The Thick of It

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Does a social site extend your campaign reach?

To much comment among the Labour twitterati Ken Livingstone yesterday launched his social campaigning site Your Ken. Building on the social media success of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign has been the holy grail of political campaigning everywhere else since. does Your Ken do the trick?

Other attempts to create new political social networking sites have failed because they haven't been better than Facebook or Twitter. They also failed because people didn't follow and use the sites. That led to sites such as Labour's Members Net being little more than empty shells. In attempting to draw younger members together through social networks local groups have preferred to create their own Facebook groups or to create a sense of belonging through Twitter hashtags, such as #labourdoorstep.

Whether Your Ken becomes another empty shell or not depends on whether there is enough reason for people to dwell on the site. Will there be enough exclusive content? Will activists be able to interact in a way that they are not able to elsewhere? Will activists want to compete for the prize of the leading activist?

Even if all that happens what may not happen is that Your Ken opens up his campaign to anyone who wasn't already interested. If the site can enthuse new activists and get more out of existing activists it will have been a success.

Gaining the London mayoralty might not be the same status as President of the United States but to a Labour supported denied power nationally it would be a great start.

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