Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shovelware seems de rigeur

Just as US parties and candidates are embracing all communications technological, and Labour leadership hopefuls are experimenting with social media, it seems the Liberal Democrats are in retreat away from the Internet. Dizzy bemoans the death of another blog and I agree, but also note the lack of enthusiasm within the party to keep it going. Rob Fenwick, who runs the Liberal Democrat Voice, says in his post that he no longer has time but no-one else has come forward, so the e-presence is simply their website and the Lib Dem blogs network. The loss of 'the voice' is that central place where many news and views were collected and disseminated, so in terms of creating an online supporters' community this is a backwards step.

Similar negatives can be levelled at the Ming Campbell blog, started with little fanfare on Feb 10th 2006, but which is only really a blog in style. The entries are impersonal, slightly more attractive than press releases (they include videos etc) but seems to attract very little in the way of comments and does not offer dialogue to visitors. 'LibDem blogs' still collects various postings together but it is simply a database that takes visitors to the host blog. So it seems, despite the potential the Internet can offer to parties with limited funds that the LibDems are missing the same tricks as their larger counterparts, more shovelware anyone?


Mark Pack said...

Darren - there's actually plenty of enthusiasm for having a successor to Lib Dem Voice (as my in and outboxes in the last few days would testify!), and I'm sure one will appear in one form or another fairly soon.

Re Ming's blog - it does take comments and where appropriate Ming or his office responds to them - so there is some dialogue.

You're right that there aren't that many, but by contrast the wall on Ming's facebook profile (where again he responds) is pretty lively most of the time and has quite a high level of postings.

Darren G. Lilleker said...

Hi Mark, good to hear from you.

I am glad that LDV will have a successor, I think it has enormous value as a hub.

My problem with Ming's blog is that it reads as a series of press releases so does not really attract interaction. When reviewing sites it is not whether avisitor can physically comment, rather whether visitors feel encouraged to do so. It looks like stories that would appear elsewhere, and to be fair I think some have!

I have to admit to being a facebook novice and so couldn't find 'the wall'; 1640 friends is very impressive though. I suppose the question is should there be one central hub for interaction, which seemed to be the case for both Sarkozy and Royale, though there were other sites that visitors were invited into, or should it be more disparate and using a range of different sites for completely different purposes?

Still early days so impossible to know which works better long term. Happy to chat further

Mark Pack said...

Ming's approach has been much more to go out to where the audiences are rather than to build a central audience - hence probably more time is spent by him and his staff on looking after his Facebook profile than on his blog/website.

Cameron and his team by contrast seem to go for the opposite approach of getting people to come to them much more. It'll be interesting to see what Gordon Brown ends up doing.

Darren G. Lilleker said...

And perhaps Ming is right to go to the potential voters and pull them towards him as opposed to expecting them to come and find him.

Think though that more links should take visitors directly to the interactive elements. A 'Chat to Ming' link perhaps.

Brown is yet to find a way due to the strange interregnum in which we find ourselves.

I thought that the ICT side was fairly peripheral but it is really growing in use and I think importance - ot at least that is what my next project might just test out.

Mark Pack said...

As a follow up, there's a good example today of Ming going to where the audience is with him commenting on someone else's blog: