Australian political observers will not need to be alerted to the fact that we have a new Prime Minister: Monday afternoon, former Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull unexpectedly challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the leadership, and later that night won a party room ballot in a 54 to 44 decision. As with the previous leadership spills (from Rudd to Gillard in 2010, and from Gillard to Rudd in 2013), social media – and especially Twitter – once again played an important role in tracking this unfolding story across many different rumours and reports. Here’s how they did it.
In the early days of Web 2.0, the arrival of blogs and similar sites heralded an explosion in the number of news feeds we could follow. But such abundance also came at a price: it became increasingly difficult to keep up with all this content without having to browse at length from site to site every day.
In response, a friendly acronym briefly flourished: Rich Site Summary, better known as Really Simple Syndication or RSS. Coupled with a feed reader tool, RSS enables users to quickly scan the headlines and click through only to those stories that pique their interest.
Like most people with even a passing interest in the part played by News Corporation in British politics, I remember exactly what I was doing when scandal broke in 2011 and the sense of a seemingly indestructible media behemoth crumbling into chaos and ruin before our eyes. Now, Rebekah Brooks is to return as chief executive of News UK, publisher of the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times. In 2014 she was cleared of all charges relating to the phone-hacking scandal.