>Why this is not the ‘internet election’ for the Lib Dems


In recent weeks I have seen endless blog posts discussing whether the imminent General Election will be the ‘social media’ or ‘internet’ election. On Richard Bacon’s prime time Radio 5 Live show there was an excellent 35 minute discussion on the issue, with a panel including Lib Dem Voice’s Mark Pack, and the Conservative blogger Iain Dale.

Well,  maybe  for Labour and possibly even the Tories it will be a new kind of election, but not for us. At so many recent conferences and events I have been to recently  I have heard people at the top of the Liberal Democrats go on about our use of ‘exciting new technology’, but those same people seem unprepared to put their money where their mouth is and fund campaigns using this technology properly. This is not just a personal gripe after some frustrating encounters with the party.  This is me as a party member wanting us to be as successful as possible at the next general election and raising a genuine concern.

When Lib Dems trot out the example of the Obama campaign they forget some very key factors-the Obama team committed time, effort and money to their new media and web presence which was then converted into people on the street. The proper funding and execution of new web-based technology came first. It wasn’t just about having a good, regular Twitter feed. Obama had a genuine multimedia presence that, because of the quality of the content, people chose spread virally. PPC’s being encouraged to have a Facebook page doesn’t quite cut it in the same way does it?

I am sure that this debate will rumble on throughout the election period. I appreciate that because we are not pay-rolled by Unions or tax dodgers Liberal Democrat funding will always be tight, but until somebody at the top of the party commits people and money to developing a proper multimedia and web presence that doesn’t just preach to the choir the Lib Dems will continue to miss a trick. And we can all go back to delivering another leaflet nobody wants to read instead…


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