I am currently doing some research assessing how interactive MPs are using Web 2.0 platforms such as Facebook etc. While it may be assumed that having a 'Facebook' is interacting it is not, and hence we return to that Web 1.5 idea I blogged a couple of weeks ago. I was informed that the Elizabeth Shenton, Liberal Democrat candidate for the forthcoming Nantwich & Crewe by-election, had announced her candidature first on Facebook - a first. Visiting her site I expected requests for help, attempts at interaction, perhaps joining groups relevant to the area. I was disappointed!
She lists her favourite music, TV shows, Movies and Books, her interests position her to some extent "Making hand-made greetings cards, setting puzzles for magazines, cats, visiting farmers markets, baking, country walks and of course my family!". the 'About Me' section reads bizarrely "The legal print for the by-election: published and promoted by Neil Trafford on behalf of myself, both at Capital House, Fourth Avenue, Crewe, CW1 6XL". Did a copy and paste go wrong? There are no wall posts, in fact the wall seems to be disabled.
Now it is early days and it is easy to criticise when you are not mobilising voters for today's local elections etc. So this is advise for the future. Find out what the Facebookers of the constituency are involved in and join in, support causes and campaigns they care about, perhaps offer to give them voice during the campaign; interact, messages of support give indication of having support. Facebook is about friends communicating, it can be used as a tool for becoming part of a community, it should not be used to advertise or to generate publicity; this is Web 1.0 not Web 2.0. I want to see Web 2.0 used, and see if it can have an impact, but to find this out it has to be used appropriately- there's a challenge set!