New media guru will help election push
The Labour Party will be using social networking sites like Twitter and YouTube to engage with voters ahead of the next general election after appointing a new media campaigns spokesperson.
The spokesperson will be Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East. McCarthy was recently voted most influential MP on Twitter and has around 2,000 followers. In an interview with the LabourList website, McCarthy said that the forthcoming election would be the first, “new media election”.
“Voters will increasingly be searching the web to find out what we think about the issues, what we’ve actually been doing in the locality and looking to see what we sound like,” she told the site. “That’s where YouTube comes in. All our candidates need to start building up that online collateral from now.”
McCarthy stressed that politicians should not approach Twitter and other social media sites as any different from traditional campaign strategies. “Rather than being something completely new, campaigning using new media is simply doing what we’ve always done in a new setting – and rather than replacing traditional ways of doing things, it is about making traditional campaigning methods even more effective,” she said.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah both use Twitter and the party also has a channel on video-sharing website YouTube.
“New media is just so empowering in the way that people can find each other and act as a group to achieve change when so often people feel either there’s no point in protesting or that no one will listen,” McCarthy said. “Not only can they bond with other people, swapping personal experience and news links, they’ve also had interaction with politicians on there, have made the news headlines, effectively grouped together to attack those who have rubbished the NHS, and even had input into the debate across the Atlantic.”