The popularity of a social media star has overshadowed the British prime minister's election campaign on social media, but this week David Cameron started to make a comeback.
An easy way to find key tweets about the party leaders taking part in the UK general election is to type in their surnames. Searches for "Miliband", "Clegg", "Farage", "Sturgeon" and others are sufficient to bring up their Twitter accounts or hashtags being promoted by party supporters. But until recently searches for "Cameron" were more likely to throw up details about an American social media celebrity than the prime minister and Conservative party leader.
Cameron Dallas is a 20-year-old Californian who over the past year has gained more than 15m followers across various social media sites. He made his name by posting Vines of jokes played on his friends and family. The social media star is currently running a special Twitter campaign called "20 days of Dallas", which focuses on his antics and his song She Bad.
For the first few weeks of the general election campaign, searches of Twitter and YouTube for the term "Cameron" were dominated by Cameron Dallas content, but in the past 72 hours this has started to change. "Cameron" was used in more than 300,000 tweets over the last three days. Of those some 56,000 tweets included the name "David Cameron", and about 53,000 included "Cameron Dallas". Some of the remaining 200,000 tweets discussed one Cameron or the other under hashtags such as #SheBadToNumberOne or #ge2015. Oh, and another 3,000 referenced the Canadian film director James Cameron.
But by Tuesday night, political discussion in the UK was enough to push David ahead of Dallas on Twitter. Some 25,000 tweets worldwide referenced David Cameron during this period, while only 6,000 discussed Cameron Dallas. Of course, that doesn't mean that those Twitter users were talking about David Cameron in a universally positive light.
Tuesday was also the night when the platform was in the grip of "Milifandom" fever, when many teenage supporters of the Labour leader started sharing photos. That prompted Conservative Party supporters to try to wrest control of the debate by tweeting furiously under the hashtag "Cameronette." Of the top ten most popular tweets under the term "Cameron", seven of them now refer to the Conservative leader.
David Cameron is not the only leader whose name which has the potential to get lost in the fog of social media. A search by surname for the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood over the past three days produced advertisements for "wooden hair Japanese sticks", before any discussion of the politician. And a surname search for Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett will throw up results for the American singer Tony Bennett, who has recently released a jazz album with the pop star Lady Gaga.
There's one place where the younger Cameron still wins out though - on Vine. Each Cameron Dallas clip gets more than a million loops a few hours after it is uploaded to his account. And despite having more than 19,000 followers on his official Vine account, David Cameron is yet to post a single film.
Blog by Hannah Henderson
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