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Mobile fuels Australian politicians' use of social media: Deloitte

Adam Bender | July 15, 2013
Smartphones powered a recent shaving "selfie" by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at CeBit in 2011.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at CeBit in 2011.

Increased smartphone penetration has made social media more important to this year's election cycle, according to a Deloitte analyst who once advised Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

"Social media has been around and been important for at least a couple elections and certainly the 2010 election," said John O'Mahoney, associate director of economics at Deloitte. He spoke last week at an Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) event in Sydney.

"The reason why it's become more important is actually because of smartphones and because of mobility."

Analysts and academics have said social media will play a significant rolein political messaging leading up to the federal election, currently scheduled for 14 September.

"Social media on the desktop is not very exciting, but ... taking selfies and being able to put them on Facebook on your handheld device" has made it easier to create and view social content, O'Mahoney said.

Politicians can use social media to "humanise" themselves to voters, he said. He pointed to Rudd's recent photograph of himself after cutting himself shaving.

"If it's an authentic thing, and it's a true thing, then it's a good thing," he said.


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