Thursday, May 27, 2010

Web the way forward for Politicians

US President Barack Obama is many things to many people - but to our TDs, he is a man to be followed for his ability to garner votes and support through social media.

For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years, social media encompasses sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn and even Bebo as a means to communicate to their constituents.

Or for the cynical among you, it is an annoying way to pester you for votes without having to encounter you face to face (some TDs take note!)

A survey carried out in the past week about our politicians and their use of social media has shown that 77% of them plan on using it as an important tool for the next general election.

Well if it worked for Barack Obama....

Less than one third of politicians used social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs during the 2007 general election. But the tide has certainly changed now.

Now an estimated 74% of TDs are using the web to communicate with people - the majority use Facebook, about 42% use Twitter, 35% use blogs and 11% use YouTube.

And the reason - 88% believe that social media is changing the dynamics of politics and communication with voters.

But despite this, 60% still believe that door-to-door canvassing and face-to-face communication is the most important means of communication during an election campaign (they are the ones with an obvious death wish!)

And President Obama can take the credit for the tidal wave of interest in social media by Irish politicians - over 60% of those polled cited his use of social media tools played a significant role in winning his election campaign.

One of the TDs who took part in the research was Fine Gael’s Tipperary South TD Tom Hayes and he acknowledged the power of how social media can give him the opportunity to communicate directly with his constituents.

“People so often revert to these tools as part of their everyday routines and utilising these sites means that you can quickly be made aware of problems in your constituency and communicate directly with the people,” he said.

And the key point - “Communicating through social networking sites is a very useful way of showing younger people what politics can achieve for them and how it can affect their lives,” he said.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Dan Boyle seems to have led the trend on this one!! Really good article Catherine. Thanks for posting.


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