Twitter 2014: Twitter hype fills lull in election race

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Kim Dotcom has a big announcement planned for September 15. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kim Dotcom has a big announcement planned for September 15. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Twitter has been quieter this week as Parliament has been in recess. But pundits still found plenty to be outraged about, boosted by Kim Dotcom threatening to drop an electoral bombshell and reactions to a blog post by Whaleoil's Cameron Slater.

Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) has been out on an electioneering "roadtrip", often by helicopter. This has been nicely parodied by a new fake account, @KimNotcom: "Sorry Frau Laila & Herr Hone, when you said 'roadtrip' I thought you meant ve vould look at zee roads from my helicopter".

Dotcom first revealed on Twitter that he was planning to announce something "big" on September 15. Further details were greeted with a mixture of anticipation and scepticism. Left-wing pundit Martyn Bradbury (@CitizenBomber) crowed: "Gosh - isn't John Campbell looking very justified in this criticism of Key, the GCSB and America with latest Kim Dotcom secret papers".

But from the sceptic camp, blogger Morgan Godfery (@MorganGodfery) cautioned: "I think KDC is trying - failing - to save face. He's come up empty, but is hoping for something - anything - before the election".

A controversial post by Slater (@Whaleoil) on the Tania Billingsley case generated Twitter-rage this week. Joshua Drummond (@cakeburger) called it "beyond vile. If National have any decency they'll distance themselves from him". Drummond might have been referring to the links between Slater and National MPs, including Judith Collins, who had claimed Whaleoil was "better informed and better read than any other news outlet".

RadioLive political editor Jessica Williams (@mizjwilliams) begged to differ: "Well I think we've just proven beyond doubt that Whale is not a journalist". With Slater recently named Blogger of the Year, several tweeters tried to apply pressure on media awards sponsor Canon but appeared to gain little traction.

Paul Henry was also trending on Twitter due to an off-colour question on his TV3 show, which had columnist Paul Harper (@pauljmharper) summing up the week: "Paul Henry being sexist: check. Whale Oil being vile: check. NZ Twitter is a Bob Jones column away from exploding". But NBR journalist Rob Hosking (@robhosking) was among a number sensing manufactured hysteria: "Just realised the only people in my feed who link to Whale Oil are left wingers. How's that working out for y'all, huh? ".

Otago University political experts Dr Bryce Edwards (@bryce-edwards) and Geoffrey Miller (@GeoffMillerNZ) are following the impact of Twitter on the election campaign.

- Herald on Sunday

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