Online political campaigning

With the local elections in the UK fast approaching, might we see a little innovation? If so, Colin Delany offers his ‘Online Politics 101‘ as a free download to provide politicos with a comprehensive guide to the social media tools that can be used on the campaign trail. Similarly, an article promoting the use of such tools, entitled ‘How to use social networks to engage with citizens‘ by Kelly Dempski of Accenture appears in Computing of 10 February 2011. Kelly makes nine key points –

• “Use data about citizens that is readily available from social media sites to serve them better – not to watch over them.

• Use the channels to create a dialogue with their citizens, rather than as a megaphone to blast their message.

• Use the different channels together to maximise their interaction with the public.

• Know which channels are most important to reaching their audience and/or have a clear case of why they should come to them.

• Use the proper tone in communicating with the public.

• Make sure they have a capable communicator articulating their messages.

• Know what constitutes success, whether it is in quantitative or qualitative terms.

• Have a plan and know what they want to accomplish.

• Listen to what is being said and act on what is heard”

The final one is most important in my view, since the door opens both ways and citizens are employing social media in many ways against the current regimen of cuts, some examples being listed on False Economy. Whilst there are many more hyperlocal blogs delivering campaign messages that aren’t controlled by the updated guidance on publicity that will constrain those already in government.

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