Social media tools and services are unlikely to affect the results of the general election, according to a panel of digital media experts.
The election is due to take place before June this year with the Labour Party looking to secure an historic fourth consecutive term in office.
The possibility of a hung parliament is looming, however, as neither political party looks substantially ahead in the polls.
With this uncertainty in mind, a Digital Election Panel debated some potential last minute factors in the election's outcome at the Frontline Club, including the potential of Twitter and Facebook to turn the public's opinion in favour of either party.
The consensus was that social networks, as currently used by political parties, will not be a viable campaign tool in this election, but could be in the future if used more efficiently.
Political debates on social networks generally attract people who already have well formed opinions, the panel said. Those who are not interested can ignore the political online forums, as they do debates taking place in the offline world.
"The capability of candidates and their party's policies will decide the election result, but Twitter will certainly change the way people react to stories and gather information," said Alberto Nardelli, chief executive and co-founder of political Twitter tracker Tweetminster.
Chris Condron, head of digital strategy at the Press Association, suggested that Twitter, at least in the political sphere, is really just a medium for journalists at present.
"However, if it had mass use it could be used by its audience to connect around issues and build networks," he said.
"In the longer term, politicians may be able to use social media to listen more to the electorate, but in the short term they will not be able to use the social tools to turn the election around."
The panel also maintained that the political parties are not using social networks as effectively as they could.
"Think about how Barack Obama is posting photos on Flickr, while David Cameron is hiring photographers to take pictures of him outside Westminster Abbey," said Sky News political correspondent Niall Paterson.
The rest of the panel agreed that UK political parties remain a long way from using the techniques pioneered by Howard Dean and perfected during Obama's campaign that are said to have secured him the presidency in 2008.
"The Conservatives have this top down model that is only effective on some social media sites like YouTube, while Labour has a grass-roots passion for social networks that is still very much unorganised," said Nardelli.
Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy suggested that no party has the right strategy, and are all too cautious.
"The Conservatives are doing more than they did six months ago, but it is still this one-way traffic where the party is alerting people to links and posting content. People still find it difficult talking to the party leaders," he said.
"Meanwhile, Labour has this big presence on social networks but most of it is unofficial. For example, Labour only really has John Prescott and Alastair Campbell and then lots of foot soldiers on Twitter."
Condron concluded that political parties operate in an atmosphere of discipline and control, and that social media platforms are "anything but".
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