Friday, 23 October 2009

Twitter comes alive around Nick Griffin on BBC Question Time

The leader of the Far Right British National Party, Nick Griffin, appeared on BBC Question Time last night. Joining a panel of politicians from mainstream parties, Nick Griffin was put on the spot by the audience and forced to explain his views / policies.

Almost every UK newspaper has featured Nick Griffin on their front pages this morning with widespread editorial coverage reporting what was said, reactions and the ongoing debate about the BBC and freedom of speech. The interesting thing for me though is not the press response this morning, but the immediate response last night.

The Question Time show was pre-recorded yesterday afternoon / early evening. We started seeing Twitter posts from members of the show audience, but, as the time of transmission approached, Twitter was alive with commentary about Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time - with 'Nick Griffin', 'BBC' and '#bbcqt' all top trending topics on Twitter as people debated the show and made comment.

TwitScoop shows how 'Nick Griffin' tweets grew last night:

TwitScoop showing volume of tweets including the phrase 'Nick Griffin'
(click for larger image)

We have seen primetime, event TV socialised through Twitter and live blogging (like Eurovision, the Apprentice or the FA Cup Final) but the Twitter response last night to a political debate show at 2230 at night was unprecedented.

8 million people tuned into Question Time last night (against a previous highest audience of 3.7 million) and many of them turned to Twitter to post real time comments on what they were seeing and hearing - instant reaction that mainstream media could use to gauge public reaction.

Last nights Question Time therefore gives another example of 'social TV' viewing (dual channel consumption - TV coverage, internet comment), but also demonstrates how wide reaching Twitter now is in the UK - and how effective Twitter can be in mobilising people to express political opinion.

By the time the UK election is announced next year, Twitter could have a significant role to play in election debate........

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Anonymous said...

If these political debates between Brown and Cameron take place, it'll be interesting to see if as many people tune in to discuss it on Twitter.

On the other hand, people may have less to say when they have to consider real political issues rather than just taking potshots at a racist...

Nick Burcher said...

Yes I think Twitter could be really powerful during the leader debates - especially if the debates are screened live - though I think people will still contribute and think the commentary could be deeper than one line point scorers (but no doubt there will still be a lot of this....)

Amy said...

It is unfortunate that there are people with the same views as Griffin. They should not be allowed to be in politics.

Anonymous said...

"They should not be allowed to be in politics." - everyone should "be allowed to be in politics" that is integral to democracy.

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