Perhaps it is just because I have only started twittering this week but there did seem to be a lot of talk about the new conservative party website – but perhaps the twitterati are always this vocal!
Of the articles/blogs I’ve read today I thought the futuregov one was probably gives the best summary/analysis – you can read it here. One thing I would pick up on is mentioned in the FutureGov piece – there is no social networking or online community building included as part of the site. Now in some ways you can just see this as more honest – I can’t imagine the party machine (of any party) listening to on online debate on their manifesto – but its a fairly stark admission in my mind. Its all about broadcast views and comments – not about valuing the community and their contribution. This is so very similar to the way that government has ended up relying on consultation rather than listening and debate – but I think really highlights the fact that “politics” seems to be getting in the way of actually engaging with the issues.
But the reason that this has set us all chirping is the parallel’s with the Obama campaign and its huge success in the online arena – and its clear that as a campaigning platform this is very impressive and I hope the other parties step up to the plate. I have to say I do wonder if the website will be able to mobilise the party followers in the same was as was achieved in the US – but I don’t really know enough about grassroot party membership to know – please comment if you do!
I guess the thought to finish with was something said to me today by one of the people in the Virtual Town Hall Pilot: “I am quite excited to see UK politics pick up on the Obama banner/strategy +interested to see how it works here…potential to get more online people engaged in UK politics – surely knock on to local – which is what people really care/can make a difference. This is why we need to be in a position to funnel users into our democratic channels etc.” And I have to say I agree – feel free to criticise me but I feel very little connection with politics at a national level – but I do have a huge belief in the opportnity for local politics to improve. Hopefully the spotlight of fancy new websites and a general election is something we can use to help achieve this.
PS – the only reason for the title was the idea that you might want your own conservatives – I just find this rather odd – it kind of assumes that the site is only for people who have made up their mind – but on reflection perhaps this is exactly what it is!