General Election 2010: The first campaigns to use Social Media

This time around the General Election will be more affected by social and media than ever before, with it having an influence all its own, on politics today. The election campaigns being presently crafted by creative and media agencies will be very different from the campaigns of the past as technology and especially social media takes us into a new age of electioneering.

Although the internet was used extensively in the 2008 election, this is the first year that political parties themselves should really harness the power of social media themselves. All the signs are pointing to the fact that people in Westminster are aware of this. The Tory party were the first to get on board after the election of 2005 when they took on somebody just to oversee online activities, setting up websites and a David Cameron video diary on YouTube.

The Labour Party are fast catching up though with the launch of an iPhone app to co-ordinate campaigning, an extensive email database, and websites based around particular issues. The”Twitter Tsar”, aka Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s new-media organiser says, “We have been fostering the online community of members and supporters, who are involved in anything from Tweeting activists to creating viral campaigns off their own backs”, adding that this community beta tests a lot of what they do.

Last word though goes to Matt Smith of The Viral Factory, who asserts the main parties still haven’t got to grips with social media. Although he acknowledged that all parties have some bright people who know how to use social media, he then says, “The problem is, the people at the top just don’t have a clue”.