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Saturday 3 May 2008

Ken's defeat: could the web have swung it?

Blogged a while back that Ken's already lost online. The web strategy was too little, too top down, too under-resourced and too late. Their heart wasn't in it and they plainly didn't give it much attention, because they thought it would make little difference. More fool them.

Yes, we do need some hard numbers to get the dinosaurs moving but the Obama campaign has already shown that the tools now available, employed well, translates into more efficient bottom-up organising and therefore more votes. See Turning web buzz into votes: how Obama does it.

60-100,000 votes would have made the difference in the mayoral election. Not that much in a city the size of London. I don't think it's overblown to suggest that a properly employed web strategy could have pushed Ken over the top. And don't tell me the resources aren't there - they find them to run expensive, inefficient giant poster adverts.

None of this happens in a vacuum - Obama is a great candidate and that makes a huge difference to his success with web campaigning. The Guardian today has a good list of the big picture reasons Ken was fatally undermined:
  1. Boris was right for the contest
  2. The incumbency factor
  3. Scandals and cronyism
  4. The Evening Standard
  5. Conservative cash
  6. Alienating the progressive vote
  7. Crime
  8. The association with Labour
  9. Johnson's zone 5 strategy
  10. The anti-Boris campaign didn't work
But just look, as I focussed on, at only #6 and you could find a big chunk of that 60-100,000. All the others could, as well, have been effectively tackled with an aggressive online campaign - perhaps pushing Ken over the top.

But when you had a scale of complacency such that only the well-known supporters were credited on Ken's website for running the, itself badly executed, banner which I had in my right hand column then one's inclined to think 'sod them'.

If Labour continues to 'miss a trick', ignore the web and operates further campaigns online like they have this one then they deserve the outcomes they will get.

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