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Sunday 15 April 2007

Deputy candidates count friends online

Sanjaya Malakar

Hazel Blears

The BBC covers the appearance of UK politicians on social networking sites.

And produces a chart:


· Hilary Benn: 230
· Alan Johnson: 216
· Hazel Blears: 160
· John Cruddas: 126
· Harriet Harman: 65
· Peter Hain: 56

... which is entirely meaningless ...

The idiocy of what's going on being illustrated by one of Hazel Blears web managers:
"If you don't yet know why Hazel is going to win - here's a clue. We have just overtaken the Harriet Harman for Deputy Facebook group after just one day of the campaign... and that was a Sunday."
Sweetheart, I and a host of others could Game that on any day of the week.

In the US at the moment people are gaming American Idol to the extent that a complete no-hoper — Sanjaya Malakar — looks increasingly likely to win.

The article also sez that Peter Hain, Hazel Blears and Hilary Benn have set up pages on MySpace and Facebook (Bebo?). Whereas Alan Johnson and Harriet Harman "have had pages set up for them".

So Blears does her own pages does she?

Incidentally, only Hain gets either their Facebook or MySpace pages in the first 100 results for a Google search on their names! And for Hain: 'You must log in to see this page'.

The only Labour deputy leadership candidate to appear on neither Facebook or MySpace is John Cruddas. He has his own website [where he's offering red-eye pictures, like the one right, to journalists], but appears to have shunned the social networking route.

He has said he is suspicious of the internet as a political tool and has expressed concern Labour will use the net to create a "virtual party," rather than holding meetings and face-to-face debates.
Cruddas, whoever he is, is very right to be sceptical. But not of the use the web can be put to with politics.

A similar debate is happening with politicians 'engagement' in the United States where the Web has forced politicians — through satire, largely — to review their efforts.

That's what we haven't got here yet. If Guido Fawkes and that lame The Onion copy is the best we can do ...

Says Bill Thompson
"My fear at the moment is that UK politicians don't have an instinctive understanding of what to do on the internet.

"It has to be done. I doubt it's going to be done very effectively this time around."

Some embarrassment might help that process along.

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