by Alan Jacques
“THERE is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about,” Oscar Wilde once famously declared.
If there is any truth to the flamboyant Irish writer’s celebrated words, then Fine Gael should be happy with the revelation that they have been the most discussed political party on the social media platform in Limerick since last November.
New data released by Facebook also shows that Labour were the second most talked about party in the city and county, with Sinn Féin coming up in third spot. Fianna Fáil came fourth in the rankings for conversations in Limerick, followed by the Green Party, the Social Democrats, the Anti Austerity Alliance, Renua and the People Before Profit Alliance.
Facebook’s data has also revealed that health, the economy and infrastructure were the most discussed election-related issues in Limerick. Social welfare, crime and corruption, education, housing, flooding and abortion have also been hot topics of conversation on social media locally in the run up to General Election 2016.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was the most discussed political leader in Limerick, with Tánaiste Joan Burton coming second. Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin was third in the county ahead of Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin.
Of course, the tone of these conversations, and whether they were positive or derogatory, is another story altogether.
According to Facebook’s politics and government specialist, Elizabeth Linder, the level of election-related conversation on Facebook gets louder and louder across the counties, including Limerick, as February 26 approaches.
“As this data for Limerick shows, we’ve been able to really dig down into these interactions and understand what issues voters really care about. What is clear is that there is a lot of interest in the election throughout the county.
We expect to see even further activity from Limerick based Facebook users over the rest of the campaign,” she said.