Monday, February 02, 2009

E-Representation

Tom Brake, LibDem MP for Carshalton and Wallington, uses Facebook. Not especially as an ordinary member, in terms of ordinary (mundane) status reports or poking or that sort of thing, but as an MP. It is a model of representation, what myself and Nigel Jackson describe as e-representation, where the MP uses the Internet to enhance and make easier their role as a constituency MP. This is a perfect example: Tom updates his Facebook friends on the weather reports and is thanked by fivefor doing so. It is part of the job of the modern day MP, but it also builds up a link between him and constituents, perhaps earns a degree of loyalty but, most importantly, enforces the idea of the MP as a servant of the community. It is an emergent model that has few adherents so far, however while enhancing the service role it is also in some way a conversation starter and Tom does quite a few of these (as do many LibDem Facebook users and a very small minority of other party's MPs). The one aspect that seems to be most lacking is a reply, currently most conversations start with a note from an MP and then receive responses but there is no public sense of the MP commenting back in line with the note. Perhaps this would enhance the representative nature of the relationship to a greater extent and take e-representation to a different level.

2 comments:

Matt Hurst said...

Your quite right, I noticed it alot on twitter feeds.

I did come across one MP, who I applied for a job with so I was researching who replied to their blog, which I found was very interesting.

Maybe there all too scared, or as we all know they like their own voice but not others.

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