Monday, 4 January 2010

The Election Will Be Won by Blogs and Tweets

According to Toby Helm in yesterday's Observer, the rise of social networking sites, such as Facebook on the internet, has caused an enormous change in politics.

The main UK parties are devoting almost as much of their attention to how to turn the internet's power, reach and speed to their advantage, as they are to actual policy.

The internet will bring opportunities but also dangers. It will help make election 2010, as Professor Anthony King of Essex University predicts "the most unpredictable since 1974". Politicians will for the first time in a campaign be able "to talk directly to voters" through mediums such as podcasts and blogs, bypassing the traditional media. Cameron has been doing this since 2006 on webCameron, while Brown now puts out his own regular weekly podcast (which I hasten to say I've never watched).

If the SNP get their act together and revamp their website to make it appealing, that could be a great asset for the independence cause. Just a thought.


Quiet_Man said...

Facebook........possible, though unlikely, if people are not interested in politics they'll just block.
Twitter.......... no way, it's just mass texting and very limited to those who want to play, which means no one outside politics.
Blogs.........possible, but again if people are not interested in politics they'll just not read your blog.

I suspect people will vote with their hearts (I've always voted xxx) Or their minds via the media campaigns, billboards, MSM making their minds up for them.

Assuming they choose to vote at all.

Vronsky said...

I think the main worry that politicians have about the internet is that it allows us, the proles, to spread information among ourselves without the filter of the MSM. Politicians are not so much interested in using the internet, as in shutting it down. Your own unfortunate experience and that of others points to what we should expect in the future. The Australians have already started down that road.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Unfortunately Rosa the election will be won by Sods and Twats on the back of apathy.

Scotland has a choice. The only question being has it the guts to take the opportunity afforded by that choice?

England has only options in institutionalised mediocrity.

subrosa said...

QM I think the 'big' blogs will play a part but I too think Facebook and Twitter will be of little influence.

The reason for my blog comment is that blogs can appear on the first page of google if someone does a search with the right words. Ah, yes, the 'right' search words - my Achilles heel.

subrosa said...

Very interesting link Vronsky, thank you. There is no doubt there is a list lurking in the UK too, all in the name of protecting the cheeeldreeen of course.

subrosa said...

Much of that is up to the SNP Crinkly. Quite a burden on them but they do have a large, solid supporter base in Scotland and if we all pull together who knows?

Tcheuchter said...

"If the SNP get their act together and revamp their website to make it appealing, that could be a great asset for the independence cause. Just a thought."

My impression is that the SNP is not really interested in independence, only in taking its orders directly from Brussels rather than from Brussels via Whitehall.

As I live amongst fishermen whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the EU I shall continue to support the UKIP.

caebrwyn said...

I live in Wales and am as yet undecided, but have noticed that Plaid Cymru, compared to the other main parties in Wales, seem to be very well ahead with their use of internet/social networking to address the voters. This will only be to their advantage in the next election.

Hythlodaeus said...

I mostly agree Subrosa. I don't think the balance of the elections will be held entirely by the blogs and digital media, but they will have a noticeable impact. There is a lot more then just the internet making this election unpredictable - the lack of Tory substance, the invisible Lib Dems and the Labour leadership to give but three examples.

I do disagree with you and Quiet_Man as far as the use of Facebook and Twitter go. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter all serve different purposes.

Facebook is an ideal platform for helping to target new voters, organise youth activists and promoting free information about both the election and the party. Likewise for Bebo and other social media sites which have a predominately young and apathetic userbase.

Twitter and chat forums (like the infamous Mumsnet) allow PPCs to engage directly with an audience who won't or can't attend traditional meetings or events. Admittedly much harder to use successfully, but if well advertised, they could be highly effective.

Blogs serve as an activist platform and for a way for some candidates to make their voices heard, humanise themselves and generally make a good impression. While I generally don't agree with him, Tom Harris' blog is an excellent example for politicians of how to do this.

As far as "'right' search words" goes, it's a tricky business.

subrosa said...

I do hope you're proved wrong Tcheuchter I really do.

Let's see what happens at the Bill debate.

subrosa said...

Of course it will be caebrwyn, do hope the SNP begins to take it seriously.

subrosa said...

Hythlodaeus, I suspect you're right about Facebook and Twitter and the like.

I'm showing my age here and forgetting the young ones use these sites with ease. I'm rather hesitant about them because I find they can be intrusive although I do use Twitter myself.

The problem is still there though. To engage in these sites requires an interest in politics. Mind you, I think many people are interested although would never admit the fact.

Tom Harris' blog isn't just a political blog. This one isn't either. I would find it extremely boring to post only on Scottish politics because I'd be writing for the converted. My aim is to write about Scotland too and also international issues which directly affect us here.

It would be good to hear from SNP members their views of why they want to be in the EU and why they're not interested in a debate about it for example.

During the Glasgow NE campaign I did offer all candidates a platform for their views. Unfortunately only one took it up. Such a shame really as it would be much easier to use established blogs than to start new ones now. It's too late for the GE now, although not perhaps for the Scottish elections next year.

I do hope the SNP aren't put off by recent happenings and get on with it. Ignoring this modern medium is throwing votes at their opponents.

Jess The Dog said...

I think that - in general - blogs (etc) reflect rather than shape opinion. I followed the GE97 website back in 1997 and this discussion board was overwhelmingly Lab/Lib Dem. Now the finger is on the other mouse button....

However...the main potential for the blog (etc) to win or lose the election is the introduction of a game-changing event, like the Guido Fawkes Damien McBride scoop. Scenarios include a similar sleaze explosion or a political implosion...if someone gives Brown access to Twitter, for example!

subrosa said...

Yes indeed blogs can alter the course of an election issue Jess, but I also think the comments on some blogs can instigate interest for some who are doubtful.

Don't wish Brown and Twitter on the country for goodness sake! I think labour have been sensible enough to leave the Twitter campaigning to his wife. She's been practicing for some time now. :)

Keith Ruffles said...

It's certainly a nice idea that our online scribblings may have some influence on those outside our immediate circle of friends and followers..!

subrosa said...

It is indeed Keith. Judging by some of the visitors some blogs seem to receive it's not always friends and followers. :)

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