The prolonged saga of Alan Jones and his comments about the Prime Minister’s father “dying of shame” was a real game changer. It showed that social media had really surpassed mainstream media in changing people’s perceptions. Change.org showed its sophistication by ramping up over 100,000 supporters and automatically sending the updated figures to 2GB – to show how much support it was getting in its quest to have Jones sacked or to have the advertisers withdraw their support.
The clever part was asking supporters by automated email, after they signed up, if they wanted to go to the feedback pages of the big companies that were still advertising on 2GB. One company complained last week that it received 6,000 emails in one day from disgruntled people who wanted them to withdraw support for Jones.
No matter who you support in this sorry saga (and I’ll nail my colours to the mast – I signed the petition), the level of sophistication in canvassing and garnering such massive support in such a short time was truly awesome. My one regret was that change.org didn’t ask for age to be declared when the supporters signed up as I’d love to know the breakdown between young and old people. We’re led to believe it’s mainly the younger ones using social media like this but, after this exercise, I have my doubts.
Whatever, I used the Jones saga in my media training workshop last Tuesday and will continue to do so as it really shows the coming of age of social media in my opinion.