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Rant: Our Stone Age Ministers

February 23, 2009
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This has really touched a nerve for me. As reported on Brand Republic today, the government has been accused of wasting a “grotesque amount of public money” as it seeks to hire a digital guru, whose job will be to help MPs connect with voters online using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The three-year contract calls for a new digital-czar who will direct how government engages with voters and sells its policies online, leading a small team who will also optimise government’s digital spend. Conservative shadow ministers have blasted the posting, saying: “It defies belief that ministers are faffing around on Facebook and Twitter.

“It is a grotesque amount of public money to waste on a pointless job.”

I am gobsmacked that these short sighted ministers have the nerve to make such a ‘grotesque’ statement! They do not know the first thing about staging a conversation with their prospective supporters or engaging with the next generation of voters. Do they honestly believe that local newsletters and websites no-one ever visits are the future of political campaigning?

It shows great awareness on the governments behalf that they are willing to part with such a significant amount of public money in order to drive interest and engage new voters through modern communication channels. It’s about time that such steps were taken in order to optimise the facility available in social networking to have a genuine conversation with their audience.

What makes it even more surprising is how blind these ministers must have been to ignore the strong presence of social media in what was dubbed the ‘Web 2.0’ American Presidential election! Many political commentators have attributed a significant amount of Obama’s success to his Twitter and Youtube presence, as well as his employment of mobile.

Maybe I should be a politician… 🙂

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