Oooohh, a Little Bit of Politics.

And Marketing.

I was once followed by the now Tory Party Chairman Grant Schnnnappps! on Twitter. And I was never sure why. There’s always been something slightly incongruous and unnerving about an MP on social media.

People in that group realized that Obama had never shut them down. Nobody in the Obama campaign had ever tried to hide the group or make it harder to join, to deny its existence, to delete it, to take to off the site. They had understood that their role with myBO.com was to convene their supporters but not to control their supporters.

And this week, the news that the Tories are spending some £110k a month on Facebook adverts raised a few eyebrows and even some incredulous responses.

But I’m not sure why. It does make sense.

It’s not like they’ve spent a tonne on getting to the top of the leader board on Clash of Clans (username: WeaponOfMassDestructionMegaLOL).

Facebook’s older user demographic is quite indicative as to who the Conservatives think is worth targeting. Maybe they’ve written off trying to appeal to the young, although the disinterested youth is a larger political problem, not just the Tories problem. Running a social media campaign alongside ‘the get out knocking on doors’ campaign makes sense for maximising engagement.

But if we look closer at the invoice from Facebook, the vast majority, some 96k, is for the purchasing of a load of potential voters’ emails. Its just data collection. So uninspiring. I assume the individuals all got the ‘I trust I can rely on your vote’ email that asks for a donation also.

For inspiration, UK politics could look back at the Obama 08 campaign, which featured some of the most imaginative use of social media ever, according to Clay Shirky in his TED talk. The Obama campaign set up a website to consolidate and generate support. When Obama made an abrupt U-turn on a key policy, a group was established on the website in opposition to his decision. It quickly grew to be the largest group on the entire site. As Shirky explicates further:

People in that group realized that Obama had never shut them down. Nobody in the Obama campaign had ever tried to hide the group or make it harder to join, to deny its existence, to delete it, to take to off the site. They had understood that their role with myBO.com was to convene their supporters but not to control their supporters.

Such freedom and lack of strategic containment is refreshing.

Political strategists hatching a social media campaign could also do worse than reading this kid’s succinct blog overview of all the social media networks. All the young peeps are on Snapchat. But apparently David Cameron is giving thought to banning Snapchat if he gets another term, for security reasons. If true, it’s indicative of how much politicians are out of touch.

The rejigged party logos are also now out. All are somewhat underwhelming. The Ukip logo on the face of it appears the worst, certainly aesthetically, but a case can be made for it being the best of a bad bunch.

Gasp blog politics logos

The Drum had some fun with one of their Tight Briefs from last year asking participents to redesign the Tory Logo.

The Tories seems to be going for a logo that conveys a crèche for children with purely British ancestry, but the Ukip logo is arguably the only one that has the strengths of its party’s convictions within it. It looks amateurish, but then this is an amateur party, newly born out of apathy and disillusionment.

The Obama 08 campaign logo stands in stark contrast to all of these as something of exquisite brand design.

Politics and the whole concept of ‘The Government’, whoever is in power, needs a drastic image overhaul. Some would say tearing down and starting again. There are so many engrained, negative preconceptions that’s its exceptionally hard for any content of genuine sincerity and quality to break through the cynicism.

Is it that ridiculous to suggest people can vote via phones/the internet? Surely politics needs some innovative progression. It’s so staid. The House of Commons Speaker John Bercow thinks it’s possible. Although, judging by the comments, a lot of people think this is a bad idea. I tried to find out what happens to old voting ballot slips, and found this interesting article. Those thinking that the current vote is completely secret/secure may want to have a read. Not all dodgy data storage is electrical.

Voting online is well easy. I voted for my pie of choice in the 2015 Pie Elections yesterday. But clearly, there are big hacking and security fears. If Bob Carolgees ends up being the MP for Hull with a 2.5 billion majority then, I’d suggest, we’ve been hacked.

But it could work. And it would help bring politics along somewhat. Estonia has been doing online polls since 2005. No one has cyber-attacked them thus far. Though that may be due to the fact, with all due respect, that they are Estonia.

Maybe some kind of Snapchat or Twitter based alternative General Election could be devised, which in essence would be an informative, youthful opinion poll. This may help a bit to revive politics reputation and engagement. Whilst being a precursor to some fundamental change.

Or a political party could seize the moment and do something of creative merit via snapchat’s new ‘Discover’ story-telling feature. OK, it could backfire horribly in ‘The Thick Of It’ style, but there must be a lot of relevant, personal stories out there that can be given a political spin.

Although I googled: ‘local MPs inspiring stories’ and got no useable results. So maybe we should just let the kids run the show, a bit like the classic BBC TV show ‘Why Don’t You…?’ or similar.

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