Friday, April 08, 2005

The political power of the internet - or not...

Robin Grant of Perfect.co.uk has a nice summary of the way the campaigning potential of the interwebnet seems finally to have been picked up on by the parties for this election in a piece over at Brand Republic.

It's not just the parties, however. The traditional media (I hate that "MSM" thing us bloggers are apparently meant to use - nearly as bad as "txt spk") are also getting in on the act, with election blogs from The Guardian, The Times, Channel 4 News, Red Pepper and the BBC, with more to follow.

Because - hey! The web's where all the cool kids hang out, right?

Everyone seems to be getting very excited about the internets, largely because of the widely-reported victories of various US political bloggers. But whether their excitement is in any way justified remains to be seen, and many Britbloggers are probably inclined to agree with Martin Stabe's analysis of why the US bloggers' successes are unlikely to be replicated in the UK. And in any case, the fact that even media behemoths the BBC and The Times are cottoning on to blogging as a cheap way of publishing should be an indication that the British use of the interweb is a very different one to that of America, where most blogs are genuinely trying to uncover the distortions of the press (often while creating their own).

And in any case, the whole thing can easily backfire - the internet is a double-edged sword. Googlebombing and spamming can rapidly destroy a reputation, or just be used for a cheap joke (searches for "liar", "fuckwit" and "swivel eyed loons" for example). And lack of web/legal savvy could ensure that for some MPs - once parliament is dissolved and they are simply candidates once more - their web presence could cause far more harm than good.

(Also posted at the General Election Blog)

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