Bingo! Embracing social media can be an advantage

 

Share

If you ever doubted that social media could be used to your advantage as a way of fighting back against “the machine” then this was the week that proved it.

Of course, the Turkish Government knew that already. It’s why Prime Minister Erdogan threatened to “wipe out Twitter” when trying to shut it down for “protection measures” on Thursday in a Draconian reaction to corruption allegations. Inevitably, within a day, hundreds of thousands of users had found a way to circumvent the ban using hashtags such as #twitterisblockedinturkey. And when even the Turkish President then tweets his disapproval, you don’t need satirists.

Ah, satire. That brings us closer to home. Last week, the traditional way that British governments manipulate the media was subverted. I’m talking about that Bingo poster, of course, the one that was so misjudged I thought it a spoof. The Tory party chairman Grant Shapps and his gang must have been so pleased with themselves: “Bingo! Cutting the Bingo Tax and Beer Duty” it read: “To help hard-working people do more of the things they enjoy”. Yep! If you somehow missed it, I’m not making it up.

In the 80s and 90s here’s what the Government did: the Tories and the Saatchis, or Blair, Mandelson and their admen, would invite the press along to the unveiling of a single poster. Yes, they may have booked poster sites around the country, but they didn’t really need to because all the assembled hacks would do their work for them. That one poster’s message would feature in every news bulletin and newspaper without fail. And all uncritically so – just like last week’s Mail, Sun and Telegraph post-Budget front pages. It saved a fortune on buying advertising space.

Sure, some of the controversial posters: “Labour isn’t working” and “Demon Eyes” might get debated and eventually parodied, but it was all so after the event.

Fast forward to today. There’s George Osborne delivering an older-voter-pleasing Budget. Then there’s Ed Miliband giving an embarrassing official response. Labour was in disarray. And then Shapps unveiled his little horror.

“Bingo! A Gala Budget. A Mecca For The Masses”, “Bingo! Two Fat Ladies. Not With Us in Charge” were the first spoofs I saw, all adapting the same distinctive, typographical style, and no more ridiculous than  the original.

The modern difference is the immediacy of the satirist’s riposte and the ability of ordinary people (who have Photoshop) to hit back by being as clever, if not more so, than the admen and party strategists. Yes, Ed Miliband must have been mighty relieved, and yes, the poster exposed how out of touch the Tories appear to be with many “hard-working people” , but it also revealed how blase they have become about modern media.

This, dear reader, can be to your benefit. Ignore all the nonsense on twitter about “scrumbags” and “selfies”, and embrace social media as a tool for your own advantage; a way of asserting just a smidgeon  of democracy.

Stefano Hatfield is Editorial Director of London Live

Twitter: @stefanohat

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teachers Required in King's Lynn

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in King's Ly...

Primary Teachers needed in Ely

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The appearance of Miguel Arias Canete at a Brussels hearing last Wednesday caused 100,000 people to sign a petition to prevent his appointment  

TTIP is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the EU's suspect relationships with corporations

Lee Williams
 

Being catcalled, groped and masturbated at is a common part of the female experience

Bryony Beynon
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain