Tony Abbott’s comment that social media has “as much credibility as graffiti” has been refuted by a social media expert who says it a “very powerful” extension of voters’ opinions.
An Essential Poll conducted last week showed Australians were using social media sites and Google much more frequently than newspaper websites.
Mr Abbott said social media was like “electronic graffiti” when responding to an online backlash after he made Prince Philip a knight of the order of Australia on Monday morning.
“It has its place, but it’s anonymous and often abusive and has about as much credibility as graffiti,” Mr Abbott said.
“You wouldn’t quote what’s sprayed up on the walls of buildings.”
The decision to make the Duke of Edinburgh a knight was mocked on Twitter, with users saying the decision took Australia back to the Middle Ages.
Hashtags such as #jokeknighthood and #electronicgraffiti began trending in cities like Melbourne on Monday following the announcement.
Tony Abbott is doing more for Republic cause than Bill Shorten.#jokeknighthood
— LaurieOakes (@LaurieOakes) January 25, 2015
Think Tank Social founder Sam Mutimer said it was up to the prime minister to take on board what people were saying about him.
“At the end of the day people vote him in and social media is an extension of that voice,” Ms Mutimer said
“Social media carries messages that are very powerful. When everyone is choosing to share their opinion it will only grow.”
“Anyone can choose to share that opinion and its up to Tony Abbott to take that on board.”
According to the Essential Poll, 42 per cent of people used Facebook daily, while only 18 per cent checked newspapers every day.
Only five per cent checked Twitter daily.
“I think where he [Abbott] stands right now, its important to be aware of what’s happening. The next step is to choose to delve into that conversation or not,” Ms Mutimer said.