The Debate: Labour Social Media

Last night was TV3’s leaders debate. I have looked at the use of social media by the parties to promote the here. This post is going to look at how Labour used Twitter during the debate to push their message.


I have screen grabbed every Tweet that Labour sent from their 10 minute to go tweet through to their sign off tweet. They sent 26 tweets between 8:29pm and 9:46pm tonight. Normally I link every screen grab to the original, but due to the number of tweets I am not going to do that in this post. If you want to check out the raw tweets and their replies, click here.


Labour took a number of approaches this evening. There are pre-prepared graphics during the debate, the housing tweet, direct quotes from David, and a number of fact check tweets.

With a free reign debate, like tonight’s, it is a lot hard to prepare graphics to use during the debate. So it is not really that much of a surprise that there is just the one during the debate.

The direct quote approach they used tonight is interesting. Instead of using the handle for David’s account, they have used the short hand of DC. This may be an attempt to save characters, but it has the downside that it makes it less likely that someone who sees the tweet via a retweet is going to follow David’s account. But this is probably a minor issue.

The fact check tweets are a slightly risky approach. I haven’t checked them but they run the risk that in the process of fact checking John’s comments they may get facts wrong themselves. I mention this because of the following tweet from Jessica Williams:


As a social media strategy, fact checking is something that has a bit risk too it, especially in a fast turn around environment like a live debate.

One aim of the tweets during the debate will have been to get the message out to as many people as possible. Labour, and its supporters, have done a good job of that. I did a quick add up and across the 26 tweets sent, there were 475 retweets. That is an average of 18.25 retweets per tweet. There was one tweet with 44 retweets. This will have helped spread the message well.

Labour have planned and executed a well structured Twitter support operation. They have taken a bit of a risk with their fact checking, but I haven’t seen anyone call them on any of their fact checks, so it seems the risk has paid off.