The Thick of It


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Electioneering on Google Maps

The Brighton Argus has started an interactive Google Map, inviting readers to mark where they have seen local parliamentary candidates campaigning and what they said, if they spoke to them. This is a great way of showing how much campaigning is actually going on and how active each of the candidates is. What it is likely to show is how each party focuses their campaign on different parts of the Brighton Pavillion seat. Each party will be focused on getting out their voters. I'm going to be interested to see if all of the three main parties, plus the greens, are targeting the same areas.

Do politicians respond well to being tracked down? The recent re-launch of Eye Spy MP on Twitter caused a minor stir after the complaints from MPs about the original incarnation, Parliament Spy, were aired in the Telegraph. It mirrors those occasionally amusing and rather pointless spots of celebrities the public send in to trashy mags: "I saw Cassandra from Only Fools and Horses in Highbury Fields." That I actually did see. There is certainly a place for the cheeky anonymous posts and I enjoy reading them.

The politicians may not like it, but this is a great example of tracking political campaigns and I'd be keen to see this rolled out. From a campaigning perspective it provides fantastic intelligence on the opposition's activities.


Colm said...

I always wonder at the wisdom of my MP Sadiq Khan tweeting stuff like "Just on the 12.40 from Euston on my way to full cabinet meeting."

Tim McLoughlin said...

Twitter and social media gives politicians the opportunity to communicate with hard to reach groups, such as the young, who don't read newspapers or watch the news on TV. It presents a valuable opportunity for politicians willing to give it a go.

I receive updates from a range of MPs, looking at Tweetminster you can see a huge variance in how different MPs are using it. Not all seem to have grasped that opportunity, as Mr Khan's transport updates show.