Sunday, September 28, 2008

Learning from Obama and Royal

French Presidential runner-up Segolene Royal allowed co-production of policy on her website, creating a 'Notebooks of Hope' section where French voters could express their aspiration about the future. While it did not secure her the office it represented a departure from the traditional top-down style of campaign communication. Obama, meanwhile, has made much use of videos where ordinary Americans can state why they back Obama for the presidency. This method of citizen endorsement could be a highly influential tool of persuasion as well as giving some sense of joint ownership of the campaign to his 'movement'.

Both tools are to be features of the Conservatives revamped website and in particular The Blue Blog according to a BBC News report the initiatives are designed to create a "sense of closeness" between supporters and party leaders - not between the party and ordinary voters one can note. Caroline Spelman is quoted as saying: "With a general election on the horizon the rejuvenated website will play an important role in getting our message out and be an integral part of any campaign." The videos will be recorded at the Conference taking place in Birmingham this week. Clearly it indicates that the Internet is becoming integral to the campaign but what seems doubtful is whether interactivity is a goal.

Picking up on previous posts on Web 2.0, while the party seem keen to mobilise and include the activists, there is doubt as to whether they can draw the key audience of floating voters towards the party. However it may be argued that there is a trickle-down theory here. That by including activists they may draw in a wider audience who can observe the interaction if not take part and so gain a perception of a party that is non-elitist and that listens.

As an aside, if you Google Blue Blog you firstly get a knitting site, then the Conservatives and third an Everton FC supporters blog: not exactly a distinctive name which may be a problem!

No comments: