President Barack Obama launched his 2012 re-election campaign with social media in April
In a move considered to be a fillip to Google, British Prime Minister David Cameron, coalition partner Nick Clegg and opposition leader Ed Miliband have all joined Google+, in the run up to the party conference season, beginning Friday.
The Telegraph reported that the three leaders from major political parties in the UK have created profiles on Google+.
The move reflects what US President Barack Obama did in the US. Obama has been using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to engage with citizens on issues such as war and economy. However, Google Sites – apart from YouTube — did not figure dominantly in his scheme of things.
Earlier this year, Obama’s 2012 campaign website announced that Obama will start tweeting regularly with personal tweets signed "-BO."
The website also said that the President’s re-election staff – Obama for America – would manage his social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
Obama started using social media since 2007, when he used it in his campaign for the presidency.
In April this year, Obama launched his 2012 re-election campaign with social media as well with an exclusive website, and Twitter and Facebook accounts. During the launch, Obama told the 7.28 million followers of the @barackobama account on Twitter, "Today, we’re filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign."
"We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organising block-by-block, talking to neighbours, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build."
Obama hopes to use social media to start big discussions.
He had written on the website, "We’ll start by doing something unprecedented: coordinating millions of one-on-one conversations between supporters across every single state, reconnecting old friends, inspiring new ones to join the cause, and readying ourselves for next year’s fight."
Later in July, Obama held a "Twitter town hall" meeting, wher he took questions exclusively from Twitter users to answer question on jobs, economy and war, which he answered on a live webcast.
Obama has also selected Twitter’s chief Dick Costolo to join his National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
Recently, Facebook announced that Louisa Terrell, who has been working as a special assistant for legislative affairs to Obama, will be joining Facebook as director of public policy.
The company has also hired a former member of the European parliament from Germany Erika Mann to head a new Brussels office and serve as spokesperson with EU institutions.
Now, Google can claim high profile political leaders as its users as well. Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are all expected to use Google+ to engage with voters and their parties. Each leader’s respective social media teams are expected to manage the Google+ profiles on a day-to-day basis.
Cameron said on his account: "Anything which makes politics more open and accessible is to be welcomed, and I am proud that British politicians are leading the way when it comes to embracing new methods of engaging people online, from e-petitions to social media."
Nick Clegg said: "The Liberal Democrats are always open to new and innovative ways of communicating with voters, so creating this Google+ account was an easy and logical step."
Ed Miliband has sought feedback on his account, saying: "Welcome to my page on Google+. I have said since I became leader that I am determined for Labour to look outwards, not just inwards. So I am looking forward to using this site to keep in touch with people who follow me here. Let me know what you think."