‘The anger and poison generated by Scottish nationalism’: Online politics at Society Stage at Web Summit

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The Guardian’s Stuart Dredge led a panel discussing online politics on Society Stage this afternoon at Web Summit and whether ‘clicktivism’ can translate into real results.

He was joined by Senior Community Moderator at The Guardian Marc Burrows who focused on two recent examples of social media influencing politics:

“The most interesting examples of this has been during the Scottish independence referendum and the Labour leadership election.

“That’s where Twitter really dominated everything, quite poisonously as well.

He spoke of “the anger and poison generated by Scottish nationalism” saying:

“Look at JK Rowling. She makes one comment (opposing Scottish independence) and was torn to shreds,” he said.

Mary Aiken at Society Summit.

“When a woman expresses an opinion on politics or tech it can be considered almost unbearable,” added fellow panelist Mary Aiken, a cyberpsychologist and CSI: Cyber Producer.

In the case of Jeremy Corbyn’s win in in the Labour leadership election Marc said that “the ball really started rolling and it did gather pace”.

“It was the online energy capitalising on the structure of the Labour party,” he said.

He continued that clicktivism is a “terrible term,” saying that it “rarely translates” into tangible results:

“In the case of the Labour leadership election however, it could. You could pay your £3 and make a genuine contribution,” he added.

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