Web politics: it’s pull not push!

However shaky the Tories flirtation with new media may seem, they have assumed a web leadership role amongst all the political parties in Britain and Ireland. Alliance and the UUP have the only recognisable politician bloggers in Northern Ireland, they are ahead of the curve. The party’s concerned should seek to learn from the experience of the two individuals involved. With the exception of the DUP (who at least let you access their press releases on demand), the rest of the parties seem stuck in an older era of web communication. These are some of the questions that will arise at the Blogging the Election conference at the Digital Hub, Dublin this Saturday October 7th between 10.30am and 4.30pm. If you attending, you have to register as places are limited.

  • alex benjamin

    funny you should post this Mick as we are currently looking into doing a live UUP blog from St Andrews next week with comment from our talks team and staff…watch this space…

  • Mick Fealty

    Excellent Alex. I look forward to that, and good luck!!

  • interested

    Lets hope the UUP ‘live blog’ lasts longer than their promise to publish details of all their talks meetings with the Government.

    I think we got about 2 of them posted before that promised disappeared along with all the others.

    Also, on a side note, what exactly are we going to hear of interest from a bit player in St Andrews? Will it be tales of Billy Armstrong stuck in the rough just of the 15th fairway?

  • Mick Fealty

    That is an important question that every party should be asking. Don’t just tell us something that we don’t know, tell us something we need to know!

  • willis

    If the Labour Party could get its act together I could represent a microparty!

  • Glaucon

    Didn’t Reg Empey promise me at the UUC, when he was standing for leader, that he wouldn’t go into government with Sinn Fein in the lifetime of this Assembly?

  • The parties’ inability to embrace new media has been woeful. By the very nature of their size, I’m sure that all the parties here have ‘experts’ in a range of areas within their membership- presumably this would include people who know about new media. But rather than seek advice from these people, the parties seem to prefer relying on the advice of overpaid outside consultants (who unsurprisingly tend to recommend overpriced services)- usually when it is already too late.

    I’m quite sure there is a lot of us on Slugger who could easily provide blogging advice, facilitate podcasts, design new media projects, etc. for parties, but the opportunity is being wasted. It pretty much reflects the inability of parties here to grasp new concepts as a whole.

    ‘Interested’ also makes a valid point- it is stupid to introduce new media, but then to leave them in the hands of those who misunderstand how best to use them- that’s why it is even more important to use informed insiders to run these projects rather than people who think they’re ‘cool’ but will just end up alienating those whom they are seeking to impress (which would undermine the whole point of it in the first place). It’s not just about introducing new media in themselves, but targeting them properly to achieve the desired outcome- there’s no point podcasting or blogging on boring rubbish that no one cares about!

  • tony clifton

    El Matador

    You make perfect sense, a very useful response. I agree totally sepcifically about becoming involved in ‘new media’ because its ‘cool’ rather than for its functionality.

    The only problem I have with what you are saying is the last part ‘there is no point podcasting or blogging on boring rubbish that no one cares about’ I think that if politicians were to completely avoid this area we will continue to have no or very empty blogs, its a balance…..not everything posted on slugger is interesting, but it is useful.

    If a politician were to have a blog that balanced the boring element of their job with an honest take on the more interesting elements I would definately read it as I believe would alot of other sluggers.

    For what its worth I think that the local politician best suited to blogging would be David Ervine and thoughts or other suggestions people?

    The reasons for my answer are:-
    *Blunt
    *Controversial
    *Doesnt skirt issues
    *Percieved to be honest
    *Already has a high profile, prob higher than votes should allow.
    *He is the one politician we dont get to hear ‘normal’ policy from i.e. not constitutional or paramilitary related.

  • tony clifton

    Sorry I left out ‘personality’, this is vital for an individuals blog (assuming they are actually doing it themself!)

    E.G. Ervine/Adams/Paisley Sr(although boat has been missed here I think)/McCartney (God forbid this would happen) and a few others could pull it off as their personality likable or otherwise could carry the weight.

    Paisley Jr/McGuinness/Robinson/Ford/Dodds/Empey dont really have the personality to carry an individual blog.

  • Tony-

    Your point about the ‘boring rubbish’ is of course correct (whether something is ‘boring’ and ‘rubbish’ is of course subjective, and I would imagine that most people would describe anything to do with politics thus!)

    I should have been more specific in saying that it is pointless for parties to blog/ podcast on issues that aren’t of importance/ use/ interest to the target audience, or that there is no reason for them to hear about (such as the Billy Armstrong analogy). And if the issues are ‘valid’, it is equally important that they are packaged properly to maximise the impact of their delivery through the medium being used, and that is often where personality and/ or expertise come in to play.

  • tony clifton

    This topic didnt really recieve much interest,is it because people dont want/arent interested in our local politicians blogging?

    I personally have no doubt that most would be awful anyway, but thats hardly the point, the fact that they have missed the boat so drastically to me is unbelievable.

    Blogging has been around for a long time and has moved from geeks in bedrooms to becoming popular to becoming a must have in any bookmarks page, to almost being a cliche to becoming a tool for those who want to seek out different opinions and debate – Meanwhile our politicians seem to have missed all of these phases completely!

    My security word at the bottom is ‘cannot’ that probably sums up our politicians attitude to new media.