In a blog post titled ‘It was the Internet wot won it‘ last year we included the news that Barack Obama’s use of the Internet was a crucial factor in winning votes in the 2008 US General Election.
And as the UK turns towards the ballot boxes again the Internet will be a key battle ground to be fought out.
So who is doing well at the moment?
A review published last week reckons that both parties are making mistakes in the use of search engines and social media.
On Search Engines
When it comes to Google, unofficial websites often with negative comments dominate the first page of results when searching for either party leader. These include both gordonbrown.com and davidcameron.com.
And lets not forget mydavidcameron.com, who have generated huge volumes of traffic over the last few weeks by capitalising on the Conservative’s poster campaign featuring an airbrushed David Cameron.
Since there are 400,000 searches per month for ‘gordon brown’ thats a lot of eye balls that are getting exposed to content that describes the PM in a less than positive way.
On Social Media
And as for Twitter, neither leader owns their own username on Twitter. The @gordonbrown account is clearly an imposter; and the @davidcameron account was recently paused, and includes a message asking visitors to follow @conservatives instead.
At the moment official PM Twittering comes from the @DowningStreet account, which has done pretty well to rack up 1.7 million followers. Of course, the PM’s wife Sarah Brown also has more than a million followers of her @SarahBrown10 account.
These numbers stack up quite well even compared to @Barackobama’s 3million followers.
By contrast, the @conservatives account has a measly 18,421 followers. To be fair that’s in the same ball park as the @UKLabour account which has 8,979 followers.
The conservatives are at least trying to work the Twitter channel with a very active Twitter account. At time of writing Labour had Tweeted just a handful of times in 2010.
Social media profile in the Search Engines
When searching on Google for ‘Gordon Brown Twitter’, the @DowningStreet account is the first one to come up. On the other hand, I couldn’t find the @conservatives account when searching for ‘David Cameron Twitter’.
In the US, Barack Obama used Twitter and his official website to distribute campaign packs, give people material to win debates, distribute tickets to events and get feedback from potential voters.
In the UK it looks as if both parties have a lot of work to do in order to make effective use of search engines and social media to promote their views and garner public support.
Do you think that effective online campaigning can boost either leader’s chance of being elected? Leave us a comment below.