Friday, April 18, 2008

Political Communication v.1.5

What many of us are fairly familiar with is the traditional top-down model of political communication which is carefully packaged for the media consumption by a mass audience; this is political communication v.1.0. The Internet offers new means of targeting smaller audiences with bespoke messages as well as allowing a more conversational discourse between elected and citizens; this is particularly the case with Web 2.0 applications and tools which increasingly appear as part of the professional political communicator's toolkit. We are finding that O'Reilly's architecture of participation, providing a place where people can come and contribute, is being created; perhaps giving birth to a political public sphere. But for the electoral political organisation there are other imperatives also, these include: avoiding embarrassing contributions and user generated videos, pictures and comments; controlling the message and brand communication; gaining support through perception management; and trying to become the focal point of a community online in order to build offline participatory support. This means that the democratic structure that characterises Web 2.0 is often absent, comments are moderated to ensure control, interaction is limited and politicians can remain spectators of discussions and not engaging directly with voters who come into their participator architecture. Myself and Nigel Jackson thus propose we are seeing political communication v.1.5, adapting slightly to Web 2.0 but also adapting Web 2.0 to the requirements of the electoral cycle. A thought that hopefully will be published soon, comments are welcome.


Adam Abu Nab said...
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Adam Abu Nab said...

Cool, new buzzwords!

We reached PR 2.0 a while back so surely this is a case of political communicators being lazy?

Very interesting stuff though. I'd like to know the relationship of journalists in PC v 1.5.

For my diss I produced a model on consumer(voters in this context) practitioners/journalist relations of the future. Consumers talking amongst each other and orgs talking back will take reduce the authority that journalists have as an intermediary. I discuss how often the media is relegated to monitoring and reporting on the direct exchanges between consumers and corporations, but 'intermediary' journalists may now be becoming more of an equal partner to the consumer as everyone has direct access to each stakeholder in the process. Interesting to see how this fits into PC 1.5.

Here's was my humble attempt at a model, note smr is a social media press release:

Darren G Lilleker said...

I like the diagram and agree that there may well be greater equality between the consumer and journalist in setting the agenda; though I suppose the journalist still has some power in gatekeeping over what reaches the masses. Not sure if the same is true of politics, there are an elite (Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale) who can drive media coverage not sure how much the voices of ordinary voters make it unless they are solicited by the journalist. But I do think you might be on to something here

Adam Abu Nab said...

I have come across the argument that Web 2.0's citizen journalism emphasis, if anything, is heightening the importance of those at the top of the professional journalism ladder as they will also report on their asssertions. Contradictomg the model I created, I agree a tad.

Which makes you think that all this is just evolution of the Web rather than the wholesale exachange of eras. There is already talk of Web 3.0, PR 3.0 etc. It's getting a bit out of hand!

David Phillips, of my fixation, said:


You have got 'fixed' by the term Web 2.0.

There has always been 'social media' online. Blogs are a grown up version of Usenet (which is over 20 years old!); Twitter is IRC Chat in disguise; Wikis are web multiple author web sites.

We have seen all this before.

So the work of Gregory or Holtz of a decade ago is still valid. There are differences but not a great deal. My first 'computing cloud' was email with Yahoo, over a decade ago.

Look at McSpotlight as a case study and long before blogs it was driven by 'social media'.

As for PR 2.0 - there is no such thing. Its an American marketing bling statement because its different to press agentry which is what they believe PR is.

Relationships with publics need communication as a tool. so PR is NOT communication. Communicatioj is the tool.

Press Agentry is device in communication (part of relationship management).

'PR 2.0' is a device in communication (part of relationship management)

So is lobbying etc etc.

The internet evolves but not all of it new. In fact not much is new just evolutionary."


Adam Abu Nab said...

If you haven't come across this model before, it's definitely worth a look:

Darren G Lilleker said...

Thanks for this, have seen it and think that there is something between critics and creators, people who may not create but are not simply reacting - perhaps co-producers or co-creators. But that's just me, cheers!