Thursday, May 13, 2010

BBC: Did bloggers influence the election?

The BBC website has a piece where five bloggers consider their role in the campaign, relationship with their parties and what the future holds for them.

Those five are Harry Cole (Tory Bear), Will Straw (Left Foot Forward), Ellie Gellard (Stilettoed Socialist) Mark Pack (Liberal Democrat Voice and his own blog), Jim Jepps (The Daily (Maybe))and me.

Interestingly, the Liberal Democrats - Mark and I - seem the least convinced that blogs had a great effect on the contest. Mark says:
"The internet on this election has been like the mobile phone, it became absolutely essential and people used it all the time, hour by hour. But if you take a step back, you can conclude that neither has reshaped politics in a great way."


Charlieman said...

When mobile phones were introduced, sales people used them furiously. As soon as they became stuck in traffic on the way to a meeting, they'd phone a different customer to pacify them or to deliver a five minute pitch. Eventually, every sales person had a mobile phone and the advantage was lost; the pacification or sales pitch was much better delivered (by others) without the distractions of mobile phone driving, and sales people gave up on the methodology.

Internet campaigning has followed a similar pattern. If your opponent can easily copy what you do, the methodology is doomed.

The BIG internet campaigning idea will not be technological; it will be social and distinctive; it will be driven by motivations of campaign supporters that are not transferrable to other campaigns.

US Democrat successes do not qualify according to these rules. The Tea Party movement has copied them very well. A US Democrat success would have to be something that the Tea Party cannot replicate.

Pat said...

The internet's effect during the campaign has been negligible, except as a tool to get out the vote- people log on to web sites they have already chosen, and just get reinforcement for the views they had at the start.
However, the ability the web gives for very cheap publishing, combined with the (excellent) blog convention of the hat tip has had a large part to play in shaping public opinion in the years running up to the election.
The blogoshere makes it possible for those interested in a subject (any subject, though here we're talking about politics) to find more facts and informed opinion than ever before- but it is the effect of those interested talking to those mildly interested that shifts the political landscape, and there isn't time during a six/eight week campaign.

Anonymous said...

Ellie Gellard, surely? All the Ellises I havek now would have looked very wierd in stilletoes.

Jonathan Calder said...

Ellie it is now.