Lessons the UK can learn from internet(s) use in the US elections

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 8, 2004

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
3:47 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

I went to this event last night:
Online Campaigning: Lessons the UK can learn from internet use in US elections

Here’s a write-up by Brian Wheeler.

There were some interesting opinions and some bullshits ones. Some interesting statistics… and some bullshit ones.

The key bullshit statistic came from Professor Stephen Coleman, who crunched quite a few interesting numbers from before and after the US election, but the slide that really caught my attention suggested that television was a primary influencer of voters, but equally influential were emails from – and discussions with – friends/family. Whose opinions were formed by… what, exactly? My guess would be television.The discussion of websites, weblogs, meetups and fundraisers made it clear that there was also a pattern of raising money online (or via communities online) in order to spend it on… television.This didn’t just involve candidates. Organisations like MoveOn.org and the Swift Boat Liars had their campaigns geared to raising money for broadcast, too.Still, the use of humour (online and offline) and its overall influence was on pretty steady ground statistically. And my experiences here at Bloggerheads bear that out.The key bullshit opinion came from… Professor Stephen Coleman.Professor Coleman doesn’t have a weblog himself. He even stated quite clearly that he doesn’t spend a lot of time looking at them. But that didn’t stop him from assuring everyone present that weblogs take a lot of time to manage.Oh, really? How does he know?FFS, this is the kind of disinformation that makes the campaign to get MPs blogging that much harder; I wish ‘experts’ would stop keeping this myth alive.Forgive me for repeating myself:Maintaining a weblog doesn’t take a lot of time. It requires a lot of commitment. There is a difference.Moving right along…Phil Noble noticed political banner ads getting click-through rates of up to 30% (the average click-through rate for banners is 3%)… so I may have to re-think banner ads in the coming months. While I also work out how to take my meagre budget and gear it towards broadcast output.Oh, and a lot of people in the audience were aware of (and discussing) this piece from yesterday’s TimesWhy Tony Blair should be worrying: Some Labour voters simply want to punish the Government. For some of them, not all, the threat of letting the Tories in is less of a deterrent than it once was. Many of them do not believe that there will be a big enough swing to defeat the Government outright, but that enough will vote to tame the Government. For some of those Labour voters who believe the Prime Minister misled the country over the war, voting for anti-war candidates is fast becoming a duty. I write as someone who supports the war in Iraq and knows that many of my constituents will punish me at the election.You need to keep the above in mind when you consider what Julia Glidden said right at the end of the event. She was of the opinion that during the UK General Election we wouldn’t see a serious level of online engagement from the established parties, but we would see more third parties “smashing monolithic messaging.”She doesn’t know how right she is. And she is right. It’s not often a revolution is undertaken by the establishment.UPDATE – Here’s the VoxPolitics view. Keep an eye on Slugger; he should have a post up shortly.UPDATE – Yup, Thar she blows. And the Hansard round-up (a collection of other round-ups, really) is here.


  1. www.perfect.co.uk says

    Online Campaigning: Lessons the UK can learn

    I have my own opinons of course, but for now here are Brian Wheeler’s, Tim Ireland’s and Tom Steinberg’s write up of last night’s Hansard event – Online Campaigning: Lessons the UK can learn from internet use in US election….

  2. Slugger O'Toole says

    US election: the net changed politics if not the president

    Last Tuesday night the Grand Committee Room in Westminster played host to an impressive range of speakers, each reflecting on the role of the Internet in the recent US Presidential campaign. Slugger was there to cover it!…

  3. Slugger O'Toole says

    Bloggers and journalists reading Slugger…

    A quick catchup on other sites that have been kind enough to mention Slugger recently. If we don’t mention your site let us know! We get a mention on: Anita Roddick’s modest blogroll (scroll down); Chris Hitchens ; Bloggerheads and the Sorryday campaig…

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