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What on earth is Sinn Féin's digital rising?

The party has launched a new online initiative aimed at spreading its message further on social media.

SINN FÉIN HAS launched a new campaign to recruit online activists in a bid to enhance its presence and spread its message on social media.

The party’s Sinn Féin Online Supporter page is asking users to join the campaign to “reshape politics in Ireland and in doing so usher in an era of radical change that puts the interest of our citizens at the heart of all we do”.

Sinn Féin acknowledges the transformative effect that the internet and sites like Facebook and Twitter have had on politics globally and in Ireland.

The page’s logo is particularly striking, encouraging users to ‘be part of the digital rising’:

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 18.03.14

“Never before has there been so many ways that you can help influence and make change happen through this global online community we live in. Thousands of people from every walk of life have already signed up from across Ireland and beyond to become Online Supporters for Sinn Féin,” the blurb says.

Those who sign-up are asked to provide an email and their constituency. They are able to link their Facebook and Twitter accounts with Sinn Féin’s and are also invited to share their age, address and other contact details.

They will receive email updates and be encouraged to share the party’s messages on their own social media pages.

A spokesperson explained that those who sign-up would not be full party members but would be classed as ‘online supporters’, saying:

We’re directing it at our support base, the idea is that they would take our social media stuff, our online message, and share it across their platforms and get our message out further and wider.

They added it would also focus on people who would support Sinn Féin but would not have the time to help out canvassing or distributing leaflets.

“They have young families and don’t want to canvass but maybe when they put the kids to bed, they open up their laptop and have a look online and get the message out as far as possible on social media,” the spokesperson added.

Sinn Féin already has a particularly strong presence on social media with its official account having more followers than any other party. Leading figures like Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin McGuinness are prolific Twitter users.

Adams’s Twitter account, which has nearly three times as many followers as any other party leader, has become particularly famous in recent years. / YouTube

Party supporters are also among the most active on social media.

Although a recent study found that its supporters are less likely to use Twitter than other party supporters.

But Sinn Féin has also faced criticism for having so-called ‘keyboard warriors’ who have attacked abuse victim Máiria Cahill online.

It’s also had a number of recent controversies on Facebook with one of its councillor’s complaining he was bullied by another member on Facebook. Another councillor was criticised this week for referring to the people who run Irish rugby as ‘West Brits’.

Read: Gerry Adams is winning at Twitter

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