Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You need cheerleaders

It is unknown what impact the blogosphere has. There is some academic discussion of it acting as an echo chamber for ideas; basically that the messages of a brand, politician, political party or journalist become repeated and circulated across weblogs. Thus it can amplify messages or, by amplifying the messages of one party, it can reduce the impact of opponents. While there are active Labour and Liberal Democrat bloggers, it is the Conservatives that have the most organised, most followed and most sophisticated support in the blogosphere. Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes have become pseudo political celebrities as well as reasonably respected commentators (more the former than the latter) and there are a number of others such as Dizzy and Tory Bear with a significant readership. These may well be significant players among those who follow online debates. Guido mainly now seems to attack Labour at every opportunity, this critique of a party election broadcast is a particularly good swipe at the Labour spin machine

I have only seen one Labour blogger doing the same, Recess Monkey (whose amusing response to the video, if not to the criticisms made, is below) in fact left wing bloggers seem to also take a critical stance a lot of the time.
So the Conservatives have a lot of cheerleaders online while Labour, it seems, are failing to make any breakthrough in this respect. This may be symptomatic of the party's standing; it may be a failure to mobilise supportive bloggers, it may be that this simply not done in Labour circles. If there is an impact, and cheerleaders are important in amplifying messages and getting messages across to new audiences then Labour seem to be seriously lacking here.


Ewan Vellacott said...

Could the lack of cheerleaders be connected to the popularity of the political party too? Labour's share in the polls has dropped over recent years; go back to the 2007 floods and Cameron was behind Brown. Following the "election that never was", supporting Labour seemed to become less fashionable. As a result, people who want either make fun of politics or provide serious comment seem to be either remaining fiercely neutral or taking the side of the popular parties.

When Blair beat Major, the internet was not widely used (everything was dial-up with a monthly subscription plus the cost of the calls) and the cheerleaders came from music and tv stars. Once again, the most vocal supporters were with the poll leader.

Darren G Lilleker said...

There is a saying that is something like to be a winner you have to look like a winner; if you look like a winner then people will believe you can win etc etc. I think there is a lot to that and it is true that cheerleaders need energising, they need to believe and it is hard to believe Labour can win. Also, the caricature of Brown is of a loser, he deserves sympathy but not support so guess the media play a big role in that image too. But, independent of that, it does seem that for some time the right (if we think of there being a right and left anymore) are more active online than the 'left'; or perhaps actually the Conservatives are very active; the independent left and Liberals are fairly active, but Labour are barely out of the blocks.

DomFisher said...

Interesting analysis, Darren.