating more reason to think his use of social media was not a genuine attempt to connect with a younger audience, but simply a stunt for his election campaigns.

The use of social media in political campaigning fits in with Jenkins’ views of participatory culture as candidates are moving their campaigns to an environment that allows people to participate in them by voicing their opinions. Jessica Stanley, a consultant to Labor’s 2007 campaign, stated: “Social proof is very important. If your friends are seen to like Rudd, it makes it easier for you to like him.” (Swan, J & Visentin, L 2013) This idea of ‘being cool’ for liking a candidate is, in my opinion, exactly what all politicians are aiming for. If a politician can make young people think that voting for them is the ‘cool’ thing to do, then they have won the social media war.

Steph Rogers 2013, ‘Tony Abbott NBN Meme’, Our New PM, At Least He Makes Good Memespiration, viewed 12 January 2014, <>

TNT Magazine 2013, ‘Wreck it Rudd’, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard Memes Sweep the Web After Day of Upheaval in Aussie Politics, viewed 11 January 2014, <>

“Kevin Rudd bids farewell to twitter followers after announcing resignation from parliament”,, 14 November 2013, viewed 11 January 2014, <>

Swan, J & Visentin L 2013, "Political heavyweights are online, upfront and in your face", Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 2013, viewed 13 January 2014, <>

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how you refer to political social media use as a political stunt - I'm inclined to agree especially when it seems Kevin Rudds attempts at relating to the younger generation appear so forced and contrived. Who knows, perhaps it was more relaxed in person..? But your point that his social media use dropped off completely after the election proves that he hasn't truly embraced social media as a form of communication, that it was all for votes.

    Can we really expect anything more?